As technology continues to improve, more effective, environmentally friendly insulation options are becoming available as well. Whether you are building a new home or are looking to update your current home, here are five green, effective options for insulation.
- There are a variety of “green” spray foams that offer some of the best insulation results in the market. They are applied as liquid and expand into solid foam to fill each nook and cranny in your wall. Since the foam isn’t porous like other fibrous insulation options, air doesn’t pass through as quickly or easily, meaning hot air is kept inside in the winter and outside in the summer. Foam insulation also has a more rigid structure, substantially increasing the overall strength of the building. Most foam sprays are created using green products, but check the contents and the manufacturer’s description just to be sure.
- Sheep’s wool is all-natural and provides great insulation. While many people wouldn’t normally consider wool as an option for a home insulation material, its effectiveness shouldn’t be surprising when considering the harsh conditions that are prevalent where many sheep live. Wool is built for warmth, and when compressed, millions of small air pockets are created, and the trapped air keeps homes (and animals) warm when it’s cold outside and cool when it’s hot out. Since wool is a very breathable material as well, moisture won’t damage it.
- Aerogel is a material that is 90% air, but is also a surprisingly good insulation material. It is made by removing liquid from silica under high temperature and pressure, and the molecular structure of the material makes it difficult for heat to pass through in any condition or temperature.
- Cotton is a renewable, effective material for insulation. It’s green because most of the fibers come from leftover denim at jean factories, and since it is a naturally occurring, renewable resource, it is actually one of the greenest materials available for insulation. Since cotton doesn’t contain formaldehyde like fiberglass does, it will not cause respiratory problems for people living in the building.
- Polystyrene is a form of plastic that is made in rigid foam boards, and it is also one of the best insulation options available. While the plastic isn’t particularly green, the material saves so much energy that it is still widely considered to be a green material.