Re: Manufactured Housing-Foam Core
From: Eddie Matejowsky (
Date: Sun, 5 Nov 1995 16:38:52 -0600
At 12:08 PM 5/11/95 -0600, you wrote:
>Foam core building systems seem to be the latest rage in 'green' building 
>materials these days.  In my opinion these building systems are the farthest 
>from 'green' as you can get.  If the foam in these panels is expanded 
>polystyrene (I do not know of any which are not) then regardless of 
>whether or not it is made without CFCs, etc. it is still an ecological 
>disaster.  All petroleum products (regardless if they become inert or 
>not) require massive amounts of energy to produce and create massive 
>amounts of pollution at the same time.  The polymer industry is one of 
>the most polluting there is and chlorine is used in the manufacture of 
>polymers of many types (forming many noxious pollutants, including 
And how much energy does the foam save during the life span of the building?
I'd prefer to look at the big picture. A greener product that is less
durable could result in much greater damage to the eco-system when you have
to repair the damaged walls. Since the energy used in manufacture is built
into the cost of the foam - if foam core is cost effective (i.e. pays for
itself in energy saving) then obviously less energy went into it's
production than is saved by using it in your walls. 

Straw bale construction is an obvious choice for making R-50 walls - if you
can be sure they won't rot. The straw bale list has just had a huge and
confusing thread on vapour barriers - scary stuff if you build in straw and
do it wrong.

Edward Matejowsky.
Queensland University of Technology
Centre for Eye Research
Wk +61 73 864 5731 Hm +61 73 2825382

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