New Restrictions May Affect Products Contractors Commonly Stock and Install

The roofing industry is familiar with changes brought on decades ago by international treaties that limited and then banned the use of products containing substances with measurable ozone depletion potential (ODP) — a relative measure of a substance’s contribution to the degradation of the ozone layer. The global effort to reduce emissions of ODP substances required manufacturers in the United States and Canada to phase out the use of CFCs and HCFCs in various products (example: polyisocyanurate insulation) and replace them with non-ODP alternatives. In certain instances, ODP substances were replaced by alternatives that had measurably high contributions to global warming, measured as global warming potential (GWP).

Today, under renewed efforts to combat the climate change impacts associated with the manufacture and use of products from insulation to refrigeration, U.S. state governments as well as the Government of Canada have implemented restrictions on the use of products containing certain high-GWP substances. For the roofing industry, familiar products that can contain high-GWP substances include foam adhesives, spray polyurethane foam (SPF), and extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam. In jurisdictions that restrict the use of high-GWP substances, contractors should be aware of the potential impacts that these new restrictions may have on products they commonly stock and install.

U.S and Canada: Development of HFC Policies

The effort to restrict the use of HFCs in formulations used by building material manufacturers (as well as other sectors) started in the mid-2010s as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed regulations under the Clean Air Act’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. EPA banned the use of HFCs in the affected roofing products, as well as other common end uses, by issuing SNAP Rule 20 in 2015 and Rule 21 in 2016. However, both rules were challenged and partially vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals – D.C. Circuit.

As a result of the Court’s decision on SNAP Rules 20 and 21, there is no federal requirement for manufacturers to transition away from HFC-based formulations for roofing products. Instead, states are leading the transition to the use of low-GWP blowing agent substitutes to formulate roofing products. The states have organized the U.S. Climate Alliance to coordinate on a broad set of climate related issues – including restricting the use of HFCs. (Information on the U.S. Climate Alliance is available at http://www.usclimatealliance.org/.) The Alliance has developed a model rule to guide the development of HFC restrictions at the state the level. This model rule has helped states move quickly to adopt rules to restrict HFC uses.

For example, California, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington have enacted legislation similar to what the EPA originally promulgated prohibiting the use of HFC substances in roofing products, such as foam insulation and foam adhesives and sealants. As of mid-March, at least 10 other states are considering legislation or regulations to restrict the use of HFCs.

For the Canadian roofing market, Environment and Climate Change Canada have enacted nation-wide restrictions on the use of HFC substances. As of January 1, 2021, no plastic or rigid foam product can use an HFC substance or HFC blend with a GWP greater than 150. The effect of these restrictions is that manufacturers using common HFCs will need to reformulate with new technologies or blends.

Which Products Are Impacted?

Certain roofing products like foam adhesives, one-component foam sealants, and insulation are formulated using blowing agent technologies. Blowing agents provide the final product with specific physical properties such as thermal performance or are necessary to facilitate the application process for the product. A good example of the benefits that blowing agent technologies provide is closed-cell foam insulation. In closed-cell insulation products, the blowing agents are retained within the cell structure to provide increased and long-term thermal performance.

However, different products use various technologies and not all products will be impacted by the restrictions described above. For example, polyisocyanurate insulation is manufactured with pentane (or pentane blends) as its blowing agent. Pentane is a non-ODP, low-GWP substance. Therefore, polyisocyanurate insulation is not impacted by the restrictions and roofing contractors should not expect to see changes in these products as a result of any HFC regulations. (More information on polyisocyanurate insulation products is available at https://www.polyiso.org/page/Low-GWPBlowingAgentSolution.)

Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roofing insulation is typically manufactured with HFC blends. Most SPF manufacturers have introduced new, low-GWP formulations using HFO technologies in the past several years. Roofing contractors working in states that prohibit the use of HFC-based products will need to be familiar with the available HFO-based SPF products. Similarly, low-rise foam adhesives and other foam products and sealants will be subject to the same restrictions as HFCs. (More information on spray polyurethane foam products is available at https://www.whysprayfoam.org/.)

