On January 1, 2021, Canada and several U.S. states enacted stringent new environmental regulations to address concerns about high-Global Warming Potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) blowing agents. With this change, sustainability and smart material performance are coming together in FOAMULAR® NGX™ (Next Generation Extruded) insulation. Developed by Owens Corning, the latest innovation in extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation contains a proprietary blowing agent that completely eliminates HFC 134a. FOAMULAR® NGX™ delivers a 90% reduction in blowing agent GWP compared to legacy FOAMULAR® insulation and is optimized to demonstrate a greater than 80% reduction in embodied carbon.
Sustainability and Performance
Owens Corning’s efforts to achieve a higher level of sustainability in rigid foam building materials predate this latest regulatory moment. More than six years of research and development and the evaluation of over 100 blowing agent formulations support the introduction of FOAMULAR® NGX™. In developing the new insulation, research and development teams sought to reduce the blowing agent’s GWP without sacrificing the material’s many performance attributes including high R-value per inch, a wide range of compressive strengths, superior moisture resistance and durability.
Manufactured with patented Hydrovac® technology, FOAMULAR® NGX™ is highly resistant to moisture and retains its high R-value even after prolonged exposure to moisture and freeze/thaw cycling. FOAMULAR® NGX™ is available in many compressive strengths, up to 100 psi, and is well suited to applications across the enclosure, from load-bearing vegetative roofs and foundational supports to wall assemblies. And as a further measure of confidence, FOAMULAR® NGX™ is the only XPS on the market with a limited lifetime warranty guaranteeing a minimum 90% of R-value for the life of the product.
Environmental Product Declaration Qualifies for Option 2 Optimization Credit in LEED 4.1
The sustainability profile of FOAMULAR® NGX™ is validated by a third-party verified Environmental Product Declaration and Optimization Report. A greater than 80% reduction in GWP qualifies FOAMULAR® NGX™ as 1.5 products towards LEED 4.1 points for Options 1 and 2 under the Materials and Resources: Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) – a feat achieved by very few building products. As a widely recognized standard of sustainability, the EPD can provide even more incentives to integrate sustainability features into the commercial enclosure, such as vegetative roof assemblies or below-grade use. Specifying and installing FOAMULAR® NGX™ can help builders achieve U.S. green building program certifications including LEED, the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR®, and the National Home Builders’ National Green Building Standard ICC 700-2008.
The manufacturing process and material content of FOAMULAR® NGX™ also support sustainability. Manufactured with 100% wind electricity, FOAMULAR® NGX™ is GREENGUARD Gold certified, reusable, and certified by Scientific Certification Systems to contain a minimum of 20% recycled polystyrene.
GWP Reductions in Context
The potential for this innovation to reduce environmental pressure on the planet can be more fully appreciated when viewed through the lens of more commonly discussed energy metrics.
Owens Corning’s sustainability team used an environmental calculator to evaluate how switching from a competitive XPS product could reduce GWP. The reduction potential is dramatic. For every 1 million board feet (BFT) of FOAMULAR® NGX™ consumed versus the leading competitor, CO2 levels are reduced by 6,966 metric tons on average.1 To put the savings in context, that’s like taking 1,500 cars off the road for a year.2
FOAMULAR® NGX™ is Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Listed and Factory Mutual (FM) approved. Retaining its same, iconic Pink® color, FOAMULAR® NGX™ is now available to order in all U.S. states and Canada.
More information and an interactive map that tracks state-by-state environmental regulations to lower the GWP levels of blowing agents is available on the Owens Corning FOAMULAR® NGX™ resource page.
- UL Environment. October 2014. Environmental Product Declaration Number 4786548101.101.1. DOW Building Solutions: STYROFOAM™ Insulation.
- EPA. March 2020. Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator
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