Paper presented at the XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing, 27-30 September 2005,"Transforming Housing Environments through Design", University of Pretoria.
In Turkey there is a widespread use of plastic foam insulation (either extruded-XPS or expanded polystyrene-EPS) that covers the entire building surface. Concrete skeletal structural system is generally used in low and medium rise residential buildings. In order to avoid excessive thermal bridges through the thermal envelope the placement of insulation seems to be a right design solution. By reducing heating and air-conditioning requirements of a building, insulation materials reduce pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion. This benefit almost always outweighs environmental problems associated with certain materials, including the energy use and other impacts associated with manufacture. But increased awareness towards the environment and public health is leading to an integrated evaluation of insulation materials and there is significant potential for improving their overall performance, in terms of environmental impact from cradle to grave. Insulation is only one component of a building envelope system. When choosing insulation materials, the future performance of the entire system in terms of energy efficiency, durability, maintainability, and reusability should also be considered. This paper will analyze the existing plastic foam insulation applications in Turkey and offer alternative solutions that have comparative performance.
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