Another common building insulation product impacted by the HFC regulations is XPS insulation, which is traditionally manufactured with HFCs. Projects that specify XPS insulation and are located within a jurisdiction that prohibits the use of HFC-based foam products will need to consult with product manufacturers to discuss the availability of low-GWP options.  

How Should Roofing Contractors Prepare?

The HFC regulations generally ban the use, sale, and installation of products that do not comply with the HFC restrictions as well as the ability to place such products into commerce. These restrictions essentially require manufacturers and product distributors to sell low-GWP formulations and require roofing contractors to ensure they are using and installing compliant products. In certain circumstances, the regulations have required some manufacturers to reformulate HFC-based products to low-GWP technology.

Roofing contractors should learn to identify products that utilize low-GWP technologies in order to ensure they are stocking and installing compliant roofing products in states with active restrictions. This will require roofing contractors to determine the answers to questions including: Where is the product being installed, and does the jurisdiction have HFC restrictions? Does the product contain HFCs? And, if yes, when was the product manufactured?

1. Install Low-GWP Products. Compliant roofing products are already available. These products include polyisocyanurate insulation as well as SPF roofing and insulation that is formulated with low-GWP technologies like HFOs. Other product manufacturers are still transitioning their product portfolios to low-GWP formulations. For the next several years, there may be SPF or foam adhesive and sealant products available in the marketplace that contain HFCs. For these products, roofing contractors should determine how to differentiate between low-GWP and HFC formulations. Product may be branded as “low-GWP” and some products will carry labels stating the product is compliant with state HFC restrictions.

2. Check Date of Manufacture. Thus far, each state with effective restrictions has included sell-through provisions that allow product manufactured prior to the restriction date to remain in commerce until they are used. Roofing contractors may still have products that use an HFC-based formulation in their supply chain. Roofing contractors that are planning to install these products in states with active restrictions should determine when the products were manufactured to ensure they can be used and installed.

3. Do Not “Import” Non-Compliant Product. Roofing contractors should closely track HFC restrictions in neighboring states. Roofing contractors that conduct business in multiple states should ensure they do not “import” non-compliant products that contain HFCs into states where their import and use is restricted.

The regulatory landscape is changing quickly. Currently, 10 states have pending legislation or regulation. The most practical recommendation for roofing contractors is to engage with their product suppliers to ensure they are aware of restrictions in the areas they conduct business.

About the authors: Justin Koscher is the president of the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA), a trade association that serves as the voice of the rigid polyisocyanurate insulation industry and a proactive advocate for safe, cost-effective, sustainable and energy-efficient construction. Stephen Wieroniey is the director at the American Chemistry Council’s Center for the Polyurethanes Industry. In his role at CPI, he also serves as the director of the Spray Foam Coalition.

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.

NCFI Polyurethanes’ Spray Foam Products Use Honeywell’s Low Global-Warming Material

Honeywell has announced that NCFI Polyurethanes has transitioned to Honeywell’s low-global-warming material for roofing applications, with wall insulation systems to follow.

NCFI is offering closed-cell polyurethane spray foam formulated with Honeywell’s Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA) in roofing products. This offering marks another milestone as NCFI transitions its engineered building products line from hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) blowing agents with high global-warming-potential (GWP) to low-GWP products. This includes converting much of its polyurethane product line to Solstice LBA encompassing integral skin and other applications in advance of environmental regulations calling for a phaseout of HFCs.

Solstice LBA, which is based on low GWP hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO) technology, is an ingredient in closed-cell foam, allowing it to expand and enabling insulating performance. Solstice LBA has a low GWP of 1, which is 99.9 percent lower than HFCs and equal to carbon dioxide.

“A part of our low-GWP commitment is to introduce HFC-free spray foam products that meet our performance standards,” states Chip Holton, president, NCFI Polyurethanes. “Not only is our internal plan for conversions to a SmartSPF line ahead of the deadlines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we also believe these spray foam products give us a competitive advantage.”

