Whirlpool Corp. has begun using Honeywell's Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA) in insulation for U.S.-made refrigerators and freezers.
The global warming potential (GWP) of the new foam blowing agent is 99.9% lower than that of HFC-245fa, the most common foam blowing agent used in the U.S. appliance industry. Conversion of all Whirlpool U.S. manufacturing centers is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014. Whirlpool said the impact to the global warming effect will be the equivalent of removing more than 400,000 cars from the road (Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Emissions Equivalency Calendar and company calculations of a total CO2 reduction).
"By introducing this new insulation to our refrigerators, we've taken steps to reduce global warming potential, the most significant contributor to environmental impact for refrigerators without compromising quality or the energy efficiency of our appliances," said Joseph Liotine, president of Whirlpool U.S. operations.
Whirlpool Corp. said it is the world's first home appliance manufacturer to begin implementing the use of the blowing agent in foam insulation. The company has already voluntarily begun phasing out its use of hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) in U.S. refrigerators and freezers.
Blowing agents are used to foam the polyurethane used in the cabinets of most residential cold appliances. The foaming agent expands the material to provide structural strength to the cabinet and, importantly, to provide insulative properties that enhance the overall energy efficiency of the appliance.
The Solstice LBA has a GWP of 1, the same as carbon dioxide, and is non-ozone-depleting. The foam blowing agent has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is listed under the EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP).
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