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Local College Chooses Plasti-Fab Energy Efficient EPS Products for Home Build

January 31, 2017

Insulspan SIPSWritten by: Aaron Hinde, Sales Manager, Insulspan Blissfield

One year ago, John Kope from Jackson College walked into my class to learn about our Insulspan SIPs and Advantage ICF system. The class, called Insulspan University, was developed to provide a hands-on learning environment for builders, homeowners, architects, and students alike. The class covers not just the application of our Insulspan SIP System, but also the ease of use and application for our Advantage ICF product line as well. John left the class excited about the potential of what SIPS and ICFs could bring to his residential construction program…

In the spring of the following year, a truck pulled up to the Jackson College job site, delivering the entire foundation of Advantage ICF blocks for the students to begin construction. With a class totaling 40 students between the morning and afternoon sessions John set out to build an energy efficient house with higher quality building materials.

“I will never build a foundation another way again,” Kope says of the Advantage ICF System. “It’s an easy to assemble product that is flexible and safer to install. It allows us to stop anywhere with the class schedules. It really saved me on time and money compared to building with forms.”

After the ICF system was in place, the class preceded to construct the rest of the house using Insulspan 6 inch wall panels and 10 inch roof panels. According to John, “This process was a great learning experience for the kids; there was a lot less installer error when the entire wall and roof system came ready-to-assemble.”

The home the students built is called “The Crawford,” selected from the Insulspan Home Plans that are available on the web site. Now that the home is fully enclosed with an Advantage ICF Foundation, Insulspan SIP walls and roof, the classes will begin interior and exterior finishing; getting the house ready to sell.

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Insulspan & Advantage; Plasti-Fab’s EPS Building System Solutions
Insulspan® Structural Insulating Panel Systems (SIPs) are used to create a building’s structural wall frame and replace trusses on roof systems to form an extremely energy-efficient structural “envelope.” This type of structural building envelope is so energy efficient that BASF chose Insulspan® SIPs for inclusion in its pioneering “Home, Sweet Hybrid Home,” the Net Zero Energy House built in a residential development in Paterson, New Jersey. This home recently earned a “Platinum” rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED®-H Rating System, one of only two houses in the whole of North America to achieve that rating.

Insulspan, with more than 30 years’ experience in the building industry, is a leading brand of SIPs in North America. Insulspan SIPs have been a key part of a number of other high profile projects including:
•   In 2006, Insulspan featured prominently in a construction project that the Public Broadcasting System producers called “the centerpiece” of This Old House’s 25th Anniversary.
•   Insulspan SIPs were also selected as the structural insulating materials of choice for Sunset Magazine’s “Celebration Idea House,” built in California.
•   Insulspan also provided the roof for B.C. Canada Place built at the 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, to showcase Canada’s hosting of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
•   Insulspan SIPs are the only SIPs in North America manufactured with both U.S. and Canadian code listings.

Advantage ICF System® is a one-piece, stay-in-place, insulating concrete form made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation. A series of strong plastic web connectors are permanently molded into two EPS panels to create a building block. The integral plastic webs act as the studs in a wall assembly, and are spaced at either 6 or 8 inches on center.

Advantage ICFs have a patented interlocking system along the top and bottom edges, which allows the blocks to securely connect together, much like kids’ Lego™ blocks. Reinforcing steel is placed on the plastic web connectors inside the block cavity which is then filled with concrete. After the concrete pour, the insulating EPS remains in place on both sides of the structure, providing a highly energy-efficient building envelope.

Residential and commercial buildings constructed using the Advantage ICF System are strong, quiet, and highly insulated.. The Advantage ICF System is often teamed with our Insulspan® Structural Insulating Panel System to create our highest performing BUILDING SYSTEM – a fully insulated, air-tight building envelope that includes the foundations, floors, walls and roof. | |

Insulating Ice Rinks with PlastiSpan Insulation

January 9, 2017

Using PlastiSpan Insulation for Ice Rinks

ice-rinksWinter has officially arrived! Cold weather, mittens, scarves, etc. It’s all part of the season. However,  it’s still good to know that during this season there are several recreational activities available to enjoy with family and friends, including the popular ones like ice skating, curling and ice hockey.

These activities share a common place: the ice rink. Whether it’s a natural one where freezing happens from the cold climate temperatures, or from an artificial one, where a coolant creates cold temperatures in the surface below the water, ice rinks should ensure both quality and safety to fully provide the best possible winter experience.

