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Environmentally Friendly Insulation

Insulating your house to reduce the amount of energy it takes to heat it in cold weather and cool it in hot weather is an environmentally sound decision. Insulation should be place in all external walls and ceilings as a thermal barrier. Some people, however, are looking for insulations made from “green” materials that do not contain the chemicals found in the most popular insulating products, such as fiberglass batts or polystyrene polyurethane and polyisocyanurate foam panels.

If you are looking for environmentally friendly insulation, consider the following:

  • Mineral wool is made from recycled slag and mined basalt rock. It is fire resistant, pest proof, and very sound absorbent. Purchased as blanket rolls or batting, it does have the same potential risk for airborne fiber as fiberglass, but this can be avoided by obtaining it in a rigid board form.
  • Sheep’s wool is sheered from the live animals. It is cleaned and treated for moth and mildew problems, then formed into either batts or loose fill. Those who wish to avoid problems with allergies or chemical sensitivity should consider this choice.
  • Cotton is also a low chemical choice. All sorts of cotton clothing, including old blue jeans, can be shredded to form thick insulating batts. These are treated with environmentally safe borates to make them fire and pest resistant.
  • Cellulose insulation is made from shredded newspapers that have been mixed with borates. This insulation is blown into walls as either a dry or damp fluffed up product. It has a higher R rating than fiberglass.
  • Some types of polyurethane insulation have recently been manufactured using agricultural products to replace some of their petroleum ingredients. Soybeans, sugar cane, and corn have all been incorporated into these panels.

Not all of these “green” insulation products are widely available. Some are made by manufacturers who specialize in environmentally friendly building materials and may need to be ordered online.