5 Cost-Saving Benefits of Foam Insulation Blocks

There are a plethora of terrific reasons you should consider using EPS foam insulation blocks instead of more traditional building materials for your construction projects. Of course, cost is one thing you’ll be looking at. But, you can’t measure the cost of using one construction material versus another construction material based on invoice price alone. Using EPS foam insulation blocks can shave big bucks off the initial cost in several ways you may have never considered. And, that can make a big difference to the overall cost of your project. 

Using EPS foam products typically reduces your overall project cost by an impressive 20 to 25% or more compared to other traditional construction materials. And that’s a lot of savings you could potentially miss out on by using less-efficient alternative construction materials. 

Here are some of the ways EPS foam insulation blocks can bring even more value to your project than its price tag might indicate.  

#1  Speedier, more efficient installation

EPS foam products are known as a construction-friendly material. Why? For one thing, it’s extremely lightweight, weighing in at one to two pounds per cubic foot, depending on the size. That’s only 1% the weight of dirt and soil! Your construction team can easily lift and hand-carry the blocks and place them into position, quickly and efficiently. That means no heavy, specialized equipment is necessary for installation. You can automatically cut that cost off your line budget!

Another reason installation is easier and less time-consuming is that EPS foam insulation blocks can be custom-fabricated or cut to size at the factory and delivered ready to go. No need to take up precious time on the jobsite to cut them. There’s little to no retrofitting involved. 

One thing that can eat up time and money on a job is changes to the project plan – especially if changes occur during the installation process. With EPS foam insulation blocks it’s easy to accommodate on-the-fly tweaks and changes to the project plan.

And because the installation is so easy and uncomplicated, your construction team can get the job done faster. In a major project like road construction or a bridge, that can mean a significant amount of savings. For example, the Utah DOT estimates it saved more than $2.5 million on a four-bridge project on I-80 that was accomplished in just 37 hours using EPS geofoam blocks. In fact, EPS geofoam is one of the geotechnical insulating materials approved for accelerated bridge construction (ABC).

The Highway I-15 project, one of the largest projects in the U.S. that used EPS foam insulation blocks, also saved substantial time and money. The project used 3.53 million cubic feet of EPS foam insulation blocks as embankment and utility fill. Ultimately, the project reaped savings on settlement time and approximately $450,000 that would have been spent relocating utility poles. 

It doesn’t have to be a major infrastructure project for you to reap cost benefits, though. According to an article in Constructor, a publication of The Construction Association, EPS geofoam was selected to be used in the renovation of an office building into a city hall for a city in the Pacific Northwest. The 5,000 cubic yards of EPS geofoam served a soil remediation role since the new handicap ramps had to be installed on extremely soft glacial till. Using EPS geofoam helped bring the project to completion two months ahead of schedule and almost $600,000 under budget!

In today’s highly competitive construction environment accomplishing more in less time has become even more critical. If you can quote a job with a shorter timeframe than the competition, you’ve got a better shot at winning that bid.

Since EPS foam insulation blocks are resistant to moisture and water doesn’t damage it, you’ll experience less weather-related delays compared to other building materials such as dirt and soil. You can go ahead and install EPS geofoam with no worries about its future performance. 

#2  Less expensive transportation costs and simplified logistics

Transportation costs are on the rise for a number of reasons — fuel prices are on the rise, the driver shortage has driven up the pay scale and government regulations are more strict. That’s bad news when you need construction material shipped to your jobsite. For example, soil weighs 110 to 120 pounds per cubic foot. But EPS foam insulation blocks tip the scales at only 1% the weight of soil. Using super lightweight EPS foam insulation blocks for your project can provide substantial savings in your transportation costs. Furthermore, since the blocks can be shipped for just-in-time delivery, there’s often no need to create a separate staging area and then transport the blocks from the staging area to the construction site. 

If you’re working on a road and highway project or a bridge project, faster installation means less redirecting of traffic. And that means less dollars you’ll have to spend on logistics – a lot less! According to the FHWA, in many cases the direct and indirect costs of a traffic detour, resulting from loss of bridge access while the bridge is under renovation, can exceed the cost of rebuilding the structure, especially in cities with large populations or along highways that carry a large volume of traffic. 

#3  Lower labor costs

Any way you slice and dice it, when you use EPS foam insulation blocks for your project, you can count on saving money on manpower. It doesn’t matter whether your project is a foundation for an industrial building, wall insulation, a super highway, stadium platforms or an airport runway. The ease with which your construction workers can install EPS foam insulation blocks means your job can be completed with fewer workers. And that slashes more money off your payroll for the job. In addition, since the job can be completed faster, you’ll need less man hours, freeing those workers to work on another job. Your construction workers won’t be spending a ton of hours in complicated training sessions prior to starting the job, either. Installation is a simple process that requires only a brief training period for your workers to master the basics.

#4 EPS foam insulation blocks are environmentally friendly

EPS geofoam blocks are free of dyes, formaldehyde, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which may be harmful to the environment. Over time, EPS foam board insulation blocks won’t deteriorate or leech into the ground. No greenhouse gases are utilized in the manufacturing process of the blocks, and the process itself doesn’t result in the emission of greenhouse gases. As an added plus, EPS geofoam qualifies for Energy Star status because its energy-efficient properties help to protect the climate. And our climate is a hot topic now. Today, more than ever, project owners are environmentally conscious. They want their projects to be as green and environmentally-friendly as possible, and they’re looking to work with general contractors who embrace an environmentally-friendly philosophy, who incorporate sustainable construction methods and insulating materials into their projects. Being known as an environmentally-conscious general contractor can aid your marketing efforts and potentially gain you additional jobs! 

#5 Bonuses and commissions

Finally, estimating a job with EPS foam insulation blocks takes some of the guesswork out of the bidding process because its price has remained more consistent than other construction materials. That’s important when you’re bidding a job. After you’ve been awarded the job, foam board insulation blocks will continue to provide you with cost benefits and other benefits that can help you get a higher commission and project bonuses. You may get bonuses for completing the job faster than the initial deadline. Or, you may bring the job in for less than the specified budget amount. You may receive a bonus for zero complaints from the client, sub-contractors or suppliers. Or, in the case of a highway or bridge project, from the surrounding community. Finishing a project quickly, with minimal duration of traffic rerouting and less disruption to the general public can earn you nice kudos. Then there are safety bonuses or awards. Installation of foam insulation blocks requires no heavy lifting for workers, reducing the chance of injury on the job. There’s also no need for heavy equipment for that piece of the job, eliminating potential injuries. And, as you know, having a stellar safety record is a big plus for a general contractor! 

Tags: eps foam blocks, geofoam, geofoam international