Throughout the 20th century, insulation was most commonly made with fibreglass. A string of health and environmental concerns have now led to a number of cleaner and more eco friendly methods of insulation being developed. Good insulation should keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer. Making the right choice helps to make your home eco friendly whilst saving money on bills. Baffled by all the choice out there? Learn the 4 basic types of green insulation before looking further in-depth.
Polyurethane foam is a sturdy and durable material, which has the added benefit of giving some extra stability to the structure itself. It has an R value of 5-6 per inch of thickness. In new builds, it is usually installed in the form of structurally insulated panels (SIPs), in which it is sandwiched in between two sturdy boards, usually plywood or strand board or sheet metals. To keep your insulation green, go for polyurethane made from vegetable oil rather than petroleum.
Icynene is an expanding foam material, growing up to x10 its original size when used. As it is installed into cavity walls, it expands into the area, squeezing out pockets of air and providing evenly distributed insulation. Icynene does, however, have a tendency to trap moisture, so should be installed alongside suitable ventilation and air exchange. Icynene has an R value of around 3.7 per inch of thickness.
Cellulose is ideal for anyone looking for a truly eco friendly and sustainable form of insulation. Formed from newspaper and often other plant fibres, cellulose is a recycled product which is inexpensive and readily available. It acts in a similar way to fibreglass and can be installed in a similar way, though it’s free of formaldehyde and fire-retardant chemical, making it far safer to have in your home.
Another tried and tested green insulation material, sheep wool has been used to maintain heat since the dawn of time- on the sheep! Today, the thick, dense fibres of sheep wool make it ideal for insulating your home. Natural and renewable, it has little environmental impact and requires minimal processing. Sheep wool has an R value of up to 4 per inch depth, and when installed, it is naturally fire resistant, breathable and moisture absorbing. Unlike fibreglass and similar insulation materials, sheep wool is free of harmful chemicals and even helps to improve air quality in your home by absorbing these chemicals from the walls and air.
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