Eco-Friendly Insulation Options For Your Home
Keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer is an important part of ensuring your comfort. Standard insulation like fiberglass rolls in the attic can contain harmful chemicals and are also not biodegradable, making them harmful to the environment, If you're considering changing or upgrading the insulation in your home, here are some more eco-friendly alternatives.
Safe Spray Foam
Spray foam is quickly becoming a popular choice in home insulation, but it's important to choose one that is vegetable-based. These green spray foams contain organic materials like oil from soybeans and sugarcane which are excellent natural insulators. Most will also contain a small percentage of recycled content to make them even more environmentally friendly. An added benefit is that these new generations of eco-friendly foams contain no harsh chemicals or volatile compounds that can be released into the air in your home. Traditional spray foams can be filled with various chemicals that have been known to cause breathing problems and other health issues, so make sure you choose one that is manufactured using green ingredients.
When you think of cotton, it's usually related to clothing or cotton swabs, not home insulation. New manufacturers are now utilizing recycled cotton for use as home insulation to provide a safe, green solution. The cotton is made up of remnants from old denim or other textiles, and can be sold in rolls much like fiberglass, or as a loose material. When it is installed in the attic it is treated with boric acid, which is a natural flame retardant. Boric acid is completely non-toxic and safe to use, so it adds to the versatility of cotton insulation. When cotton is compressed, it can be a highly effective home insulator.
A material known as cellulose is made up of mostly recycled paper such as newsprint or cardboard. The paper is covered in water until it forms a mushy consistency. Then, the cellulose is sprayed into open walls just like spray foam. Another way to use cellulose for insulation is to shred it while dry and install in your attic loosely. Just like cotton, cellulose is also often treated with boric acid before being installed. Most cellulose contains wood fiber or wood pulp, which also helps it to absorb moisture. Since the process to make cellulose insulation is via recycling, it makes for another good environmentally friendly choice. If you're considering new residential insulation, be sure to include some of these eco-friendly materials as part of your next project.