New Refrigerators Could Help Planet Stay Cooler
Refrigerators keep our food cold, but foam insulation that boosts their efficiency paradoxically contributes to global warming: the chemicals typically used as blowing agents to make this insulation can have. Whirlpool Corporation will start producing refrigerators that use insulation with reduced climate impact in 2013.
Touting it as “the most environmentally responsible insulation available,” the company announced that Maytag, Amana, Jenn-Air, and KitchenAid brands will all use the newer material.
Whirlpool has partnered with Honeywell, manufacturer of the—a hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) developed specifically to address global warming concerns. Solstice has a GWP between 4.7 and 7.0 (meaning it is 4.7 to 7 times as potent as CO2), which is roughly 99% lower than the HFC-245fa in use today. Like HFC-245fa, it has zero ozone depletion potential. Honeywell and Whirlpool claim the new HFO blowing agent also offers a modest 2% improvement in the insulation’s energy performance.
Like the blowing agents they replace, HFOs break down into chemicals that persist in the environment, including trifluoroacetic acid (TFA). Despite its persistence, TFA is not known to pose a significant toxicity risk in quantities typically found in the environment.
For more information:
Melton, P. (2012, August 20). New Refrigerators Could Help Planet Stay Cooler. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/newsbrief/new-refrigerators-could-help-planet-stay-cooler