Nice meeting with a fire captain

All the time we host interested potential clients to visit our factory and yesterday we had the honor of hosting a fire department captain - who also works as a builder on his off-shift days - looking to build a couple of buildings himself - from a garage/workshop to a home for a relative.  Being an inquisitive person myself I never miss the chance to learn when possible and fire safety is of particular interest to me, and to meet with a fireman who was also a builder was particularly great conversation.

Similar to the videos on our website homepage (scroll down if you did not see them!) we played around with "burning foam", and marveled that most EPS panel manufacturers are able to claim a "Class 1" fire resistant material because this test (ASTM E84) actually only tests for flame spread and smoke spread - and when their material simply either "vaporizes" or melts when flame is in contact with foam, there is almost no smoke or flame.  The problem is - as we both observed - if you remove the interior of an EPS panel through heat then YOU LOSE STRUCTURAL SUPPORT.  i.e. the HOUSE COLLAPSES.  And the challenge for fire fighters is that they do not know what a home or building is made from - and they may rush inside or climb on the roof to fight that fire because that is simply what they do.  And if the structure is made from EPS panels and not sufficiently protected from flame - they could be severly injured or worse.  The heat at the ceiling inside even a simple kitchen fire can reach 1700 degrees, and EPS foam starts to melt at around 200 degrees F or less.  For this reason in the UK the insurance industry largely will not insure new structures built with EPS panels (though it is still legal by building code).  Even the "open vented" nature of most test facilities testing the structural support of an EPS panel in fire to not reflect real world enclosed house situations in which heat builds up inside of a structure.

We also discussed tornadoes and hurricanes - shear wind events for which North Carolina is known to see often.  The senior building code official for Wake County once told me that our product really helps the latest building codes because asided from increased insulation values the Code has increased it's "Bracing" section of the code from around 6-8 pages to more than 20 pages - three times as much.  And when we manufacture a single piece corner panel - eliminating one of the weakest parts of a home's structure - where two walls come together - we can significantly increase the overall structural strength of a building when coupled with our wall panels that amount to shear walls by themselves (through inherent cross-bracing in every panel we build).

Eco-Panels can make your home stronger, safer and significantly more energy efficent.  Please consider us for your next home!