Green Insulation 101: Cellulose, Fiberglass, Foam and Cotton

Choose natural forms of insulation for your home.

| November/December 2005

  • UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation is made from recycled denim.
    Photo Courtesy Bonded Logic
  • BioBase 501, a soy-based polyurethane foam, uses water as its blowing agent.
    Photo Courtesy BioBased Insulation

Wall and ceiling insulation reduces noise and helps keep your home warm in winter, cool in summer. Whether you’re building a new home or improving an uninsulated one, choose natural forms of insulation. Here’s a look at several of the more eco-friendly types.

Cellulose 

• Recycled newsprint that’s blown into walls, ceilings, and attics. A water-activated adhesive helps it stabilize when applied to an open cavity. Can also be densely packed into closed cavities.
• Treated with nontoxic borate or ammonium sulfate fire retardant.

Soy-Based Polyurethane Foam 



• Sprays on, then expands to fill structural cavities.
• Seals leaks by filling tiny crevices and cavities.
• Made from soybean oil (a renewable resource) and petrochemicals.
• Does not use ozone-depleting CFC- or HCFC-based blowing agents. Uses water- or carbon dioxide-based blowing agents.
• Requires special equipment and a contractor.

Fiberglass 



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