The Dow Chemical Company announced March 18 that it has succeeded in converting its first facility that manufactures STYROFOAM Brand Insulation in Dalton, Ga., to its new zero ozone-depleting, no-VOC (volatile organic compound) foaming agent technology. The building industry has been watching closely to see when manufacturers will convert and how quickly they will be able to get new product into the supply chain. With Dow's Dalton facility expected to begin shipments by the end of March, and other plants to follow in sequence throughout the year, Dow is well-positioned to complete conversion of its plants in advance of the Montreal Protocol deadline.

 

"Whenever you change the formulation for a trusted and proven brand like ours, absolutely no compromise on performance can be tolerated," said Torsten Kraef, vice president and general manager, Dow Building Solutions. "With our tests completed and our ICC-ES report now in hand, we are following through on the commitment we made a little over a year ago to our customers – that the best and broadest portfolio of extruded polystyrene foam solutions in the industry will continue to be available after the Montreal Protocol deadline."

 

The Montreal Protocol requires the phase-out of the hydrochloro-fluorocarbon (HCFC) 142b, an ozone-depleting compound by January 1, 2010. Dow developed its next-generation foaming agent technology well in advance of the Montreal Protocol and U.S. EPA guidelines, and is on track to convert its facilities in accordance with the Montreal Protocol. Dow's new proprietary technology delivers the same STYROFOAM Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Foam Insulation R-5/inch insulation value, moisture resistance and compressive strength that builders have trusted for more than 60 years, and offers an even "greener" choice to builders designing energy efficient homes and buildings with rigid foam insulation.

 

"STYROFOAM XPS Foam Insulation with our new foaming agent technology is exactly the right product at the exactly the right time," noted Kraef. "The new U.S. Administration has put energy efficiency front-and-center. It is clear that we must stop the tremendous waste of energy and money spent operating poorly insulated homes, offices, schools and government buildings. That means building right the first time – with products that perform as well today as they do 60-plus years from now."

 

Sustainable Innovation

The proprietary foaming agent technology was developed by a team led by Dow's Simon P. Lee, who was recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for his contribution to the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. The no-VOC and zero ozone-depleting foaming agent technology isn't the only way that the STYROFOAM Brand Insulation produced at the Dalton facility contributes to a more sustainable environment. Here are a few more facts:

·        The manufacture of extruded polystyrene foam insulation at the Dalton facility relies on methane gas from a nearby landfill to reduce the amount of fossil fuels typically consumed during production.

·        When properly installed in buildings, production capacity at Dalton of STYROFOAM brand insulation could save CO2 emissions equivalent to:

o   Planting 700,000,000 trees

o   Taking 83,000 cars off the road for a year

o   Reducing vehicle travel by 1.4 trillion miles, or more than 56 million trips around the world

o   Saving approximately 70 billion gallons of gasoline or U.S. $140 billion

·        The new technology has not affected Dow's ability to recycle scrap STYROFOAM XPS Foam Insulation back into the production line either – just as its plants have for many years.