SES Foam Wall Insulation Products Use Honeywell’s Low Global-Warming Material

Honeywell has announced that SES Foam has transitioned to Honeywell’s low global-warming-potential (GWP) material for wall insulation, with roofing systems to follow.

SES has introduced a 2.0 closed-cell spray polyurethane foam (ccSPF) formulated with Honeywell’s Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA) for use in wall insulation applications. SES joins a list of companies that have switched from hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) foam blowing agents such as HFC-365mfc and HFC-245fa to Solstice LBA in ccSPF systems, well ahead of environmental regulations calling for a phaseout of HFCs due to their high GWPs. More than 190 countries recently agreed to an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that would phase down the use of HFCs beginning in 2019.

Solstice LBA, which is based on next-generation hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO) technology, complies with changing regulatory requirements aimed at reducing climate impact, while also providing improved foam performance compared to HFCs. Blowing agents are an important ingredient in closed-cell foam, allowing it to expand and enabling its insulating performance.

“SES is proud of its commitment to sustainable solutions and innovation,” said Charles Valentine, chief operating officer, SES Foam. “Having built our open-cell foam business around sucrose-based technology, we believe that adopting Honeywell’s Solstice LBA in our closed-cell foam aligns with our customers and environmental focus. Our expertise is unique in that many of our staff are former spray foam contractors, so they have insight into customers’ needs, and can provide the support and products they require to succeed.”

“Honeywell is committed to helping industry leaders like SES create solutions such as using Solstice LBA in its closed-cell foam,” said Laura Reinhard, global business manager for spray foam, Honeywell. “Not only does Solstice LBA provide SES with an environmental solution, it has helped their 2.0 product formulation deliver foam performance.”  

Solstice LBA has a low global-warming-potential of 1, which is 99.9 percent lower than HFCs and equal to carbon dioxide. It is nonflammable (ASTM E-681) and is not a volatile organic compound per the EPA. Solstice LBA is listed under the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. In Europe, it is not listed in the Annex I of F-Gas regulation and thus not considered an F-Gas. It is also registered under the European Union’s REACH program.
 
Solstice LBA is used in a variety of rigid foam insulation applications, including spray foam insulation, residential and commercial refrigeration equipment, and insulated metal panels, as well as flexible foam applications, such as molded and slabstock foam, and integral skin. Visit the website for more information on Solstice LBA.

XPSA Supports Montreal Protocol Amendment Accelerating HFC Phase-Out

The Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association (XPSA) , whose members include the major extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) insulation manufacturers in North America, has announced its support for the Montreal Protocol amendment hastening the global phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to protect the stratospheric ozone and mitigate the effects of climate change.
 
XPSA has expressed support for both the Montreal Protocol and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program, under which XPS manufacturers are transitioning out of using HFC-134a. XPS manufacturers have met or exceeded the timelines set forth and will continue to do so based on science and environmental stewardship. XPSA’s members are committed to eliminating HFCs from their products by the EPA SNAP deadline of January 1, 2021.
 
“The phase-out of HFCs will be a milestone within the XPS industry’s stewardship and sustainability objectives and a progression of our ongoing search for technology improvements to better serve our customers and protect our environment,” said John Ferraro, executive director of XPSA.
 
Replacing HFC-134a requires a reconsideration of the entire chemical makeup of XPS insulation products. The EPA understands that XPS manufacturers need time to identify alternatives to HFC-134a; assess and address risks of alternative components; analyze capabilities and make modifications to equipment, facilities, manufacturing processes, and worker safety and training programs; work with suppliers on equipment and component needs; build and engage in pilot- and plant-scale trials; obtain permits, approvals, and financing; and address commercialization issues such as ensuring production capacity to meet global market demand.
 
XPS’s properties heighten a structure’s energy efficiency, which both the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and EPA acknowledge to be one of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategies. In fact, ASHREA and XPS industry estimates indicate that homes using XPS insulation sheathing save enough energy in the first year to heat over 500,000 homes in the U.S. XPS reduces GHG emissions by lowering the energy consumption of a structure, which diminishes the amount of energy spent in the distribution of energy, the delivery of which requires 3.34 units of energy to send 1 unit to a building for user consumption. Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) data shows that the reduced energy consumption due to XPS foam pays back the embedded CO2 multiple times over the life of a building.

