Molding a Greener Community

PolyMolding

7. Affordable and Clean Energy 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 13. Climate Action

Overview

PolyMolding LLC is a company based in Haskell, NJ, that aims to provide efficient and durable foundations for projects ranging from bridges to auditoriums to the base of large buildings such as the World Trade Center. Their innovation involves the use of EPS foam, a light, yet durable insulation product that not only adds structure, but reduces energy use and chemical emissions.

Authors

Ritvik Raj

Ritvik Raj

Myera Mian

Myera Mian

Ryan Gallagher

Ryan Gallagher

William Wu

William Wu

School

Rutgers Business School

Rutgers Business School

Professor

Kenneth Welch

Kenneth Welch

Innovation

PolyMolding’s innovation is EPS Foam or Expanded Polystyrene Foam. It has revolutionized construction and insulation in the construction industry. EPS Foam is light, rigid, and durable which makes it perfect for use under concrete and cinder blocks, or as green roofing, flute fillers, tapered insulation, or Geofoam. It is an excellent material for buildings. Through insulation and absorption of less moisture, it saves energy and protects structural integrity. It can be used in roads and other structures to provide stability on uneven ground. Also the production and construction process is green because EPS Foam is created with up to 30% of recycled content. It is free of harmful chemicals, and requires less energy for equipment to transport and modify on-site. Poly Molding strives to reduce cost, improve quality, and create new products from EPS Foam to better suit the needs of its customers.

Herbert Corn, an engineer, started the company, PolyMolding Corp in 1962. While in Germany during World War II, he came across EPS foam. Initially, Corn only created beer coolers and mannequin heads, until his son, Stuart, convinced him to use EPS foam for construction purposes. They realized that there would be a lot of new construction happening, and there was a demand for an inexpensive, sturdy material, especially as insulation for housing. As information about bridges using EPS foam came to light, current CEO Adam Corn convinced his father to move EPS into a new market: large construction projects, such as roads, bridges, and foundations for large buildings. Adam realized that this lucrative market could allow EPS foam to be sold in large quantities for various projects, making it an ideal fit for the tristate area. After buying the company from his mother and becoming CEO in 2010, Adam Corn changed the company to PolyMolding LLC. Since that time, Adam has made strides towards working with various contractors such as Skanska, which hired PolyMolding to create the foundation for the World Trade Center, and Restani Construction Corp., which hired PolyMolding to build a ramp for the Verrazano Bridge. Much of the funding and investors of PolyMolding come from the tri-state area. After the destruction that followed Hurricane Sandy, many buildings needed new foundations. PolyMolding assisted with the construction projects. This project gave PolyMolding credibility and it was sourced for significant projects such as the Raritan Bay Hospital, Stony Brook athletic center, and infrastructure around the MetLife Stadium.

Overall, PolyMolding use of EPS foam relates to and advocates various UN Sustainable Development Goal. The distribution of EPS Form exhibits industry innovation and infrastructure. This leads to sustainable cities and communities as well as provide decent work and economic growth within those communities. Also a significant part of their marketing efforts emphasis the environmental or “green” benefits of using EPS foam as opposed to other materials for construction which represent the climate action goal.

Molding a Greener Community

Inspiration

For the CEO, Adam Corn, the company is valuable and significant as it has been in the family for two generations. After researching the use of EPS foam for the stadiums in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games, Corn realized how their business could be expanded to fit the needs of business infrastructure. Therefore, Corn was inspired to branch the company into a new direction that could bring new revenue streams and positively impact those communities. This growth potential did not come without hardships. Adam spent more than five years giving pitches and convincing consumers of the benefits of EPS foam and geofoam. Corn concluded that if he didn't have a strong passion for the work and a determination and resilience to make it happen, this new pathway would not have been possible. Furthermore, Adam indicated that he was inspired by the vast uses of the EPS foam. Since the foam is used for the foundation of many prominent buildings, such as the World Trade Center, Corn feels as though he has had a small role in helping curate those buildings, which he remarks as "being [his] proudest moment" (Yakowicz, 2015).

We interviewed Sebastian, who works for Poly Molding, described his job as "very fulfilling." He uses EPS Foam in a variety of ways to create new products. He finds it very interesting to fashion a design that can best suit the need of the customer, which varies case by case. It really emphasizes the task-variability and self-efficacy that Sebastian displays at Poly Molding. As the company was born initially from creating beer coolers in the post-WWII era, the origins of this company were humble. What still reigns true today is the passion for fulfilling customer needs. In thinking about what inspires the innovation, Sebastian stated that "he is lucky. His successes come from the results of the industry that we're in, and fortunate to play a part in." When asked about what inspires him about the innovation, he kept it simple in saying that "he enjoys the end-user aspect and coordinating with engineers and architects and finding solutions to the customers problems. That's very rewarding." Moreover, many of the employees, including the CEO, find it inspiring how PolyMolding is the base for monumental projects such as the World Trade Center. EPS foam is a sturdy product that does not degrade. PolyMolding is essentially the perfect foundation for a plethora of historical sites.