The adoption of Solstice LBA is part of how NCFI is fulfilling its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that was first publicized during a 20-company roundtable discussion held by President Obama at the White House last October. At that event, NCFI was honored for plans to transition from HFCs to low-GWP products. Honeywell was also recognized at the event during which it presented projections on the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption of the Solstice product suite. Worldwide adoption of Solstice products has resulted in the reduction of more than 31 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, equal to eliminating emissions from more than 6 million cars. 

“NCFI continues to make progress with the adoption of Solstice LBA,” says Laura Reinhard, global business manager for spray foam, Honeywell. “Not only is NCFI demonstrating environmental leadership by offering spray foam products with reduced climate impact, it is also seeing performance improvements.”

Compared to NCFI’s HFC-based insulation systems, the new systems featuring Solstice LBA deliver improvements in sprayability, consistency, and surface finish. The foam is strong and allows for walking on the roof to maintain equipment with less risk of damaging the foam.

Solstice LBA is nonflammable (ASTM E-681) and is not a volatile organic compound under applicable EPA air quality regulations. Solstice LBA is listed as an acceptable substitute for HFC blowing agents under the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program. Similarly, in Europe, Solstice LBA is regarded as non-global-warming and is not considered an F-Gas under the F-Gas regulations. It is registered under the European Union’s REACH program. Honeywell’s Solstice LBA manufacturing plant in Louisiana started up in May 2014.

ICP Adhesives & Sealants Inc. Adopts Honeywell’s Solstice GBA

Honeywell has announced that ICP Adhesives & Sealants Inc. will use Honeywell’s Solstice Gas Blowing Agent (GBA) in its Handi-Foam High Density roof repair kits.

“We are proud to be making a change that not only improves the performance of our products, but positively impacts the world,” says Stefan Gantenbein, president, ICP Adhesives & Sealants Inc. “In addition to these kits, we are transitioning to Solstice GBA in our one-component aerosol can products and will soon be introducing a low-pressure foam mining product.”

Solstice GBA is based on hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO) technology. It is a near drop-in replacement for HFC blowing agents such as HFC-134a, delivering performance with a lower climate impact.
             
“ICP’s conversion to Solstice GBA is a milestone in the global adoption of Honeywell’s low-GWP product platform,” says Laura Reinhard, global business manager for spray foam, Honeywell. “The launch by ICP demonstrates Solstice GBA’s comparable advantages for low-pressure foam applications.”

Prior versions of the Handi-Foam repair kits used HFC-134a blowing agent. According to Mojee Cline, vice-president technology, ICP Adhesives, “The switch to Solstice GBA has allowed us to achieve a compressive strength in these repair kits that match typical foam densities on roofs. This provides the toughness needed to handle foot traffic and the durability that contractors require.”

Handi-Foam roof repair kits provide thermal performance, a smooth surface that can be coated, and a shelf life of at least 12 months. They offer contractors an alternative to high-pressure spray foam for repairing foam roofs. Another feature of the new kits is Handi-Gun II, the latest in ICP’s spray gun technology, offering a variable speed trigger among other features.

Solstice GBA has low GWP of less than 1, more than 99.9 percent lower than HFCs and also lower than carbon dioxide. It is nonflammable (ASTM E-681 and EU A11) and is not a volatile organic compound per the Environmental Protection Agency. 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. Solstice GBA is registered under the European Union’s REACH program. Honeywell’s Solstice GBA manufacturing plant in Louisiana started up in May 2014.

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.

Spray Foam Features Blowing Agent with Global-warming Potential of 1

Honeywell’s spray foam roofing system formulated with Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent

Honeywell’s spray foam roofing system formulated with Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent

Honeywell’s spray foam roofing system formulated with Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent has received a severe hail rating from FM Global. The roofing system, which was developed by West Development Group, may reduce insurance premiums for building owners. Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent is a next-generation blowing agent with a global-warming potential of 1. It is nonflammable, has received EPA approval under the Significant New Alternatives Policy Program and is not a volatile organic compound.