Eco-Friendly Trailer Insulation Helps Turn the Tide on Transport Emissions

ETT Online Climacore Eco Friendly Insulation

Great Dane's Climacore Eco Friendly InsulationGreat Dane recently switched to a more sustainable foam that helps fleets cut their carbon footprint. Sometimes, all it takes is a small change to make a big wave in reducing the environmental footprint of refrigerated transport—and that’s exactly the case when it comes to Great Dane incorporating a new-generation Polyurethane foam technology into its refrigerated trailer insulation.

Foam insulation contains blowing agents, which are substances that provide a higher insulation value in a foam. These blowing agents are a crucial part of the insulation process, as the tiny bubbles create trap gas and slow the movement of heat transfer.

However, over the lifespan of a trailer, conventional insulation materials have been known to deteriorate, releasing their blowing agents into the air. The result is heat trapped in our atmosphere, contributing to global warming in a big way. Although, the latest insulation technology helps to address this issue.

HFC and HFO Blowing Agents: What’s the Difference?

Historically, HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) have been a top choice as blowing agents because the combination of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon that make up HFCs is particularly good at rapidly expanding to create a foam with high insulative properties. Unfortunately, HFCs also contribute to amplifying infrared light when released into the atmosphere, a property known for intensifying global warming.

In fact, according to the Climate & Clean Air Coalition global partnership, the impact of HFCs on global warming can be hundreds to thousands of times greater than that of CO2 per unit of mass. This has caused the EPA to propose rulemaking to manage the use of HFCs in certain products and equipment.

The newest generation of Polyurethane foam swaps HFC-type for HFO (hydrofluoroolefin)-type blowing agents. HFOs are also made of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon but use a different combination of these elements, making them more environmentally friendly than HFCs.

HFCs are currently restricted in several U.S. states and all Canadian provinces, while HFOs are compliant with current regulations in all U.S. states and Canada.

The Benefits to Fleets

Great Dane’s initiative to embrace HFO-based insulation in its Everest refrigerated trailers means fleets running this equipment can operate with a much lower carbon footprint without having to lift a finger.

“HFO-type blowing agents generate much fewer carbon equivalent emissions than HFC-type. In a 53F refrigerated trailer, using HFO-based insulation can save approximately 30MT/year of carbon equivalent emissions vs. using HFC. This translates to carbon emissions caused by more than 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel usage per year.”

— Chris Lee, Great Dane Vice President of Engineering

There are virtually no drawbacks to switching from HFC to HFO. HFO-based foam still provides excellent insulative properties, and great insulation means the fleet can reduce operational costs and minimize overall environmental impact.

The adoption of HFO-based insulation illustrates Great Dane’s commitment to sustainability while providing excellent value to its customers.

Beyond Insulation: Great Dane’s Thermal Technology Redefines Performance

Insulation is just a part of Great Dane’s total thermal package. Underneath the surface of the innovative sidewall technology is where every layer tells a story of resilience and performance. With ThermoGuard featuring Microban, ClimaCore Insulation, and the robust Ultra Road Shield exterior, this design mirrors the enduring strength of natural strata.

Explore how these high-performing layers work in unison to redefine durability and efficiency in our latest video.


Sustainability is a trend transforming our industry. Explore additional articles in the latest issue of ETT magazine.