It’s common knowledge that a well insulated house is an energy saver – both for keeping warm air in in the winter and hot air out in the summer. And that the most common form of insulation has always been paper backed fiberglass batts, blown in cellulose or fiberglass or sprayed on polyurethane foam insulation. But, as home owners, business owners and building professionals alike become more environmentally aware, they’re looking for alternate insulation materials that make less of an impact on the planet’s limited resources and that are less harmful to the environment and human health.
The R-value of the materials used for insulation is, as always, a first consideration. Depending on region and climate, the R-value is more or less significant, but standards for most regions in the nation are set at R-13 for exterior walls and R-38 for ceilings. As more and more builders and owners raise concerns over sustainable sources of materials, the insulation industry is trotting out an increasing line of alternative materials that meet these concerns and also provide the requisite amount of protection against the elements.
It’s becoming more common to find insulation professionals offering such “green” products as reused newsprint and soybean based blown in insulation. Manufactures of insulation products are also reformulating existing types of insulation to reduce or remove those components deemed hazardous or harmful to the environment. Natural materials such as cotton, wool or soybeans are beginning to show up more and more as alternative means of insulation.
A handy chart on this site lists the various materials available for insulating a home or business and may help in the decision making process when choosing a means and method for insulation.