F-gas regulations: What does this mean for XPS?

As part of an effort to battle climate change, the looming F-gas ban has forced makers of extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation to produce eco-friendly alternatives.

In January 2015, the European Union announced a new regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases, which are used to produce extruded polystyrene as an attempt to reduce the environmental impact.

By 2020 the EU aims to ban all new equipment using HFC refrigerants and by 2030 reduce F-gas emissions by two-thirds, compared with 2014 figures.

Styrofoam was formerly produced with an HFC-134a blowing agent in order to achieve a high long-term thermal performance.

To prepare for the upcoming restrictions, Dow Chemical has developed a new product, XENERGY, which was first offered into the market in the second quarter of 2018.

The new dark grey material has the same mechanical properties as the Blue Styrofoam LBHX but incorporates infrared blockers to improve thermal performance by up to 11%.

A spokesperson from Panel Systems, said that although customers may see a slight price rise, improved thermal performance will result in less material being required to achieve the same thermal resistance.

The material’s ozone depletion potential (ODP) remains at zero but the global warming potential (GWP) of this new product has a figure less than five, whereas the GWP values of many HFCs or HCFCs are commonly in the thousands.

“It’s that critical figure that helps the new material gain its environmental credentials,” said the spokesman.

“This will help building designers meet increasingly stringent energy efficiency and sustainability demands.

“Customers will still be getting the same mechanical and physical performance but with the new lower thermal conductivity value of 0.031 W/m.K.

“It’s a great new product that is in line with the regulation and changes. We are pleased to support and offer this new material in to the market as one of the largest fabricators of XPS in Europe.”

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