When choosing insulation for your home, there are many options available to you. From the traditional fiberglass insulation to spray foam. However, there is a way to lessen your environmental footprint even more with one of the oldest and greenest insulation used on the market today; cellulose insulation.
History Of Cellulose Insulation
Cellulose is one of the oldest types of building insulation used. Different materials have been used over the years to make this insulation, including newspaper, cardboard, cotton, straw, sawdust, and even hemp. Today, cellulose insulation is mainly made of recycled newspaper with an added fire retardant. This form of cellulose insulation began being produced in 1949 and became popular in the US due to the oil embargo in the early 1970s. In the late 70’s cellulose fell out of popularity due to extremely stringent legislation being passed for insulation standards along with fiberglass insulation being cheaper and easier to install for homeowners and businesses.
Today, cellulose insulation is regaining popularity. Studies have shown that cellulose insulation may actually protect a building from damage in a fire better than fiberglass because cellulose is denser than fiberglass and doesn’t allow the oxygen necessary to burn the structural members. Additionally, cellulose is gaining popularity because of the increasing interest in building green due to it being made almost completely of recycled content.
Benefits of Cellulose Insulation
Cellulose insulation has numerous benefits over traditional fiberglass insulation. This environmentally friendly, green insulation can help you save on energy bills, lower noise levels, and is even mold resistant. Cellulose insulation can help provide a savings of around 40% in energy bills when compared to traditional insulation, and with it creating a near perfect seal between the walls, increases the insulation’s “r-value” by decreasing air infiltration and air leakage. Cellulose insulation resists mold because of the EPA approved fungicide that is included in the creation process of the cellulose insulation. Additionally, cellulose insulation is put through rigorous testing to make sure that the material is resistant to mold growth, even in conditions that would be favorable to mold. Finally, cellulose insulation helps increase soundproofing in homes due its dense nature. Sounds that would easily transmit through fiberglass insulation are subdued due to the increased mass of cellulose insulation. Which is a great way to reduce sound pollution caused by laundry rooms, family rooms, theater rooms, and walls that contain noisy water pipes.
Cellulose insulation has been a green product long before green building was even a concept. With its low embodied energy, extremely high recycled content, and superior energy saving performance, cellulose insulation is one of the greenest products in the market today. By converting recycled paper to be used as insulation in walls and attics of buildings helps to reduce landfills as well as reduces the number of trees needed to produce new paper. It’s manufacturing process is even greener than other insulation manufacturing. While fiberglass is produced by melting sand and recovered glass in gas-fired furnaces, cellulose insulation is produced by processing pre and post-consumer recovered paper through electrically powered mills. It takes nearly ten times as much energy to produce fiberglass insulation than it does to produce cellulose insulation. Finally, during the application process, all excess sprayed insulation is brushed off the walls and vacuumed up to be reused in other insulation projects, so there is no product waste.
- How can noisy pipes be prevented?
Water pipes in walls, floors, and ceilings can be noisy at times. Cellulose insulation installed around water pipes can reduce condensation on cold water pipes, as well as heat loss from hot water pipes. Care should be taken when insulating exterior walls and attics with water pipes to ensure that no insulation is placed between the pipe and the drywall or other interior surface such as the wall or ceiling.
- What can be done to make the house more soundproof from room to room?
Noise problems are a common complaint from homeowners. A vast majority of builders do not realize that common building practices do little to stop the transmission of noise within a structure. Anyone who has traveled and stayed in a fine resort or hotel knows that soundproofing a room is possible. The trouble is, to do it somewhat economically, it needs to be done as the structure is being built. Because of its density, cellulose insulation is a high-grade soundproofing insulation, which can result in a quieter home, and fewer headaches.
- How can I keep my house cool during high temperatures?
During the warmer months of summer, the sun will shine directly onto the roof causing it to radiate heat through the attic, and invariably through the ceilings into the home. By properly installing cellulose insulation, you can create a thermal barrier that will prevent the heat from radiating into the home, even if the heat reaches triple digits!
- Can ice dams be prevented?
The best practice to prevent ice dams on non-cathedral style roofs is to properly ventilate and insulate. Energy efficient roofs minimize problems with ice dams because they keep the entire roof cold. Insulating to prevent heat leaks and sealing against air leakage between the inside of the building and the attic are the best ways to achieve a cold roof. Any warm air leaking into the attic carries moisture with it. Sealing these leaks can be effective in minimizing ice damming.