SPFA Publishes Updated LCA & EPD


Julie Fornaro

Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance Publishes Updates to ISO-Compliant Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Product Declarations for Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation and Roofing

Fairfax, VA (November 6, 2018) – The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), the educational and technical resource to the Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) industry, today announced the completion of a 5-year update to its ISO-compliant Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for three generic Spray Polyurethane Foam product formulations that include open-cell, closed-cell and roofing foams. Completed in conjunction with thinkstep (formerly PE International), the 2018 updates also include a fourth product type: low-pressure two-component closed-cell insulation and sealant foams. Additionally, two, rather than one, separate EPDs have been published, aligning with the Spray Polyurethane Foam industry’s move toward the integration of blowing agents with low Global Warming Potential (GWP).

“In 2013, SPFA was the first trade association to develop and publish an industry-wide, ISO-compliant Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Product Declaration for Spray Polyurethane Foam,” said Rick Duncan, technical director of the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance. “This current update is key for the industry as it both brings our LCA and EPDs current and addresses a major shift within our industry toward more environmentally sound blowing agents, which dramatically reduce negative impacts to the Earth and climate.” 

Working in conjunction with thinkstep, and their GaBI database, the SPFA’s initial 2013 LCA project effort included SPF products in three categories: open-cell low-density insulation, closed-cell medium-density insulation, and roofing foams. Current updates completed by SPFA and thinkstep align with ISO requirements and include the mandatory 5-year update to the LCA and EPD documents. This update, compliant with the new 2018 Insulation Product Category Rule (PCR), includes the original product types, as well as some new additions including the fourth product type representing low-pressure two-component closed-cell insulation and sealant foams. 

In addition, as the industry transitions to low-GWP blowing agents, two separate EPDs have been completed. One EPD includes HFC-based blowing agents for closed-cell foams, while the second EPD includes HFO-based (low-GWP) blowing agents.  Compliant with the new PCR requirements, an appendix in each EPD will include a list of participating manufacturers and applicable products. 

The EPDs, which utilize the results of the LCA, allow spray polyurethane foam contractors to assist sustainable building designers in obtaining proper credit among leading sustainable building programs for spray foam insulation and roofing materials use. These programs include the US Green Building Council’s LEED4 program, the International Green Construction Code, and GreenGlobes, to name a few.  For example, the current LEED4 program enables a building design to earn ¼ point for using products that have an LCA; ½ point for products with a generic EPD (such as the one from SPFA), and 1 point for products using a product-specific EPD from a material supplier. 

The EPDs can also be used as general supporting information for customers wanting to use ‘green’ products. 

Both the newly updated LCA, as well as the original LCA report, are available on the SPFA website. The first new EPD including open-cell SPF and closed-cell, roofing and low-pressure SPF using HFC blowing agents can be found at https://www.astm.org/CERTIFICATION/DOCS/414.EPD_for_SPFA-EPD-20181029-HFC.pdf. The second new EPD including open-cell SPF and closed-cell, roofing and low-pressure SPF using low-GWP HFO blowing agents can be found at https://www.astm.org/CERTIFICATION/DOCS/415.EPD_for_SPFA-EPD-20181029-HFO.pdf.

About Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA)

Founded in 1987, the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) is the voice, and educational and technical resource for the spray polyurethane foam industry. The Alliance is a 501(c)6 trade association comprised of contractors, manufacturers, and distributors of polyurethane foam, related equipment, and protective coatings, inspections, surface preparations, and other services. The organization supports the best practices and the growth of the industry through a number of core initiatives, including educational programs and events; the SPFA ISO-17024 Professional Certification Program providing professionals with the tools to differentiate themselves from competition and a reference for customers looking to hire qualified contractor services; technical services covering publication of literature and guidelines, safety materials, and representation of the industry with various construction code bodies; federal and state advocacy; industry promotion efforts including an annual convention and expo drawing 1,400 SPF professionals, publication of Sprayfoam Professional Magazine; and research and networking opportunities for members.

About thinkstep

thinkstep enables organizations worldwide to succeed sustainably. With a global presence, thinkstep serves more than 8,000 companies, including more than 45 percent of the top publicly traded companies. thinkstep’s industry-leading software, data and consulting help companies move from wherever they are in their sustainability journey to where they want to be. thinkstep works with all industry sectors, including but not limited to, green building and construction, metals and mining, electronics, agriculture, packaging, automotive & mobility, oil & gas, green energy and cities. thinkstep is on the forefront of helping organizations reach their sustainability targets, including Science Based Targets (SBT), Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and other forms of carbon and materiality footprinting. For more information, visit www.thinkstep.com.

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SPFA believes that the path to a healthful, safe, high-quality and performing SPF installation travels through the hands of a knowledgeable, trained, experienced, and ideally PCP-certified professional contractor.