Honeywell Challenges Spray Foam Insulation Contractors and Builders

Honeywell has announced that it will offer U.S. contractors and builders a chance to win prizes if they try spray foam systems that contain Honeywell’s Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA) as a key ingredient.

Honeywell’s promotion, “Hit A Foam Run” runs now through April 30, 2017. Participants can win prizes each month, and one grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to watch the stars of baseball play in Miami. Spray foam contractors and builders are encouraged to contact one of the spray foam companies participating in the promotion and offering closed-cell spray foam systems containing Solstice LBA. The list of companies offering spray foam systems formulated with Solstice LBA continues to grow.

Some of the systems are designated for wall insulation, others for roofing. Solstice LBA is a material that causes foam to expand and enables its insulating properties.

“We have feedback from many contractors who have already used the new systems,” said Laura Reinhard, global business manager, sprayfoam, Honeywell. “They are surprised that changing the blowing agent can have so many positive effects, such as thermal performance, increased yields, reduced clogging of the spray gun, and a smooth finish, among other improvements. They can experience improvements in foam performance with minimal adjustments to their existing equipment. We encourage contractors to ask their systems providers for spray foam made with Solstice LBA.”

Global regulators are moving to phase out higher-global-warming-potential (GWP) foam blowing agents, refrigerants and other materials based on hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) technology. Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published regulations that will phase out the use of many HFC blowing agents. The regulation, some of which becomes effective January 2017, will require manufacturers to discontinue use of many standard HFC blowing agents and blends in certain applications.

Solstice LBA, which is based on hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO) technology, has a GWP of 1, which is 99.9 percent lower than HFC blowing agents it replaces, and equal to carbon dioxide. It is non-ozone-depleting and nonflammable. Solstice LBA has received EPA approval under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program, and is volatile organic compound (VOC)-exempt per the EPA. It is also registered under the European Union’s REACH program. Honeywell’s Solstice LBA manufacturing plant in Louisiana started up in May 2014.

Adoption of Solstice products has resulted in the reduction of more than 30 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to date, equal to eliminating emissions from more than 6 million cars. 

Honeywell also manufactures Solstice Gas Blowing Agent, which replaces HFC-134a in low-pressure spray foam insulation, commercial appliance insulation and extruded polystyrene boardstock insulation for homes and buildings.

Solstice LBA is used in a variety of rigid foam insulation applications, including residential and commercial refrigeration equipment, spray foam insulation, and insulated metal panels, as well as flexible foam applications, such as molded and slabstock foam, and integral skin.

RCMA Members Apply Roof Coatings for ECA EnergyFit Program

Twenty-three members of the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) volunteered to apply reflective cool roof coatings on 18 low-income row homes on the 1200 block of West Seltzer Street in North Philadelphia to support the Energy Coordinating Agency’s (ECA) EnergyFit Philly program.

Under a hot sun and high humidity, volunteers climbed up 32 foot ladders to apply reflective cool roof coatings under the guidance and support of ECA’s staff and contractors. Working on houses on both sides of the street, every roof received the first coating in about three hours.

Cooling down with iced water, volunteers listened to remarks by City Council President, Darrell Clarke – who thanked each volunteer personally – while acknowledging the good work by ECA and noting how energy conservation helps residents save money. The Director of Sustainability, Christine Knapp, drew attention to our prolonged heat wave and focused on the value of cool roof coatings to reduce air conditioning use. Finally, Darlene Pope, “the city’s best block captain,” gave the final remarks of the day. Gracious and thankful, and an advocate for clean energy, Darlene thanked the volunteers from RCMA for helping to make this day possible.

ECA’s EnergyFit Philly program preserves affordable housing by repairing, and providing energy retrofits to low income homes in poor condition. It is an innovative approach to the prevention of homelessness by preserving and stabilizing affordable housing that is currently ineligible for energy conservation programs due to roof leaks and other home repair needs. Applying roof coatings on these homes reduces the cooling load and extends the service life of the roofs.

