Soy Beans, Shredded Denim, and Wool will keep you warm this winter!

Home Builder

  As a kid I couldn't understand why I wasn't allowed to touch the pink fluffy cotton candy that I saw poking out of one of the basement walls. As I got older I realized that rubbing my face into tiny pieces of fiberglass isn't the brightness idea. This childhood memory got me wondering if there were any alternative options to fiberglass insulation that are eco-friendly. I found these surprising alternatives.


As some of us may know, insulation for your home is important for temperature regulation and energy efficiency. One of the first alternatives to fiberglass insulation that I came across online was Shredded Denim Insulation. A company named Bonded Logic manufactures this type of insulation. Once the company received the shredded denim, they treat the fabric with a borate solution so the insulation won't burn and so it will repel mold and mildew. Next, they mix the material with another fiber and bond everything together in a large oven. Finally, they press the material into 2-inch (5-centimeter) thick rolls and cut the product into its shipping size.

The benefits of using Shredded Denim insulation is that unlike fiberglass insulation, this type of insulation does not itch and is easy to handle. the material it's self hinders fungus and mold growth, and impedes pests. It contains no Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC’s) or other chemicals harmful to your health. The Cotton fibers are 100% recyclable and can reduce landfill waste.  The denim and cotton used to make the insulation are 90% post-consumer. Shredded Denim insulation also helps reduce sounds coming into your home.




Sheep wool is another type of eco-friendly insulation that is on the market. Sheep wool makes an excellent insulator because when wool fibers are compressed millions of tiny air pockets form, these pockets trap air which keeps sheep’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer, in turn the sheep wool insulator does the same for your home. Wool is also extremely breathable which means it can absorb moisture from the air without it affecting its capacity to retain heat. The outer layer of the wool is very moister resistant, but the inner layers of the wool love water and can hold up to 3 thirds of its weight in moister without it every feeling damp. When the wool gets wet, it generates heat which then prevents condensation. With wool insulation you don’t need to adjust your heating or cooling system as often. This type of insulator in also the most fire resistant over any other type of material used as an insulator. 




The last eco-friendly insulation alternative that I will touch on has gotten mix reviews online, but nonetheless it is still an interesting alternative to fiberglass insulation. Soy bean insulation comes as spray-on foam. When the spray foam is applied to the dry-wall it expands up to 100 times its size, this means that that it is able to tightly seal all cracks and corners. Unlike fiberglass insulation, with soy bean spray-on foam you don’t have worry about off- gassing. It also does not retain moister so you don’t have to worry about mold or fungus growth. Soy bean spray is made up of a catalyst and a resin.  The two sides are mixed together as they spray out of the tank, which causes a chemical reaction and creates the “spray foam”. The truth is that soy bean insulation spray doesn’t have pure eco-friendly ingredients. This spray foam is petroleum based; it only contains 15% soy. Although the two alternative options I presented previously contain pure eco-friendly ingredients and are considered “greener” products, don’t rule out the soy bean spray-on foam. Even though it is more expensive than fiberglass insulation, using this product will pay itself off over time, this is due to how tightly sealed your house will be from cold or hot weather conditions outside.



Whichever one of these materials you choose to insulate your home, the quality and health benefits surpass conventional fiberglass insulation.



Atributions for pics




Comments (32)

Bill and MaryAnn Wagner
Wagner Real Estate Group - Ocean City, NJ
Jersey Shore and South Jersey Real Estate
I had recently heard about the denim alternative but was unaware of the wool and the soy bean spray. Will have to investigate further. Thanks.
Oct 31, 2013 10:44 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@Properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital
It's good to know that all of our discarded blue jeans are being put to good use!
Oct 31, 2013 11:26 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

These look like some good alternatives. Is the cost competitive with fiber glass insulation?

Oct 31, 2013 11:35 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Yes to this post and its subject matter...I would also dust the areas with boric acid powder too. Bugs be Gone

Nov 01, 2013 12:50 AM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

As always there are options. Wonder what the expense difference is.

Nov 01, 2013 01:25 AM
Laura Foreman
Referral Maker Real Estate CRM - Carlsbad, CA
Copywriter, Buffini & Company

Great post! It's always nice to know that there are other options out there. 

Nov 01, 2013 01:47 AM
David Landau
President, Newtown Board of Realtors - Newtown, CT
RE/MAX Right Choice
Great info, Thanks. Dave
Nov 01, 2013 01:53 AM
Marc McMaster
RE/MAX Centre Realty - State College, PA
Putting my clients before myself

Wait, you're NOT supposed to eat that fiberglass insulation?!  I've been doing it wrong all along.  Great post!

Nov 01, 2013 04:08 AM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

I had not head of the recycled denim product.  That sounds like a great option.  The foam is an amazing insulator, but the petroleum base is an unhealthy alternative.

Nov 01, 2013 02:56 PM
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

Thats crazy I have never heard of shredded denim being used as insulation!?!?!? What on earth will they think of next?

Nov 01, 2013 03:32 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I've been thinking about the blue jean option when I build my next home.   I've seen it on a few of the DIY shows and looks like something I could tackle with ease.

Nov 01, 2013 09:46 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Very interesting. I hadn't heard of these. For some reason, I find the denim insulation most intriguing--perhaps because jeans aren't warm at all! Straw bales are also used, at least in demonstration houses.

Nov 01, 2013 11:25 PM
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

Very informative - I had no idea about these alternatives. Re-blogged!

Nov 01, 2013 11:51 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Interesting. We've used spray foam around pipes and other small spaces where air wants to intrude - and I know they use it to insulate the inside of delivery vans, etc. Had never heard of denim or wool insulation - and wonder what they cost. 

Nov 02, 2013 01:18 AM
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team
Very interesting. What is the insulating value or are R value compared to fiberglass?
Nov 02, 2013 02:05 AM
Michael J. O'Connor
Diamond Ridge Realty - Corona, CA
Eastvale - 951-847-4883

I had no idea of these alternatives even though I'm in my local home improvement stores nearly every week. Like others, I was curious as to the cost and found that denim insulation (in small quantities) runs about $1.20 per square foot at a major home improvement store.  Wool insulation from an eco building supplier runs about $1.90 per square foot in small quantities.  Standard glass insulation in small quantities runs about $0.25 per square foot in small quantities.

So unfortunately these alternatives won't be for everyone but I love the idea.

Nov 02, 2013 02:18 AM
Jill Winchel
Royal Shell Real Estate - The Koffman Group - Cape Coral, FL
We make it easy. You make it home.

Thanks for the information. Very cool to think people could have old jeans in their walls. Wool makes sense, too. The expanding spray seems like it would seal the best.

Nov 02, 2013 05:33 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

I knew it was insulation right away. I like the newer types as they've taken out the nasty itch.

Nov 02, 2013 07:18 AM
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Broker/Owner
Travis Realty - Enterprise, AL
email: / cell: 334-494-7846

Interesting about wool being the most fire resistant! I'll check to see if it's "soy" foam the local guys are using.

Nov 03, 2013 03:32 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Interesting options.  However, what it always comes down to is cost.  I would want to see the numbers.  When people talk about "long term savings" I often wonder a) how long?  b) how accurate the numbers are?

Nov 04, 2013 02:53 AM