Energy Efficient Commercial Construction with EPS Insulating Products: Conclusion

Plasti-Fab_WTagline_surveyWritten by Temira K.

Well, there you have it. The building is complete, and we are handing over the keys to one of the most energy efficient commercial buildings we can think of. By utilizing the wide array of EPS insulation, geofoam, and structural products, we have built an incredibly energy efficient commercial structure that will perform for years to come.  Working from the ground up, these insulation solutions have created a commercial building qualified to receive such certifications as Energy Star, LEED, and EnerGuide ratings if the architects, engineers, or other parties involved wish to pursue it.


We began our construction process with the compressible fill material from Plasti-Fab known as GeoSpan® used for the grade beam application. GeoSpan Compressible Fill material is intended to be used primarily as a compressible medium under concrete grade beams or heavier structural members supported on piles. GeoSpan compressible fill material is designed to support expected construction live loads and the weight of the structural member until the concrete has cured and gained enough strength to be self-supporting.

The next application in our construction process was to build frost walls with the Advantage ICF System®.  The ADVANTAGE ICF System® is the ideal building material for below grade forming since it is light weight and easily modified. By using a stay-in-place ICF as your concrete form for your frost wall or grade beam you eliminate the need for reusable forms to be rented and erected prior to placing the concrete.  In the case of a grade beam application one face of the block can be easily cut with a hand saw to incorporate inner pilasters to support columns. Of course you will need to ensure proper bracing when any of the ICF blocks have been modified from their original form.

Following our Frost wall application in the commercial building, it was time to install under slab insulation from Plasti-Fab. Typically for underslab insulation a minimum of PlastiSpan HD INSULATION is recommended, to provide the required compressive resistance to support loads on concrete slabs for commercial building applications. There are also higher compressive resistance PlastiSpan insulation types available if the engineering design for the concrete slab requires it. This results in a continuous layer of insulation below your concrete slab, which will reduce thermal loss through the slab.

Working our way up the building, the next application was exterior foundation insulation. PlastiSpan HD insulation around the foundation creates a continuous blanket of insulation over an exposed wall. PlastiSpan HD insulation can be used for both exterior and interior perimeter applications. It can be applied to the exterior perimeter of either a footing or foundation and then covered with backfill. As we mentioned in this particular feature, if you are insulating the outside, you might as well insulate the inside of the walls as well. The insulation may be placed of the interior of a foundation wall to increase floor temperature.

3D Rendering

With a solid foundation, under slab insulation, and geofoam products in place, we explored the various options available from Plasti-Fab, Advantage, and Insulspan for the above grade walls in our commercial building. The first product we illustrated is known as cavity walls. Plasti-Fab’s PlastiSpan insulation is recommended for rain screen cavity walls. It is a rigid insulation that provides continuous insulation over the wall surface. As well, it provides a capillary breaking layer that resists penetration of moisture.

Exterior insulating sheathing should be viewed as a building envelope insulation, whose primary function is not to provide barrier protection against water penetration (which is provided by the weather-resistant barrier), but instead is designed to limit the amount of water that could potentially come into contact with the building envelope’s primary moisture barrier, reducing the chance of water finding a way into the wall assembly.

Another above grade wall option is the use of ICFs to complete the building all the way to the roof. The growth in the demand for fire safety, comfort & reduction in noise transference in Commercial and Multi-family projects has created a higher demand for ICFs as internal walls. Included in this demand, single family homes have increased the demand for ICF internal walls where the same issues apply such as media rooms and garage to house wall separations.

A very popular application used in commercial construction is known as EIFS. EIFS is an insulating, decorative and protective finish system for exterior walls that can be installed on any type of construction. It is the only exterior wall covering that insulates and provides weather protection in a selection of shapes, colors, and textures that can replicate almost any architectural style or finish material, or stand by itself as an architectural finish.

Another energy efficient wall solution in commercial construction is the precast concrete panel option. Also known as tilt-up walls, they can be easily and economically insulated by incorporating Plasti-Fab PlastiSpan insulation into the panel when they are manufactured. The panel can then be easily placed during the construction process, providing a fully insulated finished wall or floor section. You can imagine how much time this saves in commercial construction.

Our last above grade wall option that we covered in this series was Insulspan SIPS. To Achieve Energy Efficiency while increasing the overall speed of a construction schedule, you really need to be using the Insulspan Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) System for constructing walls in commercial building projects

The same benefits that make the Insulspan SIP system an attractive option for residential construction make it a good solution for commercial projects. For example, while speed of construction can be a determining factor even in small residential projects, when it comes to large commercial buildings, the time savings are that much more enhanced.

SIP-RoofOnce we moved through the energy efficient solutions for the above grade walls, we have the roofing options remaining. The first one we discussed in this series is PlastiSpan Insulation, a common roof insulation for all Commercial, industrial, institutional and residential Roofing applications. The PlastiSpan insulation offers different profiles (flat or sloped) to achieve the desired thermal performance in the roof system. PlastiSpan EPS roof insulation is incorporated into a roofing system in order to reduce the energy loss through the roof. Building Codes require minimum thermal resistance requirements for various types of construction in various geographical locations.

Lastly, the finished off our commercial series with an Insulspan SIP roof application. Insulspan Structural Insulating Panel system (SIPs), another energy-efficient product that uses PlastiSpan insulation as a core material for the SIP. The energy efficiency of the SIP system, paired with the reduced site time and labor requirements make it an excellent all-in-one solution for commercial roof applications.

Insulspan SIPs are a good solution in commercial roofing for many reasons. Since time is money, and BOTH time AND money are important elements to control on a commercial construction site, you want to make sure you are using the best product to help you achieve that.

While it was a long journey through the construction process of building an energy efficient commercial building, it is our goal to provide the EPS solutions that are available in this type of construction. If you have further questions about commercial building or about EPS in general, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s what we do. It’s what we know. And it’s our goal to provide you with the best quality, service, and expertise in the industry.

For more information on energy efficient commercial construction, visit our web sites,


One Comment on “Energy Efficient Commercial Construction with EPS Insulating Products: Conclusion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: