Foam core insulation is popular for many reasons. It can be built directly into a home's walls and is very durable and strong. Additionally, it does and excellent job of keeping heat where it belongs, as well as blocking moisture. It can even be useful in soundproofing. However, foam core insulation has one major disadvantage, that is, it is made out of polystyrene and polyurethane, two chemicals that both require the consumption of petroleum. If you are in need of an insulation material that is effective, but environmentally friendly, the following choices may be of use to you.
One excellent alternative to foam core insulation is cellulose. Cellulose insulation is made mostly from recycled materials, unlike foam core insulation which requires non-renewable resources to construct. In addition to this great advantage that helps protect the environment, cellulose insulation has many advantages to help it function in your home.
Cellulose insulation is convenient to install. Unlike other types of insulation that come in boards, batts, or blankets, cellulose is a loose fill material, which means it can be simply blown into an existing wall. While this is not always useful, it can be a big advantage if you are planning to add insulation to an existing wall in your home without tearing it out and rebuilding it.
Additionally, cellulose is a very efficient insulation material, with a great ability to prevent heat from escaping your home. Cellulose insulation is also fire resistant, due to the chemicals that are added to it.
Mineral wool covers a wide variety of types of insulation, but they all function in essentially the same way. This particular type of insulation consists of fibers of either stone or a synthetic material that are turned into batts. A variety of materials are used, but recycled glass is a common one. Mineral wool is quite good at soundproofing. Additionally, it is very resistant to fire.
Mineral wool insulation can break apart into fibers that can be dangerous to inhale. While not every type of mineral wool insulation has this problem, it is something to consider when researching your particular type of mineral wool before installing it.
Cotton batts are a recent development that are quite popular among people who are interested in environmentally friendly insulation alternatives. Cotton insulation is made from recycled cotton and a few chemicals, all of which are non-toxic. Additionally, the creation of cotton insulation uses relatively little energy. However, making environmentally friendly insulation does not, in this case, involve sacrificing efficiency. Cotton is quite good at keeping heat where it belongs.
However, cotton batts have a few down sides associated with them. Most of these problems are problems with batts themselves, rather than the materials involved. Batts do not seal off perfectly, and can allow air and moisture to leak in and out of your home. Additionally, this problem can be made worse with imperfect installation, so a great deal of time, effort, and care are required when installing cotton batts. Batts may present you with another problem with their installation, as you will need to tear out and replace existing walls to install them.