Overall impact

PolyMolding’s innovation of EPS foam has had an immense impact on many businesses and the environment. While it doesn’t directly create energy, it serves as an insulation to prevent heat from escaping from buildings; therefore saving on energy costs. Houses built with ICF exterior walls (made of EPS) require much less energy to heat and cool than comparable frame houses. It’s also much cheaper than XPS, its main competitor. The infrastructure constructed using EPS is also very sustainable and resilient. EPS is free of CFCs and HCFCs, which destroy the ozone layer and cause global warming. Moreover, since EPS is a light material, it reduces the use of heavy machinery, which is usually required to place concrete. The lack of heavy machinery and concrete lessens the compaction of land and soil, thus reducing the amount of degradation that could take place. Lastly, it is excellent for the environment because it is mostly air and uses minimal amounts of natural resources. Additionally, EPS does not have to be replaced as often as EPS’s R-value of 4 / inch (drying potential). Also it does not diminish over time, unlike XPS. Finally, it’s produced locally across the country, requires less intensive construction and production, saves energy and transportation costs and environmental impact.

Business benefit

As a whole, the entire business is focused on EPS foam, with every product being made out of it. It supplies the surrounding community with cheap and green building materials that promote efficiency. Short term, it reduces the amount of harmful substances used in construction and improves safety conditions among construction workers. In the long term, it reduces the energy needed for heating and cooling, enabling businesses to run in a more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly manner.

This innovation has also been extremely beneficial for many business as a whole. When Adam Corn became CEO in 2010, the company was almost a million dollars in debt (Yakowicz, 2015). Undoubtedly, this debt was a hard blow to recover from. Due to the destructive aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, PolyMolding had the opportunity to rebuild several communities. Thus, the use of EPS foam and Geofoam allowed the company to grow and expand from house and building reconstruction to road projects. Overall, this innovation has allowed the company to earn over $5 million in annual revenue. As America continues to urbanize, PolyMolding has attracted more companies that wish to use EPS foam to ensure stability for large products. The extensive use of EPS foam has allowed PolyMolding to grow and increase revenue. PolyMoldings products have also contributed to the growth of community landmarks. GeoFoam has been used in the new World Trade Center, the stadiums for New York's baseball teams, and infrastructure for the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Although PolyMolding is a small company, with only 19 employees, they are a great team. Sebastian remarked how they often meet and discuss new project ventures. They are respectful and supportive of one another's ideas. Ultimately, this innovation has responded to a need in the marketplace that has helped the company and the employees to flourish.

Social and environmental benefit

PolyMolding's EPS and Geofoams are incredibly beneficial for the environment as they are energy and material efficient. Houses built with ICF exterior walls (made of EPS) require an estimated 44 percent less energy to heat and 32 percent less energy to cool than comparable frame houses. It's also the most affordable of its type: it is around 60% of the cost of XPS, its main competitor. The infrastructure constructed using EPS is also very sustainable and resilient. As mentioned previously, EPS is free of CFCs and HCFCs, which destroy the ozone layer and cause global warming. Furthermore, it uses minimal amounts of natural resources and is, in fact, actually 98% air. Not only does it use fewer materials, but it also only uses 24 percent of the energy compared to similar quality fiberglass. Lastly, it is a friendlier product for buildings as it reduces the amount of damage they sustain. As EPS foam has a higher permeability rate of 5.0, water vapor can pass through without damaging the internal structure of the buildings.

Beyond this, PolyMolding is also benefitting the society through its various project ventures. As mentioned previously, after Hurricane Sandy, PolyMolding used EPS and Geofoam to rebuild hundreds of houses and buildings. PolyMolding's innovation also plays a significant role in curating a plethora of the facilities that thousands of locals enjoy, such as stadiums, the World Trade Center, the Verrazano Bridge, and even hospitals. By using this innovation, construction workers save time, energy, and cost as compared to the traditional methods of utilizing soil. Lastly, EPS and Geofoam helped PolyMolding establish relationships with several construction firms. Restani, a construction firm, indicated that PolyMolding is an extremely knowledgeable company that is one of the best vendors in the local area.

Interview

Sebastian Williams, Sales Consultant

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PolyMolding

PolyMolding

Haskell, New Jersey, US

Business Website: http://polymoldingllc.com/#intro

Year Founded: 2010

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

PolyMolding LLC is a company based in Haskell, NJ that aims to provide efficient and durable foundations for projects ranging from bridges, to auditoriums to the base of immense buildings such as the World Trade Center. Their innovation involves the use of EPS foam, a light, yet durable insulation product that not only adds structure, but reduces energy use and chemical emissions.