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Reclaimed foam insulation

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Anyone ever used it? XPS in particular is supposed to maintain almost all of it's R value, even after years of use and exposure to moisture, etc. I'm curious if anyone has experience with reclaimed or re-purposed insulation to back that up or otherwise.

It would be pretty darn green to use 100% recycled/reclaimed insulation, that was 30% recycled waste to begin with. Not to mention, the price makes it far more accessible than the new stuff. I have a local source for a load of R-15 Foamular that was reclaimed during a demolition job. Costs about 1/3 as much as brand new pink board, and is in great shape, so I plan to double up on it and add an extra R-10 or 15 to my thermal wrap.

Have any permies out there worked with the stuff? Does it hold up as well as the manufacturer claims?
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Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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Fine Homebuilding had an article a couple issues ago by an owner/contractor building a "green" home from scratch. He used recycled foam but concluded it cost him a lot of money because the thickness varied so much and required so much shimming to keep a wall surface flat enough that he could install the exterior finish and have something that didn't look like a vertical slalom course. Labor killed him.

Moral: Be aware that the used material is not equivalent to new in _some_ ways and research it's condition and spec it's use accordingly.

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We use recycled foam often, (you must design with it's flaws in mind as Rufus has warned about or you will loose money and time.) We do not use XPS as this foam type is notorious for attracting the "wee beasties." When I was in another field of work, we would actually use XPS as "nesting material' for creatures, like ants, coleoptera, and other insect life, and that does not even address how much rodents love to borrow through it. This is a little fact that most manufacturers "down play," and step around when marketing XPS foams.
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For the last few years we have been building with reclaimed styrofoam tree planting boxes. Lots of tree nurseries have these things lying around in the thousands. Ultimately they are chipped up and put into the landfill or shipped to China to be made into CD cases. We have found them to be a highly versatile building medium and the insulation value is incredible. We've used them for load bearing walls, infill for timber framing and infill for conventional framing (stuffed in between the 2x6's). If you can source them out I highly recommend their use. check out some of the pics on or website.

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Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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I've extensively reused foam insulation. It saved us tens of thousands of dollars in building our on-farm butcher shop which is both very well insulated and has a very high thermal mass so it stays cool utilizing our winter coolth. See:



Insulation is expensive stuff and it lasts very well.
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