While people may debate the causes of global warming, it is just common sense to use products that have as little impact on the environment as possible.
Insulation, by reducing the amount of energy required to heat or cool a building, is environmentally friendly. But don’t be fooled into thinking all insulating materials are equal. There is plenty of greenwashing taking place to make products look more beneficial, or less harmful, to the environment than they really are.
LOW EMBODIED ENERGY
Cellulose takes less energy to make than any other insulation material. This is known as embodied energy and includes the total energy required to transport raw materials, manufacture and distribute the product. Fiberglass has up to 10 times more embodied energy than cellulose and foam products up to 64 times.
Celbar Insulation is processed in a clean, efficient, electrically-driven mill that requires relatively little amounts of energy. At the end of the production day, on weekends, and holidays, the mill shuts-down totally. Information supplied to the Canadian Standards Association by a vitreous manufacturer indicated it required 59 times more energy than cellulose on a pound for pound basis.
- Takes less energy to make than any other insulation
- Cellulose has the highest level of recycled content in the insulation industry – up to 85%. Cellulose insulation is made with recycled paper, paper that might otherwise end up in a landfill. Fiberglass has a maximum of 40% recycled content and foam products little or none.
- Reduces the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building
- Fire resistant
- Helps prevent greenhouse gasses
- regionally produced, using local recycling programs and independent recyclers, and servicing communities close to home
Environmental Facts for major types of insulation materials
|Type||Installation Methods||R-value per inch (RSI/m)||Raw Materials||Pollution From Manufacture||Indoor Air Quality Impacts||Comments|
|Celbar||Loose-fill, wall-spray (damp), dense pack, stabilized||3.8||Old Newspapers, telephone directories, borates||Negligible||Fibers and chemicals can be irritants||High recycled content and very low embodied energy|
|Fiberglass||Batts, Loose-fill, semi-rigid board||3.0-4.0
|Silica sand, limestone, boron, recycled glass, PF resin or acrylic resin||Formaldehyde emissions and high energy use during manufacture||Fibers can be irritants||High embodied energy|
|Mineral Wool||Loose-fill, batts, semi-rigid or rigid board||2.8-3.7
|Iron ore blast furnace slag, natural rock, PF binder||Formaldehyde emissions and high energy use during manufacture||Fibers can be irritants||High embodied energy; Rigid board can be an excellent foundation drainage and insulator|
|Cotton and polyester mill scraps (especially denim)||Negligible||Considered safe||Two producers, so transportation pollution is higher than other insulation|
|Closed-cell spray polyurethane foams||Spray-in cavity-fill or spray-on roofing||5.8-6.8
|Fossil fuels; HFC-24.5fa blowing agent; non-brominated flame retardant||High energy use during manufacture; global warming potential from HFC blowing agent||Quite toxic during installation (respirators or supplied air required); allow several days of airing out prior to occupancy||Very High embodied Energy|
|Open-celled, low-density polyurethane foam (Soy)||Spray-in cavity-fill||3.6-3.8
|Fossil fuels and soybeans; water as blowing agent; non-brominated flame retardant||High energy use during manufacture||Quite toxic during installation (respirators or supplied air required); allow several days of airing out prior to occupancy||Very High embodied energy|