Life doesn’t always go as planned.
Sometimes our situation changes, and we have to adapt to new conditions.
Sometimes, those new conditions are for our own good - and the good of our amazing planet - but they can feel like a dumpster fire.
A dumpster fire of DOOM!
…Okay, hold on there, buckaroo.
Things are not as bad as all that.
Really. They’re not.
After what we have all been through the last year and a half? Nah!
Changes in environmental guidelines won’t keep us down!
Working toward a more sustainable future is challenging and ever-changing, regardless of one’s industry.
The spray foam insulation industry is no exception.
Legislators are enacting regulations to push the industry toward a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly future.
Several state governments have already put new regulations into place that directly affect the individual spray foam contractors in their state. Other states will follow.
While this can be annoying, it’s good to keep in mind that the spray foam industry would be nothing without scientific advancement.
Chemistry is the backbone of this industry, after all - not to mention the mechanical genius required to build a spray foam machine! (*Straightens jacket with a sniff.*)
The point is, we will evolve with the times and make better foam for the future!
Even if you don’t live in a state that has already implemented new requirements for spray foam contractors, it is a good idea to understand the changes that are likely to come.
Best to be prepared if you can, right?
These legislative changes, while environmentally positive, are not always user-friendly.
If you are finding the details of the HFC-to-HFO transition difficult to navigate, let us help!
Spray Foam Equipment & Manufacturing is here to support you through this transition - and beyond.
First, we will examine why changes have been made to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.
WHAT ARE OZONE DEPLETION AND GLOBAL WARMING POTENTIALS?
Understanding the environmental impact of any given man-made chemical takes years of research.
As a society, we are constantly striving to produce better, less impactful variants of traditional chemicals that have proven harmful to the environment.
The main route through which these advancements are put into practice is legislation.
Although navigating regulation changes can be frustrating - and often involve growing pains - the overall goal is to maintain our planet to the best of our ability.
With this in mind, it is crucial to keep up-to-date with the regulations in your area.
The EPA has released new guidelines for spray foam insulation, which pinpoints the chemicals used in spray foam’s blowing agent or “propellant.” These guidelines are based on two areas of environmental influence: Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and Global Warming Potential (GWP).
Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) measures a chemical’s impact on the ozone layer in Earth’s stratosphere. (A deteriorating ozone layer is closely linked to some skin-related cancers and many more health issues. Visit the EPA’s website for more information about how ozone depletion affects life on Earth.)
Global Warming Potential (GWP) is, essentially, a measure of a chemical’s greenhouse gas effect. (To learn more about the complex web of climate-change-related effects on humanity - and what we can still do to combat it - visit NASA’s Climate Change Website.)
So, which chemicals in spray foam insulation are impacting the environment?
But mostly hydrofluorocarbons.
We know - science sounds complicated! Don’t panic.
To understand hydrofluorocarbons - or HFCs (there, that’s better!) - we need to examine why we created HFCs, to begin with.
Chlorofluorocarbons - or CFCs - and hydrochlorofluorocarbons - or HCFCs - are the predecessors of HFCs.
CFCs and HCFCs are referred to as “second-generation” refrigerants and propellants. They were initially formulated to replace harsher, “first-generation” chemicals - like ammonia - in household and commercial products.
Although CFCs and HCFCs were efficient, their use has largely been discontinued because of their negative impact on the ozone layer.
In response to the discovery of ozone depletion, third-generation refrigerants/propellants called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were created. Since there is no chlorine present in the chemical formula of HFCs, their ODP (ozone depletion potential) is zero. (Win!)
The removal of CFCs and HCFCs from daily use has been beneficial for the ozone layer, which has begun to repair itself and is recovering from the damage these chemicals caused. (Win again! See what can happen when we work together!?)
WHAT CHANGES ARE BEING MADE NOW?
Although the ODP of HFCs is zero, it has come to scientists’ attention that HFCs - which are currently used as the blowing agent in most spray foam insulations - have a high Global Warming Potential (GWP).
Therefore, the EPA has developed new guidelines (via the Significant New Alternatives Program, or SNAP) to decrease HFCs' greenhouse gas emissions. These guidelines call for the formation and implementation of a fourth generation of refrigerants/propellants.
