- Cellulose insulations are made from plant materials.
- It is not a new green idea. Monticello was even insulated using a type of cellulose insulation.
- It has been made from cardboard, straw, sawdust, hemp and even corncobs. Today, this eco-friendly insulation is even greener as it is made from up to 85% recycled newspaper.
- This insulation takes less energy to make than any other insulation materials. The total energy required to transport raw materials, manufacture products and distribute them is often referred to embodied energy. Fiberglass and foam insulation products require more than 10 times more embodied energy than cellulose insulation.
- Did you know that paper is one of the items that tops off our landfills? Cellulose insulation diverts this newspaper waste from landfills and reduces the release of greenhouse gases, which are emitted as newspaper decomposes in landfills.
- The post-consumer recycled content is the high, especially when you compare 85% used for cellulose insulation to 40% recycled content for fiberglass and 0% for foam.
Clearly, cellulose insulation is the most eco-friendly choice for many reasons, but how does it compare otherwise?
Cellulose insulation has many advantages including:
-it fits well around pipes and wiring which reduces air pockets and increases insulation efficiency.
- it has been shown to be 20-30 percent better at reducing energy needed for heating compared to fiberglass insulation.
-unique advantages for health and safety for workers. Toxicity is not an issue with cellulose. The only hazard for cellulose categorized by OSHA is that there is a dust nuisance during installation. A little dust is nothing compared to the potential cancer risks of manufacturing or working with fiberglass products.
-cellulose insulation also creates noise reduction. Because cellulose insulation is almost three times denser than fiberglass, it does a good job of deadening sound through walls and between floors.
- borates in cellulose insulation provide an excellent deterrent insects and rodents and further wards off molds.
- borate treatment in cellulose insulation also provides a class 1, the highest, fire safety rating. This is another advantage over fiberglass or foam insulation.
Are there disadvantages to cellulose insulation?
Cellulose insulation has few disadvantages. The R-Value of cellulose insulation is 3.6 to 3.8, which is very good but not as high as other insulations options. However, the cost per R-value is very competitive. Spray foam has many of the benefits of as wet spray cellulose insulations and a higher R-value but is more expensive and not nearly as eco-friendly.
In the past one of the major disadvantages of cellulose insulation options was that it attracted termites. Today almost all cellulose insulation contains a borate treatment that has been shown not to attract termites or provide a suitable food source for them.
With four types of Cellulose insulation, there are options to fit your needs, whether you remodeling, retrofitting or starting new construction. There are four major types of cellulose insulation options that can be used for both new home construction or insulating older homes. These are generally referred to as dry cellulose, spray applied cellulose, stabilized cellulose and low dust cellulose. Each has different applications that are used for different purposes in various parts of homes or buildings.
Dry cellulose, or loose fill is commonly used to insulate older homes. It is blown into holes drilled into the tops of existing walls or can be used in new wall construction with temporary netting.
Spray applied cellulose, also called Wet-Spray and is used for new wall construction. Water is added to the cellulose and a small amount of adhesive may also be added. No retainer or netting is needed to apply spray applied cellulose insulation.
Stabilized Cellulose is commonly used to insulate roofs or attics. A small amount of water and adhesive are added to decrease the amount of cellulose needed thereby reducing the weight and preventing sagging.
Low dust cellulose is another cellulose insulation available today. During the application of most types of dry insulation dust masks need to be worn. Low dust insulation has a small amount of dust dampener or oil added to reduce dust.
Insulating your home is an effective method of keeping in cool and keeping out heat, and saving money. But insulating your home with cellulose insulation is good for your home and the Earth, as well. Today’s cellulose insulation has more advantages and less disadvantages than ever before. Cellulose insulation reduces waste, greenhouse gases, energy cost and toxins while providing comparable value to other less eco-friendly insulation options.
Now, I just need to 1) convince the insurance company and 2) make sure the repair service offers this type of insulation!