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Replacing HFCs with low GWP foam blowing agents will help building owners, appliance manufacturers and others meet sustainability goals
Fluorocarbons (HFCs) are highly potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are commonly found in products such as refrigerators, air conditioners, insulation and many others. The chemical industry has made significant investments in new technologies to replace these chemicals with more environmentally friendly alternatives. Some alternatives have a global warming potential (GWP) 1400 times lower than that of HFCs. Moving away from HFCs offers the opportunity to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. In December 2020, the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act came into force, giving the US Environmental Protection Agency the power to phase out the use of HFCs.
Industry is helping to take responsibility for a more sustainable future
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) fully supports the phasing out of HFCs for low GWP propellants. Last May, the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) filed a petition with the EPA under the AIM Act to phase out the use of HFCs in the polyurethane sector. The petition calls for the EPA to reintroduce the restrictions on HFCs from the Significant New Alternatives Policy program effective January 1, 2023.
US and ACC member companies have been developing formulations containing low GWP alternatives for nearly a decade. These new, low GWP formulations will replace HFCs and will significantly reduce the source of greenhouse gas emissions in materials such as rigid polyurethane foam for appliances and high and low pressure spray foam. These materials are used in consumer products such as refrigerators and water heaters, as well as in industries such as construction and construction.
A practical example of meaningful change
Spray foam offers an all-in-one insulating and airtighting product for homes and buildings with an exceptional benefit for the environment. It completely seals the building envelope and prevents unwanted air currents – increasing both the energy efficiency and the lifespan of the building, while at the same time offsetting the negative environmental impacts that are often associated with heating and cooling. These properties make spray foam blowing agents low GWP products, which means that they have little contribution to global warming.
While it’s pretty obvious that spray foam is already a great tool to achieve a lower carbon future, the spray foam industry has taken steps to lower its GWP even further.
Members of the spray foam industry have recently begun phasing out HFCs and replacing them with low GWP propellants such as HFCs. B. hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) to replace. This greatly reduces a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions and thereby further reduces the GWP of spray foam products.
Environmental sustainability is a top priority at ACC, and we are committed to working with the EPA to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In April, ACC issued a number of policy recommendations to reduce emissions, including phasing out HFCs.
We are excited that the EPA is taking the next step in the transition from HFCs to low GWP alternatives, and we look forward to helping to further reduce the global warming impact of already environmentally friendly products like spray foam.