Product Review

New Blowing Agents Revolutionize XPS Industry

Due to regulatory changes in Canada and certain U.S. states, manufacturers will be offering XPS with low global warming potential starting in 2021.

BuildingGreen’s 2010 article Avoiding the Global Warming Impact of Insulation caused quite a stir in the industry by positing that it can take decades to “pay back” the greenhouse gases contained in extruded polystyrene insulation. That’s because despite XPS’s excellent thermal performance, its primary blowing agent, HFC-134a, has a 100-year global warming potential 1,300 times greater than that of CO2 (according to the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

But the industry is finally moving away from using HFC-134a. Due to regulatory efforts in Canada and some U.S. states, XPS manufacturers have been forced to create low-global-warming-potential (GWP) versions of their XPS board insulations. It’s a win for the environment. Here’s what it means for design teams in North America.

Originally published November 24, 2020 Reviewed December 7, 2020

Ehrlich, B. (2020, December 7). New Blowing Agents Revolutionize XPS Industry . Retrieved from