Manufacturing and Sustainability

Whirlpool puts freeze on global warming

February 7, 2014
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Whirlpool fridge
Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool is a global maker of household appliances such as refrigerators. Photo via fb.com

Whirlpool says a new product it's using in refrigerators will have the equivalent impact of removing 400,000 cars from roadways.

The Benton Harbor-based company said the global warming potential of a foam-blowing agent from Honeywell, which it's using in its refrigerators and freezers, is 99.9 percent lower than the most common foam-blowing agent widely used within the U.S. industry, resulting in a more environmentally responsible household refrigerator.

Whirlpool is spending 2014 converting all of its U.S. manufacturing centers for the use of the more energy efficient insulation product.

“Whirlpool Corporation and Honeywell believe we have responsibility to be as proactive as we can to preserve our environment and meet the demands of our consumers,” said Joseph Liotine, president of Whirlpool U.S. operations. "By introducing this new insulation to our refrigerators, we've taken steps to reduce global warming potential — the most significant contributor to environmental impact for refrigerators — without compromising quality or the energy efficiency of our appliances.”

This is the first use of the new blowing agents in home appliances.

Whirlpool said that it has already voluntarily begun phasing out its use of hydroflurocarbons in its U.S. refrigerators and freezers.

Blowing agents such as the one developed by Honeywell allow foam insulation to expand and provide the majority of the foam's insulating properties.

EPA approved

The foam-blowing agent has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and is listed under the EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy.

The program evaluates and regulates substitutes for the ozone-depleting chemicals that are being phased out under the stratospheric ozone protection provisions of the Clean Air Act.

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