It chose the phenolic foam board as its new growth engine and pledged to expand its sales of the insulation panel to 50 billion won ($45 million) by 2018, a sixfold increase from 8 billion won last year.
|LG Hausys employees make a final inspection of phenolic foam panels at its factory in Chungju on Friday. (LG Hausys)|
The company expects the energy-saving and eco-friendly insulation market to grow continuously.
“It’s because the government is strengthening regulations on buildings’ energy efficiency and fire safety. Consumers are also showing more interest in cutting energy expenses,” said Kim Myoung-deuk, a senior vice president at LG Hausys.
Currently, insulation boards made from polystyrene foam and urethane have a domestic market share of 80 percent as phenolic foam panel is nearly double the cost.
But Kim sees more potential in the coming years as the renovation industry is becoming bigger in Korea’s construction market.
“While cost matters the most for construction firms, consumers who build and repair their own homes would not mind spending more for high quality materials which are safer and cheaper in the long run because PF panels save on heating costs,” he said.
It took less than five seconds to melt down a 50-centimeter polystyrene foam insulation sheet with a gas spray gun while a thinner phenolic foam panel was only blackened on its surface, during a demonstration in the yard of LG Hausys’ plant in Chungju.
Unlike other materials, toxic gas emissions from phenolic foam during a fire are generally limited to carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, with very low levels of other gases.
LG Hausys is one of the world’s four firms, including Japan’s Sekisui, Asahi Kasei and British firm Kingspan, that produce the PF panels on a large scale.
The company also plans to enter the Chinese market with the insulation panel which is expected to show rapid growth due to the Chinese government’s energy saving policy. LG Hausys said it will start to develop PF panel products which better suits the Chinese climate this year.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)