Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Brandon Trelstad
Submission Date April 30, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Oregon State University
IN-2: Innovation 2

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Brandon Trelstad
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Recycled Plastics for Green Building Insulation

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

OSU Polymer Processing and Characterization Laboratory
School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering

Recycled Plastics for Green Building Insulation
Britany Swann, Samantha Anderlie, Michaela Mockler-Martens, Dr. Travis Walker, and Dr. Skip Rochefort
Plastic waste is a worldwide problem, and some plastic articles such as expanded polystyrene (commonly called Styrofoam) are essentially not recycled anywhere. Some of the most common building insulation materials are made of expanded polystyrene that are all manufactured from virgin material. Several years ago the CBEE Polymer Laboratory (Dr. Rochefort) received a grant from Oregon BEST to build equipment to evaluate the thermal properties (R-value) of insulation materials. This led to the evaluation of using recycled plastics of all types as building insulation for “green building applications” in the US and as much needed inexpensive building insulation in Third World countries. We will continue this work utilizing plastics from the OSU waste stream, including Styrofoam which is difficult and expensive to have removed and is not recycled. We have measured the R-Values (insulating quality) of both mixed plastic wastes and “broken-up and compressed Styrofoam” packaged into “12 inch square pillows” which could easily be added to as insulation on the walls of houses. The R-values of approximately 4.4 – 4.6 per inch are very competitive with the current Dow Pink Styrofoam commercial product used in housing which was measured at 4.8 – 5.0 per inch. We are currently moving to a “small house model” test on the OSU Campus using the “recycled plastic pillows” as insulation.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):
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A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum ---
Research Yes
Campus Engagement ---
Public Engagement ---
Air & Climate ---
Buildings Yes
Dining Services ---
Energy Yes
Grounds ---
Purchasing ---
Transportation ---
Waste Yes
Water ---
Coordination, Planning & Governance ---
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
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The website URL where information about the innovation is available:
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