Get going on your green home with eco-friendly insulation options
For homeowners looking to make their homes more green and energy efficient, one of the best places to start is with insulation. According to Energy Star, a homeowner can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs by insulating and sealing the envelope, or shell, of a home.
Improving the insulation in a home can save utility costs and make the home more comfortable, eliminating hot and cold spots that may have been caused by insulation that wasn’t performing properly.
Some insulation jobs, particularly in the attic, are prime candidates for a do-it-yourself job. Others require the skills of an experienced contractor to make sure the insulation is correctly installed and functioning according to the manufacturer’s specs. If you’re building a new home, choosing the right insulation is vital to the home’s long-term energy performance.
While there are many types of insulation on the market today, we’re looking at three new traditional blow-in and batt-style, eco-friendly options for homeowners, suitable for new construction and remodeling.
Owens Corning EcoTouch PINK FIBERGLAS Insulation
The famous pink insulation now incorporates PureFiber technology made with natural materials and a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer recycled content and 50 percent total recycled content. EcoTouch insulation achieved GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification and is verified to be formaldehyde free for better indoor-air quality.
Building with EcoTouch insulation will help new homes achieve energy-efficiency and green building certifications including: the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star; the National Association of Home Builders' National Green Building Standard; and the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Roxul ComfortBatt mineral wool insulation
Made from lava rock and recycled slag from steel production, Roxul’s mineral wool is water repellent and won’t rot or grow mold, bacteria or fungi due to water exposure. It won’t sag over time, either.
Not only is Roxul's mineral wool made from natural and recycled product in CFC- and HCFC- free product and process, its manufacturing facilities are green, too. All scraps are turned into small bricks and recycled directly back into mineral wool so they have no waste going to landfill. Heat generated from the melting process is distributed throughout the building and they collect rainwater to use in the cooling process needed to make the mineral wool fibers.
The density of the mineral wool contributes to high insulation value and also offers sound-proofing qualities.
Roxul’s semi-rigid batt has a flexible edge designed to compress as the batt is inserted into walls, attics, ceiling and floor frames. The flexible edge springs back, expanding the batt against the frame studs to give a complete fill. With this flexible edge, ComfortBatt compensates for normal variations in stud centers caused by distortion or warping to ensure the expected R-value is achieved.
Natural wool insulation
Natural sheep wool insulation from Oregon Shepherd offers the ease of loose fill, blown-in insulation that meets tough standards for flame resistance. The wool is naturally non-toxic, resists mold growth and is vermin resistant. As a natural product, the wool insulation does not require the safety precautions during installation as does insulation made from other types of materials.
The wool helps eliminate voids and air pockets in the walls and reduces air infiltration through the walls. It is a sustainable, renewable product that is also recyclable. It can be applied in attics and walls.
For more information about eco-friendly insulation, check out our industry directory.
Gary Wollenhaupt is an experienced writer and editor, with a background as a daily newspaper reporter as well as corporate and agency public relations and marketing. He is constantly looking for affordable green upgrades to make to his home in eastern Kentucky.www