News Analysis

Spray Foam with Minimal Global Warming Impact Now Available

U.S. production of next-generation HFO blowing agents signals a positive shift in the spray polyurethane foam (SPF) market.

Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a widely preferred high-performance product due to its impressive insulating value and air-sealing properties—yet the high global warming potential (GWP) of the standard SPF blowing agent (HFC-245fa) has seriously compromised its environmental performance. Now SPF manufacturers are adopting newly developed blowing agents known as HFOs (hydrofluoroolefins) that have minimal GWP—and they even claim a boost in R-value.

Honeywell announced it has started production of both its low-GWP Solstice blowing agents at its Baton Rouge, Louisiana facility. HFOs are considered the “fourth-generation” blowing agents, with a 100-year GWP of only 1 (equal to that of carbon dioxide). Its availability signals a shift in the industry away from third-generation HFCs (see Avoiding the Global Warming Impact of Insulation), which have GWPs over 1,000 and are currently used in closed-cell SPF. (HFCs continue to be used in extruded polystyrene for now.)

Published January 23, 2015