Luckily, Honeywell (Solstice) and Chemours (Opteon) have already formulated this fourth generation of refrigerants/propellants! Introducing…drumroll, please…hydrofluroolefins (or HFOs)!
HFOs have an ODP of zero, like their HFC predecessors, and also have a very low GWP. (Double-win!)
While the transition from HFCs to HFOs is positive for the environment, there will be some growing pains within the spray foam industry, especially during COVID-induced spray foam shortages.
Unfortunately, change is seldom easy.
But Spray Foam Equipment & Manufacturing is here to help you through the transition!
Do you live in a state that has already implemented the new EPA guidelines?
WHICH STATES HAVE IMPLEMENTED THE NEW EPA GUIDELINES?
The power to carry out the new EPA guidelines regarding the transition from HFCs to HFOs is held at the state level, and some states have already changed their HFC regulations.
As of the time this blog was written (June 2021), seven states have implemented new EPA guidelines, effective January 1, 2021: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Washington.
Maryland (July 1, 2021), Delaware (Sept 1, 2021), Maine (Jan 1, 2022), and Virginia (Jan 1, 2022) have also passed new regulations regarding HFCs, effective soon (dates in parentheses).
Several more states, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Texas, are currently moving new restrictions through their state governments.
To stay up to date with your state’s regulations regarding HFCs, visit the American Chemistry Council’s interactive map and check your state’s government website.
If you’re still unsure whether your state has implemented regulation changes, call us!
Spray Foam Equipment & Manufacturing is always here to help!
HOW WILL SPRAY FOAM EQUIPMENT & MANUFACTURING HELP YOU THROUGH THIS TRANSITION?
In many ways, these are unprecedented times.
There’s no point in beating around the bush - it is difficult to find the spray foam materials that contractors need to support their businesses right now, regardless of HFC-to-HFO guidelines.
Spray Foam Equipment & Manufacturing is not just here to build the best spray foam equipment on the market. We are also here to help you find the spray foam materials you need to use that BOSS equipment!
We talk to multiple spray foam manufacturers daily and distribute weekly foam shipments across the United States.
But we don’t stop there.
We follow your state’s HFC/HFO guidelines for you and will only deliver foam to you that is compliant with your state’s policies.
This is just another way that Spray Foam Equipment & Manufacturing helps to keep you spraying!
If you would like to be on our foam customer list, reach out to us! We will do everything we can to get foam to you.
In the meantime, one of the best things you can do to keep your business alive in these trying times is to niche down.
HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR NICHE?
One of the best ways you can prepare your business for navigating these difficult times is to find a viable niche.
Think outside the box! Spray foam can do so much more than insulate homes (although it’s really good at that)!
Maybe you want to specialize in concrete lifting. Spray foam can increase the lifespan of aging concrete nearly anywhere!
Do you prefer to market your business at the docks? Spray foam can help with boat or dock flotation, filling essential spaces with floatation material that would otherwise be dead space.
Perhaps you live in an area with lots of old mine shafts or oil wells that need to be filled for the safety of the public. That’s right - spray foam can save lives!
There are countless applications for spray foam insulation and polyurea.
Use this time to brainstorm, and let us help you with the rest.
Where do you want to take your business in the future?
How can you best fill a niche where you live?
Whatever the case may be, Spray Foam Equipment & Manufacturing can help you get there!
Reach out to us if you have any questions!
We are currently working on the spray foam front to do the same things for spray foam insulation that we do for spray foam equipment - removing the middle-men and bringing you materials factory-direct!
We know that emerging scientific research and related legislation can be confusing.
Not everyone is a scientist or a lawyer or a politician.
You’re a spray foam contractor, man! You don’t have time to keep up with all of that stuff!
And Spray Foam Equipment & Manufacturing is here for you.
We follow the changes in EPA guidelines so you can keep working.
We keep our ear out for changes in regulation so that you can keep on keeping on.
We work to keep you spraying foam!
Because that’s what you do.
We know that foam materials are difficult to come by right now - but we still have your back.
If you need spray foam, let us know. We will do our very best to keep you supplied!
Together, we will navigate this transition and usher in a brighter future.
If you have any questions, give us a call. We are here for you!
Until next time, SPRAY ON!
- The Team at BOSS