How Green Is Cellulose Insulation?

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images.jpgWe all know that a well insulated house is more energy efficient than one that lacks proper insulation. Several types of insulation are available, so which one is the greenest? This week, we’ll take a look at the various types.

Cellulose insulation has high recycled content (up to 85%) of post consumer newsprint and other wood fiber feedstocks and provides excellent performance of thermal insulation. Its R-value averages 3.4 per inch.

Another environmental attribute: It uses up to 90% less energy to manufacture than mineral wool.

Typically, non-hazardous boric acid is used as a fire retardant and makes up about 20% of cellulose insulation by weight. Dust that is released into the air during installation may be irritating and unpleasant, but the benign ingredients in cellulose insulation (including fire retardants), do not pose a health hazard. Low-dust cellulose is now available for blown in insulation to maintain a clean work environment.

Studies have shown that the dense fiber structure of cellulose and the fire retardants slow the spread of fire through a building, giving occupants more time to escape and fire fighters more time to save the structure. It has also been documented that cellulose insulation has a higher fire resistance than fiberglass insulation.

Wet-spray and loose fill cellulose guard against air infiltration through ceilings and exterior walls better than fiberglass batts. Cellulose insulation fits tightly against pipes, wires and electrical boxes creating a tight thermal barrier. This reduces the amount of energy required to heat and cool a structure.

Wet spray cellulose is used to fill wall cavities and then covered with sheetrock. Even though all loose-fill insulation settles after installation to some extent, the R-value and coverage data are always stated at settled density. This means that until settling occurs, homeowners are getting an even higher R-value out of the product. It also maintains its resistance to heat transfer under virtually all weather conditions in North America.

Source: Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association

Tag(s): Energy, Going Green, Green Building

Comments

4 Responses to “How Green Is Cellulose Insulation?”

  1. c .schuurman on December 19th, 2008 12:51 pm

    I wonder what you think about the findings of this article.

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  2. Joyce Benson on December 20th, 2008 11:26 am

    Since that article was written in 1991, I have to believe that today we are more mindful of the components of cellulose and any insulation product. Proper installation (including sealing air leaks around the home before installing insulation) and necessary precautions against dust is key of course. Even though it is non-toxic, the dust is still an irritant if inhaled.

  3. blown in insulation health hazard | Beaty and Health on April 21st, 2011 3:30 pm

    […] How Green Is Cellulose Insulation? : Green building and living … Jul 14, 2008 … Several types of insulation are available, so which one is the greenest? … fire retardants), do not pose a health hazard. Low-dust cellulose is now available for blown in … […]

  4. Donte on May 6th, 2011 8:12 pm

    Great common sense here. Wish I’d thought of that.

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