Polyiso (short for Polyisocyanurate) is getting some well-deserved attention. It is perhaps the most widespread building material you've never heard of: a rigid foam insulation, polyiso accounts for more than 70 percent of the insulation used in commercial roof construction in North America, and is also used in commercial sidewalls and residential buildings. On February 9, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) announced that polyiso roof and wall insulation had secured third-party verified ISO-compliant Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). In layman's terms, this means that polyiso's environmental impact over its entire lifecycle was rigorously analyzed.

The results confirmed polyiso's status as the most energy-efficient building insulation on the market. The EPDs report that the energy-saving potential of polyiso roof and wall insulation over the average 60-year lifespan of a building is 47 times the initial energy needed for its production, transport, maintenance, and eventual removal and disposal.

“These third party-verified EPDs for polyiso roof and wall insulation products produced by PIMA manufacturers reflect our industry’s commitment to sustainability and transparency in reporting environmental performance,” said PIMA President Jared Blum, who is also EESI's Chairman of the Board. “These EPDs will be a valuable tool to provide environmental information to all building and design professionals, and they should be especially helpful in meeting emerging criteria for green building design.”

Indeed, polyiso insulation qualities such as high thermal efficiency, zero ozone depletion potential, and high recyclable content, make it an ideal candidate for LEED building designs. Polyiso requires less total thickness to deliver a specified insulation strength (known as an R-value) in roof and wall assemblies, reducing overall construction costs while increasing functional building space.

Author: Caitlin Madera