MOUNT AIRY, N.C.—NCFI Polyurethanes is increasing its aggressive efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in its offerings after being honored for its commitment to manufacturing low Global Warming Potential products.
A producer of flexible polyurethane foams and urethane spray foams, the company earned a trip to the White House in mid-October and a seat at exclusive 20-company roundtable sessions dealing with lowering hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs), thanks to its extensive program aimed at cutting greenhouse gases.
NCFI, a member of the Barnhardt Manufacturing Co. group, impressed government agencies with its commitment and progress in converting its entire engineered building products line from high HFCs to low GWP goods, the firm said.
HFCs are factory produced chemicals that primarily are used in air conditioning, refrigeration and foam insulation. They can be up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change, according to NCFI, which operates plants in Mount Airy; Hickory, N.C.; Dalton, Ga.; and Salt Lake City.
“Our reputation as the industry leader in sustainable products and processes caught the eye of the White House,” according to NCFI President Chip Holton. “We were one of 20 companies like Dow, Johnson Controls, Honeywell and Target leading the charge in reducing HFCs.”
The first meeting was held Oct. 15 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building while the second was at the Department of Labor, a spokeswoman said.
Following the sessions, Holton noted it recently completed the formulation of roofing foams to use low GWP blowing agents. And it will complete the formulation of open- and closed-cell polyurethane foam wall spray with climate friendly blowing agents in the fourth quarter, he said.
Looking further ahead, he said NCFI plans to complete the transition to low-GWP custom formulated product foams—including taxidermy, automobile, marine and medical— by the end of 2016. In addition, it plans to complete the formulation for rigid molding and integral skin foams in the same time period, he said.
NCFI will continue to make regular updates with the EPA and the White House on those efforts, the spokeswoman said.
The Mount Airy-based firm's commitment to sustainability and good corporate stewardship is deeply rooted in the firm's culture, Holton said.
It was awarded the U.S. EPA Montreal Protocol Award in 2004 for its contributions to the protection of the Earth's ozone layer, he noted. And being selected by the White House for its work in lowering HFCs in its products “is an honor and a validation of our efforts,” he added.
According to Holton, the roundtable discussions were led by Ernest Moniz, secretary of energy; Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator; John Conger, assistant secretary of defense; and Dan Utech, assistant to the president for energy and climate change. They focused on President Obama's Climate Action Plan and the EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy program.
“We've been working on becoming low GWP for awhile now—long before these programs—and we will be converted to low GWP far ahead of the deadlines found in the new rules,” Holton said. “We had a chance to share why and how we're aggressively going about these changes with the Obama administration and some of the largest companies in the U.S.
“It's good to see our efforts elevated to the example of what others in our industry can be doing to meet these important goals.”
Efforts to lower greenhouse gases has been going on for the past five administrations and likely will remain a continuing trend for future administrations, the spokeswoman said. Rules being enacted are issued by the EPA and codified so as not to be susceptible to drastic change by future politically motivated administrations, she said.