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Insulation Stakeholders Release Policy Principles for Reducing Carbon Emissions from Buildings

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Matthew Kastner
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WASHINGTON, DC (May 5, 2022) — Today insulation stakeholders from eight associations released policy principles to reduce carbon emissions and maximize energy efficiency in buildings. These principles should form the bedrock in the development of greenhouse gas (GHG) policy for buildings, often referred to as “Buy Clean” policies.

The foundation of these principles is guided by one overarching goal: holistically reducing the carbon footprint of buildings. Building insulation helps achieve that by reducing the energy needed to heat and cool buildings. Any policy on building insulation must consider the carbon savings insulation provides over its lifetime, coupled with the goal to reduce the carbon associated with the manufacture of building insulation.

In other words, an insulation’s carbon footprint from the manufacturing process by itself should not result in deselection if it provides superior carbon savings over its decades long use in a building. Prescriptive deselection policies lacking fuller analysis risk ultimately exacerbating climate change by increasing GHG emissions from buildings long term.

“Lately polymer-based insulations have become a misguided target for deselection by cities, states and even the federal government,” said Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council. “These policies unfortunately ignore the chemistry innovations in use today that are simultaneously reducing the carbon footprint of buildings and the insulation’s manufacturing emissions. For example, DuPont recently reformulated the blowing agent of a spray foam, reducing its emissions over 99%, and BASF created the first isocyanate used in the construction industry with a cradle-to-gate product carbon footprint of zero.”

In addition, these policy principles encourage the federal government to adopt building performance standards to help prioritize investment in insulation retrofits and upgrades, and to harmonize the metrics used to appropriately compare carbon footprints across building insulation materials, among other recommendations.

The building insulation policy principles can be viewed here. For more information, please contact Amy Schmidt at Amy_Schmidt@americanchemistry.com.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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