Roof coatings are designed for protecting and extending the service life of roof assemblies for new construction and more commonly, existing roof coverings. Reflective roof coatings extend the life of the roof by reducing heat transfer into the building, decreasing thermal shock, and helping to mitigate leaks.

Roof coatings reflect visible light as well as infrared and ultraviolet radiation, causing roof surface temperature to drop by up to 55°F and decreasing the amount of heat transferred into a building on hot days. Lower roof temperatures in turn help to reduce cooling costs for buildings with air conditioning units and reduce interior temperatures and relative humidity in buildings with or without cooling units. A building owner can experience an energy savings of up to 15% after using a reflective roof coating, according to information from the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Program. When reflective roof coatings are used on a significant portion of a city’s roofs, they will also reduce the urban heat island effect, essentially cooling the entire city.

Several RCMA roof coatings manufacturer and supplier members have donated their products for use in this project, or volunteered their time to apply coatings to a block of low income row homes on West Seltzer Street. The RCMA is partnering with ECA on this project as part of its biennial industry conference, the International Roof Coatings Conference.

BASF Offers Expandable Polystyrene With Polymeric Flame Retardant Material

As a commitment to the efficiency, sustainability, and safety of its customers, BASF only offers its expandable polystyrene (EPS) with the polymeric flame retardant (PolyFR). Neopor Graphite-enhanced Polystyrene (GPS) provides the insulation industry with a raw material that combines high insulation quality, safety, ease of processing, and low weight, resulting in a contribution to global climate protection goals.

“Our customers look to BASF to provide high-quality materials,” said Luis Espada, business manager, Neopor Insulation North America. “The change to PolyFR in our products is an example of the commitment to continually enhancing our product portfolio.”

PolyFR also improves the environmental profile of the material, as confirmed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Relevant first tests show the same results and classification as legacy FR products, such as ASTM E84, UL S701, NFPA 286, and NFPA 285.

“Switching to PolyFR guarantees the supply of eco-efficient thermal insulation products for sustainable building and construction in the future,” said Giorgio Greening, BASF global business unit, Styrenic Foams. “Energy efficiency in the commercial and residential construction section is now a bigger challenge than ever for the entire value chain. As a raw material manufacturer, we want to supply our customers with quality materials with optimal properties.”

Neopor is a registered trademark of BASF SE.

UN Climate Conference Agreement Will Impact Energy Efficiency of Buildings

The agreement from the U.N. Climate Conference will dramatically impact the energy efficiency of buildings in the U.S. becoming standard operating procedure for new construction and making deep retrofits worth the time and effort.

According to the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, there are approximately 6 million commercial buildings in the U.S., comprising 87.4 billion square feet. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average commercial building wastes 30 percent of its energy consumption at a cost of more than a trillion dollars of wasted energy.

PIMA President Jared Blum, serving also as vice chair of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, led a delegation of renewable and energy-efficiency business leaders to the COP21 meeting in Paris. Blum and the other leaders participated in briefing sessions given by the U.S. negotiating team, as well as in workshops as technology and policy experts.

“COP21 has indeed resulted in an unprecedented operating commitment to reduce CO2 emissions for the 196 countries attending,” says Blum. “Coupled with the recently passed Clean Power Plan here in the U.S., we expect to see building designers and scientists reevaluating how to get existing buildings to perform.”

Blum participated in the COP 21 in a number of different ways:

  • Provided the opening statement, the Intervention, at the Plenary Technical Working Group for Governmental Delegates.
  • Held meetings with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and a U.S. Senate delegation offering business input to the conference leaders.
  • Participated in a panel discussion with representatives of the wind industry and other efficiency advocates.

“Of real difference this year is the shift in the attitude of the business community towards this effort. The prices of solar- and wind-energy technologies have fallen dramatically, energy storage R&D is making significant progress, and energy-efficiency practices and policies have definitively demonstrated that economic growth can be separated from energy use,” adds Blum. “I believe that realization was one of the reasons this conference was a success.”

