U.S. Cooler manufactures walk-in coolers and freezers employing both Polyurethane and Extruded Polystyrene. Through testing and years of experience we maintain that extruded polystyrene insulation is superior for use in walk-in coolers and freezers. Polystyrene has many characteristics that prove it to be the best insulation material for walk-ins. The two main insulating foams found in walk-ins are Extruded Polystyrene and Polyurethane. Each insulation has differentiating characteristics and should be optimized for the specific application.
Polystyrene is a dense closed-cell structure that is very resistant to moisture and holds its R-Value longer than other competing insulations found in walk-ins, such as Polyurethane. This allows less water infiltration in the insulation, which in turn saves energy and money. When water starts seeping into the insulation’s pores, the R-value drops dramatically causing the refrigeration to work harder to hold its respective temperature. Refrigeration working overtime means higher energy bills. Polystyrene is less water vapor permeable; therefore, water vapor does not infiltrate through the material as quickly or easily as it does other insulating materials.Using studies performed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CRREL), U.S. Cooler demonstrated extruded polystyrene saved consumers over $5,000 in energy costs over the first five years of operation. The savings again are due to extruded polystyrene’s ability to resist moisture and to retain its R-value better than other insulators.
Polystyrene used in walk-in coolers and freezers is made from “at least 20% pre-consumer recycled polystyrene.” (Owens Corning, Technical Bulletin: Recycle Content Claims Must be Reliable and Verifiable) Polystyrene found in walk-ins is also 100% recyclable. Manufacturing companies that produce these insulation materials, reproduce the resources in new insulation material. Alternatively, it is important to note that Polyurethane is produced from chemicals and is not made from any recycled materials nor can it be recycled or reused.
Polystyrene in walk-in coolers and freezers is the most cost effective and environmentally friendly insulation used in walk-ins today. Not only is polystyrene in walk-ins made with recycled materials and is 100% recyclable but it is energy efficient and can save a great deal of money in energy costs and reduce carbon footprint over the life-cycle of the walk-in.