Insulation Stakeholders Release Policy Principles for Reducing Carbon Emissions from Buildings
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.