The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance Recognizes CertainTeed Insulation Products

Thanks to an accreditation awarded by the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance Professional Certification Program (SPFA PCP), contractors can be confident that CertainTeed operates using the industry’s best practices for world-class spray foam insulation products, technical knowledge and training. CertainTeed is one of the first supplier companies in the spray polyurethane foam (SPF) industry to meet the rigorous demands of the respected professional organization’s certification program.

“We believe excellence in manufacturing the highest quality spray polyurethane foam products is just part of the equation,” says Ken Forsythe, manager of product marketing for CertainTeed Insulation. “Education and proper installation of building materials have always been top priorities with CertainTeed. SPF insulation is one of the more technical products to master, and our SPFA PCP supplier accreditation shows our dedication to partnering with building professionals well after the product leaves the factory.”

The SPFA PCP is an internationally recognized program built for those involved in the installation of spray polyurethane foam. Covering roofing and insulation applications, the program advocates industry best practices and safety. The new SPF Supplier Company Accreditation category is designed to increase the scope of the program, to include additional organizations and individuals which are key to the SPF supply chain, and to provide further distinction for those companies that invest in their people and customers.

The standards-driven program is ISO 17024 compliant and was developed by committees of industry stakeholders in collaboration with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in addition to other federal agencies and external stakeholders. It is offered both domestically and internationally.

“This prestigious achievement signifies CertainTeed’s adherence and commitment to the SPF industry’s best practices,” says Kelly Cook Marcavage, certification director for SPFA PCP. “It is an honor to work with such a dedicated company who shares our demand for the highest of standards and utmost professionalism.”

As part of the accreditation process, select CertainTeed personnel were required to become certified as SPF Insulation Supplier Representatives through the SPFA PCP. Criteria also included supplier offered training programs for contractors and best practices/risk management program verification.

RCMA and Members of Congress Address Issues of the Roof Coatings Industry

Members of the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) met with its members of Congress on Capitol Hill as part of the Association’s Summer Meeting and Legislative Day.

More than 30 RCMA members participated in the Legislative Day, which entailed paying visits to members of Congress and key congressional staffers from their states and districts. RCMA scheduled meetings with more than 80 congressional offices, offering opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers to the industry to communicate to lawmakers the issues of importance to the roof coatings industry.

“The meetings on Capitol Hill gave RCMA members the chance to highlight the issues that are important to our industry,” says John Ferraro, RCMA’s executive director. “It was clear many of the senators, representatives and legislative staffers we met with were receptive to these industry issues, and therefore RCMA will be continuing the dialogue with these congressional offices.”

In particular, RMCA members discussed three main issues of interest to the roof coatings industry: opposing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from further lowering the National Ozone Standard, supporting the Clean Air, Strong Economies (CASE) Act, and advocating for a federal tax credit for reflective roof coatings.

The RCMA opposes the EPA’s proposal to lower the National Ozone Standard. Reductions to the standard have resulted in implementation of hundreds of regulations that created a tremendous regulatory burden. Consequently, the rule forced industries to spend billions of dollars to reformulate their products to achieve new volatile organic compound (VOC) content limits. Over the last few decades, 90 percent of VOC content has been eliminated from roof coatings, and further reduction of VOCs can have a wide variety of unintended consequences.

The RCMA supports the CASE Act (Senate Bill 751 and House Bill 1388). The bill would prohibit the U.S. EPA from lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) until at least 85 percent of counties that are in nonattainment areas have attained the standard.

To incentivize building owners to make the investment to save energy and reduce roofing waste, the RCMA supports the creation of a federal tax credit for reflective roof coatings applied to low slope roof surfaces on multi-family residential, commercial and industrial buildings.

Kill Moss and Algae in an Environmentally Friendly Manner

Moss Melt Concentrate, a moss and algae herbicide from Green Spear Inc., has recently received EPA registration for use on roofs, lawns, turf, and outdoor surfaces and structures.

Moss Melt Concentrate, a moss and algae herbicide from Green Spear Inc., has recently received EPA registration for use on roofs, lawns, turf, and outdoor surfaces and structures.

