Bayer and Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance collaboration: Life Cycle Assessment quantifies benefits of spray polyurethane foam insulation in residential and commercial buildings

Atlanta, September 24, 2012 — Now more than ever, the building and construction industry is considering the sustainability of the materials used in residential and commercial structures. A life cycle assessment (LCA) of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation is a useful approach that improves the understanding of environmental impacts across its life cycle and, in doing so, demonstrates its many benefits.

The first comprehensive LCA of spray foam insulation in North America is detailed in a technical paper authored by representatives of Bayer MaterialScience LLC and the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA). "Life Cycle Assessment of Spray Foam Insulation for Residential and Commercial Building Applications" will be presented at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25, as part of the Sustainability: Polyurethanes and the Future session during the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry's 2012 Polyurethane Technical Conference in Atlanta. Authors are Richard Duncan, technical director, SPFA; George Pavlovich, product sustainability and LCA manager, Bayer MaterialScience LLC; and Shen Tian, life cycle assessment engineer, Bayer MaterialScience LLC.

The LCA study was conducted in two parts to determine the environmental impacts of all spray foam life cycle phases. In the embodied phases study, the authors wanted to gain an understanding of the environmental impacts of SPF from cradle-to-end-of-life excluding the use phase according to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14040/14044 standards. During the use phase study, whole building energy simulations were conducted to evaluate the energy savings of using SPF in a building.

The authors demonstrated that the energy savings and environmental impacts avoided in the use phase far outweigh the energy and environmental impacts associated with making, installing, transporting and disposing the spray foam at end of life. The LCA was independently peer reviewed according to the requirements of the ISO standards, and covered both open and closed cell spray foam. In addition to energy resource depletion, environmental impacts included climate change, acidification, ozone depletion, eutrophication, and smog creation. Based on the scenarios studied, it also was determined that SPF has relatively greater energy/environmental benefits when more electricity is used to heat a building versus natural gas, since environmental impacts associated with delivering the same amount of energy are relatively greater for electricity compared to natural gas.

About Bayer MaterialScience LLC:

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,800 employees at 30 production sites around the world and 2011 sales of 10.8 billion euros. Bayer MaterialScience's 2011 sales in North America were $2.9 billion. The company manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries. Sustainability is central to Bayer MaterialScience LLC's business and is based around the key areas of innovation, product stewardship, excellence in corporate management, social responsibility and respect for the environment.


Sean Kelly, Phone: 412-777-5200

For more information about Bayer MaterialScience LLC's polyurethanes, call 412-777-7454 or visit

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