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.
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