10 Green Options for Wall Insulation
Insulation is one of the most important factors that keeps your home comfortable. But in an old house, insulation might be sorely lacking. Make your home more comfortable with these green insulation options:
- Cellulose. Made of shredded newspapers and fire retardant, damp cellulose insulation is sprayed into the walls and floors. When it dries, it works just as well as fiberglass and is available at a comparable price.
- Mineral wool. Highly sound absorbent, impervious to pests, and resistant to fire, mineral wool is made of basalt rock and recycled slag. Rigid-board insulation is available for those who are concerned about airborne fibers.
- Cotton. The benefits of cotton have been clear for as long as there have been heavy quilts on beds during the wintertime! The same material can insulate your floors and walls. Made of old denim and other recycled cotton, the insulation has very low chemical content.
- Agricultural products. Insulation that uses corn, soybean oil, or sugar cane to replace petroleum-based products is becoming more popular. It is available in both rigid boards and spray foam.
- Fiberglass. Companies that make fiberglass have heard the eco-friendly call and are stepping up to the plate. Up to 40% of the spun glass in this insulation is made of recycled material, and some companies enclose their fiberglass in bags, to prevent airborne fiber concerns.
- Sheep's wool. A natural option for home insulation, sheep's wool is sheared from the animal in the usual way, then fluffed and treated with pest control additives. The all-natural insulation is good for those concerned about health issues.
- Polyicynene. Made with a chemical derived from oil, polyicynene insulation is not the most environmentally-friendly option; however, it is blown in with water and saves a huge amount in energy bills.
- Polyurethane. Much like polyicynene, polyurethane is a popular insulation that is applied with a chemical that does not deplete the ozone layer. Considering how many homes use polyurethane insulation, this is an eco-friendly benefit.
- Cement. Mixed with water and frothed with air, cement makes a very effective insulation. It is permanent, extremely fire-resistant, and makes it virtually impossible for pests or mold to move in.
- Greensulate. A recent winner in the Popular Science Invention Awards, greensulate is made of mushroom fibers. The fibers are blended with agricultural by-products to create a dense panel that can be custom-made to fit your walls.
Make that old house more comfortable with a modern, cutting-edge insulation that is healthy for the environment.
Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.