Using Artificial Ice

In any climate, an arena surface of ice can be placed in a well-built space. It is composed of a bed of sand or at times a slab of concrete, through which pipes run. The pipes carry an icy fluid which can reduce the temperature of the slab so that water placed atop will freeze. This method is called ‘artificial ice’ to differentiate from ice rinks created by simply freezing water in cold temperature, indoors or outdoors, although both types are of icy water. A more proper technical term is ‘mechanically frozen’ ice.

Plasti-Span insulation: commercial solution for ice rinks


With all the ice rink solutions, you may wonder how the ice stays frozen. Insulation is placed beneath the ice, this helps keep the temperatures at a controlled level.  PlastiSpan insulation board meeting CAN/ULC-S701, Type 1 is adequate for this service. If a higher compressive strength material is required due to additional compressive loads on the insulation, PlastiSpan HD insulation board meeting CAN/ULC-S701, Type 2 or PlastiSpan insulation board meeting CAN/ULC-S701, Type 3 may be used.


Plasti-Fab PlastiSpan insulation board is placed under the floor slabs of artificial ice rinks to lessen the effect of soil frost heaving below the ice surface. It also shortens the time required to make or remove an ice surface and may also allow a reduction in the capacity of the refrigeration equipment. These benefits are significant as they reduce the energy costs for the operation of the ice rink.


So the next time you are out skating, playing hockey or even curling, you just might be skating right over our insulation – and you would never know it! Visit for more information on ice rinks and other commercial solutions using the higher compressive resistant insulation.

Using DuroFoam/DuroSpan to Insulate your Basement Floor

December 1, 2016

Today is December 1. For those of us in the Northern regions, December represents that colder weather is here to stay for a few months. Aside from bundling up in sweaters and thick socks to feel comfortable in your home, there are other ways to make your home comfortable in the cold. At Plasti-Fab, we offer a very durable insulation product called DuroFoam (In Canada) or DuroSpan (In the US). This product is not only easy to work with, cut and install, but you can buy it from Home Depot and complete a weekend warrior-style project in no time!

If you are not familiar with the DuroFoam/DuroSpan products, they are an EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) rigid insulated that has a laminated film on one side, and silver on the other. You can buy then in different thicknesses (based on your R-value requirement or code) and they come in 4′ x 8′ sheets. Just look for the GREEN at your local Home Depot, or check in at the Contractor Desk about ordering the product. You can also call us today 1-88-THINK EPS®.

Below is a video of our DuroFoam product being installed in a basement floor application.

For more information on Plasti-Fab’s DuroFoam insulation, visit: and

Going Green for the Holidays

November 29, 2016

PFB Sustainability

Christmas tree
The Holiday season is here once again; that time of the year when decorating, choosing gifts and shopping are on top of our to-do lists.

In making our Holiday choices, we can choose to Go Green and influence our decisions that leans towards sustainability.

The following are some Holiday Season tips that are helpful in being able to have a Go Green Holiday Season:


Energy-efficient decorating

– Purchase a living tree that you can plant outside – or keep as a houseplant once the holidays are over.

– Go for freshly-cut trees; these are recyclable. When the season is over, see if you can find tree-recycling pick up days in your community. Otherwise the trees you throw away in the trash bin ends up in a landfill.

– Own an artificial Christmas Tree that you can have for many years to come.

– Plan on having less Christmas lights or none at…

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Green Roof Transformation: Repairing & Redefining Space with Plasti-Fab GeoSpec®

November 21, 2016

Plasti-Fab_WTagline_surveyNovember 21, 2016 | Calgary, Alberta
Plasti-Fab® EPS Product Solution provides compressive resistance and quick installation

When the city-owned roof covering a portion of a local fire hall and hotel began to leak, the task of repairing the 300 s.f. area began, and with it came the re-imagining of the space overall. Up to that point, the ill-defined and publicly-accessible rooftop patio was not regularly maintained. Over time, it became unkempt, was used primarily as a smoking area, and attracted too many late-night visitors. After leveling the existing structures that served as seating or planter boxes, the city elected to gate the area and turn it into an outdoor venue for hotel functions.

calgary-firehall-project-2016-01Repairing the space and redefining its purpose required special consideration for the materials to be used. The city engaged a local landscape design firm that contacted Plasti-Fab for a solution. Aaron Rennie, Director of Market Development at Plasti-Fab, explained the firm specified “the project needed a fill material that could add height, be used across a wide area, have compressive resistance to withstand weight from snow, landscaping and people, while minimizing additional weight on the structure below.”