Moss Melt Concentrate, a moss and algae herbicide from Green Spear Inc., has recently received EPA registration for use on roofs, lawns, turf, and outdoor surfaces and structures. The active ingredient is an emulsified d-Limonene, which acts as a natural degreaser. It strips away the waxy surface of moss and algae without direct sunlight or warm temperatures. The product is rain-fast within one hour. Moss Melt will not stain concrete, brick, pavement, stucco or wood and will not damage gutters, metal flashing or downspouts. One gallon kills up to a 12,500-square-foot area. The product currently is available in the Pacific Northwest.

NRDC and EDC Sue EPA Over Stormwater Standards

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) have sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen standards to prevent pollution from stormwater, one of the nation’s most widespread forms of water pollution. More than a decade ago a federal appeals court ordered EPA to strengthen those protections, but the agency has failed to take action.

The dirty water that runs off roads, parking lots and other hard surfaces in cities and suburbs when it rains is the prime cause of beach closings around the country, and is responsible for fouling tens of thousands of miles of streams and hundreds of thousands of acres of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. In addition, sediment-laden runoff from forest roads threatens drinking water supplies and kills fish and other aquatic life.

“This inexcusable delay in obeying a clear court order is, unfortunately, all too typical of EPA foot-dragging on the crucial stormwater pollution problem. The agency has repeatedly promised a much-needed update of all its stormwater protections, and repeatedly failed to come through,” said NRDC senior attorney Larry Levine.

The suit, filed late Thursday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, charges EPA has failed to implement that court’s 2003 ruling ordering the agency to correct and strengthen rules for urban runoff that flows through municipal sewer systems. EPA also ignored the same court’s order to decide whether it has an obligation under the Clean Water Act to regulate runoff from forest roads that wash damaging sediment into water bodies. The ruling in EDC v. EPA resulted from a successful challenge brought by EDC and NRDC against EPA’s 1999 stormwater regulations.

“EPA’s failure to act deprives the public—and the environment—of the important clean water victory that EDC and NRDC achieved over ten years ago. Our waterways continue to remain at risk from stormwater pollution, which threatens public health, wildlife, and recreation. ” said Maggie Hall, Staff Attorney at EDC.

In urbanized areas, according to the suit, stormwater “picks up contaminants, including suspended metals, algae-promoting nutrients, used motor oil, raw sewage, pesticides, and trash,” that flows untreated through municipal sewer pipes directly into streams, lakes and the ocean. It is, the suit says, “one of the most significant sources of water pollution in the nation, at times comparable to, if not greater than, contamination from industrial and sewage sources.”

The appeals court found that EPA’s urban runoff rules for communities with populations under 100,000 don’t comply with the Clean Water Act because they rely on self-regulation by local municipalities and don’t allow for public participation when local pollution controls are being set.

Unpaved forest roads throughout the West are a major threat to water quality, undermining the billions of dollars that is spent on the recovery of native runs of salmon and steelhead, and harming other valuable fisheries and drinking water supplies.

In 2003 the court said the agency had given no justification for its failure to regulate runoff from forest roads and ordered the agency to address this issue.

In 2009, EPA announced it would undertake a major overhaul and upgrading of its urban stormwater rules, which NRDC and EDC welcomed as an opportunity for the agency to obey the court order on urban runoff. NRDC also encouraged the agency to promote green infrastructure—roof gardens, permeable pavements and the like—that would allow more rainfall to soak directly into the ground, and sharply limit runoff volume.

However, EPA never completed the new rules and recently disclosed it was abandoning the effort. EPA had been under heavy pressure from developers not to act.

EPA announced in 2012 that it was considering options for regulating forest road runoff, and that regulation may be appropriate. However, the agency has offered no timeline for a decision.

In the lawsuit, EDC and NRDC seek a court order imposing clear deadlines for EPA to act. “We hope this suit spurs EPA to get back into the business of modernizing its whole stormwater program, which badly needs updating and could greatly benefit from new green technologies,” NRDC’s Levine said.

Read more about this issue and the lawsuit, and find the pdf of the lawsuit at Larry Levine’s blog.