ARB Research Seminar

This page updated June 19, 2013

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Impacts in California from Insulating and Buoyancy Foams

Paul K. Ashford, Managing Director, and Arnie A. J. Vetter, Environmental Director, Caleb management Services Ltd., United Kingdom, and Assaad Zoughaib, Ph.D., Center for Energy Studies, Ecole des Mines des Paris, France

March 22, 2011
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA

Research Project


Caleb (Caleb Management Services Ltd.) and its project team undertook the development of an inventory of foams and their related blowing agents for California. The inventory provides data on greenhouse gas emissions and banks (greenhouse gases contained in existing foam, and not yet released to the atmosphere). The data and research findings will be used in support of establishing baselines and potential emission reduction approaches (if feasible and cost-effective) to meet the goals of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

The inventory involved the development of a comprehensive foam characterization requiring the following elements:

1. An understanding of the current building stock, appliance inventories and other items containing foam and related blowing agents in California by type and age profile

2. An historic picture of annual foam sales and installations in the State of California

3. An historic understanding of the blowing agents used in these foams and the timing of any transitions that may have occurred

4. A current inventory of foam processing activities being practiced in California

A number of sources were consulted including foam manufacturers, blowing agent suppliers, specifiers, users and end-of-life operators such as refrigerator recyclers, demolition contractors and waste processors.

The project focused on characterizing the populations of these groups and, by means of pre-selection, screening interviews and in-depth follow-up interviews with key sources, sought to establish the inputs required to generate a State-wide model. This was then used to assess current emissions and forecast future emissions from on-going activity and existing banks. In addition, the model was used to assess the value of a number of mitigation strategies.

Speaker Biography

Paul K. Ashford is Managing Director, Caleb Management Services Ltd, United Kingdom. Through his long-standing role as member and co-chair of the United Nation Environment Program (UNEP) Foams Technical Options Committee, Mr. Ashford has acted as the co-ordinator of the global information-gathering process on consumption, emissions and banks of foam blowing agents since 1993. He was the author of the first assessment of emissions by foam sector for AFEAS in 1998 and has since covered this subject in a succession of UNEP Reports issued by its Technology and Economics Assessment Panel. Mr. Ashford co-chaired the Task Force on Foams End-of-Life issues in 2004/5 and was Co-ordinating Lead Author for the Foams Chapter of the IPCC/TEAP Special Report on Ozone and Climate. Mr. Ashford is a leading global authority on issues surrounding the development of baselines for emissions of alternatives to ozone depleting substances (ODSs) and, in 2004, was chosen as the facilitator of Chapter 7 of the 2006 IPCC NGGI Reporting Guidelines which will form the basis of the next review of the UNFCCC Reporting Guidelines. Mr. Ashford has also acted as an advisor to the UK Government on the potential extension of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme to non-CO2 greenhouse gas projects. Mr. Ashford continues to work with a number of carbon finance companies and project developers in the development and evaluation of project methodologies and is an advisor to private clients on minimising their carbon footprints and selecting appropriate carbon offset strategies.

Arnie A. J. Vetter is Environmental Director, Caleb Management Services Ltd, United Kingdom. Mr. Vetter is an experienced project manager who has led a number of high profile projects in corporate research and in environmental arenas. Major studies completed include supply-chain characterisation programs in the US steel sector; a 12 country European study on pharmaceutical distribution; a 8 country European study on heat-network infrastructure, a multi-stakeholder partnership project to develop small business environmental outreach products & services and a multi-regional project to implement econometric modelling approaches to support regional government sustainability policy formulation. Mr. Vetter has also authored a number of studies focusing on the construction sector, particularly in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC). These include the evaluation of low carbon buildings refurbishment strategies and their relevance to energy supply/demand balances in CEEC economies. Mr. Vetter supports organizations in the construction supply-chain in evaluating the sustainability footprints of their product portfolios and assists them in developing energy resilience strategies.

Assad Zoughaib, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor, Center for Energy Studies, Ecole des Mines des Paris, France. Dr. Zoughaib is a project leader at CEP, he is involved in research focusing on energy efficiency of industrial processes and assessment of environmental impacts. He was involved in several European projects dealing with waste treatment, e.g. Sustools and Methodex. At the international level, Assaad contributed to the project of global refrigerants inventories derivation that was co funded by ADEME and GGEEC. On the French side, Dr. Zoughaib developed a model to derive the national inventories of foaming agent's emissions (FIEP) used by the French Ministry of Environement. Dr. Assaad received a Ph.D. in Energy Studies from the Ecole des Mines.

For a complete listing of the ARB Research Seminars and the related documentation
for the seminars please view the Main Seminars web page