calgary-firehall-project-2016-02The answer was Plasti-Fab’s GeoSpec® lightweight fill material, also referred to as expanded polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam. Plasti-Fab’s GeoSpec blocks are designed to support heavy compressive loads, but has a density of less than 1 percent of traditional earth materials. It was ideal for this project given the uniform elevation requirements above the roof deck would level changes in the roof line and create the desired public space. Adding thousands of pounds of material to achieve that could have exceeded the capacity of the concrete roof structure beneath.

calgary-firehall-project-2016-03Not only did GeoSpec address the weight issue, it checked another construction box as well: speed of installation. EPS Geofoam can be cut with a handsaw, and certainly a power ripsaw, thereby allowing for “field fitting,” Aaron points out. “It can be easily cut to fit in the typical areas – like corners and edges – but allows installers to easily accommodate changes in elevation.”

For more than 50 years, EPS Geofoam has been used in projects involving roads, bridge approach fills, slope stabilization, embankments, foundations, and landscaping. Plasti-Fab is proud to add this project to our profile list, and contribute to a new, beautifully designed public space that offers hotel guests and event attendees stunning vistas of downtown Calgary.

Learn more about Plasti-Fab’s GeoFoam solutions now at 

Designing with Insulspan SIPs

November 14, 2016

Written by guest writer Keith Nelson, Insulspan Designer

Why Design with Insulspan SIPS?  A panel is a panel is a panel, right?

I believe in helping people, giving the best possible effort, and doing right by others. I believe that the “pictures” I draw are more than lines on a screen or a page. I believe that they are a person’s dreams, realized.   My name is Keith Nelson and I design SIPs at the Insulspan plant in Blissfield, MI.

Insulspan SIPs for Walls and Roof

Insulspan SIPs for Walls and Roof

Being entrusted with someone’s dream is an awesome and daunting responsibility, with equal parts trust, excitement and trepidation.  Architects have the visionary work; designers translate their concepts into reality. Mechanics and metrics, software and load paths are all part of that translation, but those things are just the tools that I use to actualize their dreams.    The purpose behind those tools is improving the quality of life that the homeowner will enjoy, the pleasure they’ll take everyday living in their dream. I endeavor to give each of them the most energy efficient, cost effective version of that dream.

After receiving the plans from the customer, I recreate their two dimensional information in a 3D model using HSB Cad.  HSB is cutting edge software that integrates with AutoCAD Architecture.  Starting at the top, I work my way down through the structure, I trace the loads imposed on the panel, transferring them out and down to the foundation. Each door and window, opening and exterior wall is digitally recreated.  Every SIP and piece of lumber in the project is then modeled from that data for maximum efficiency and minimal waste.  Panels are maximized in size, thermal breaks are minimized, the design tweaked to provide the best performance possible within the given structural requirements.  That care and attention to detail will have direct impact on every utility bill the customer receives.

Insulspan panels are consciously designed for the people who will use them, for their comfort and enjoyment, for their future and the actualization of their dreams.

What I do everyday makes a difference in people’s lives; not just in their energy savings, but in their level of comfort, and in their sense of home. I maintain that an Insulspan panel isn’t like any other you can purchase, by design.

Visit for more on panel design and options.

Make Yourself Comfortable with EPS Insulation from Plasti-Fab

November 1, 2016

Plasti-Fabfamily-timeIn the insulation industry we talk a lot about comfort and ways that you can have a more comfortable home by using our products as energy efficient solutions. What does comfort really mean? Not so much to us, but to YOU. What defines YOUR comfort?


For some, it is a warm home where you and your family can relax. For others, it’s a healthy home, where you don’t have to worry about harmful air pollutants. Or maybe it’s the safety of your home; trusting that the structure you have built is secure and strong against man AND nature. Whatever defines comfort for you, make it a priority, and find the insulation solutions that will help you achieve your comfort goals.

There are many EPS insulation products available that will help you reach your goals for your home, but knowing the right one for you may be a daunting task. While Plasti-Fab has a whole line of varying insulation options that are solutions to many applications, our strongest contribution is the service we give and the expertise we employ to help you find your right solution.

So whether your comfort stems from knowing your home is wrapped in a layer of insulation that keeps the cold out and the heat in (PlastiSpan & DuroFoam Insulations), or you breathe easier knowing dangerous gases are being trapped and removed before they can enter your home (Radon Guard™ Insulation), or if you simply want to know your family is protected from the elements outside (Insulspan SIPS, Advantage ICFS), give us a call…we can help.

Visit for more information on using EPS Insulation or any of our building systems in your project.