In October, 170 countries agreed to phase in strict limits on the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a common type of refrigerant and a major greenhouse gas. Builders will have to adjust.
Green Building Advisor reports that HFCs are used in air conditioners and heat pumps, and as blowing agents for extruded polystyrene insulation.
The phase out begins in 2019, and makers of extruded polystyrene insulation don’t expect to forgo HFCs until 2021.
A conversion to other chemicals for making insulation is already in the works in both the U.S. and Europe. The most likely replacement looks like hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs). They have a global warming potential of less than 1 and could be used in both spray polyurethane and XPS. Manufacturers still need to solve a few technical issues related to the conversion.