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CELLULOSE INSULATION


VIRTUES
> High percent of recycled content
> Little or no toxic offgassing
> Relatively easy to install


CAVEATS
> Must be installed carefully to fill all gaps
> Wet products can be problematic if not allowed to dry properly


 


SPRAY FOAM FILLING EVERY VOID
Insulating walls and ceilings with spray foam is relatively expensive, typically more than twice the cost of fiber glass batts, and most often it’s a job best handled by pros. Why is foam green? Not because of what’s in it. Even the so-called eco-friendly brands replace only a small percentage of their petroleum-based chemical mix with biological products such as soy. But the energy performance of foam is hard to beat. Some brands offer insulating value of more than R-6 per inch, at the same time sealing against air infiltration. This makes spray foam a dual-duty system ideal for both new and retrofit construction.


 


CELLULOSE PAPER TRAIL
Cellulose has a good green story to tell, especially from the manufacturing side. It’s made primarily with recycled paper, typically newspapers, and most brands are treated with boric acid as a fire retardant. Research on the health ef- fects of boric acid suggest that it is a minor irritant in small doses. Cellulose can be installed wet or dry. If installed wet, it should be allowed to dry properly before covering with drywall (typically less than 48 hours). The insulating value of cellulose is about the same as blown fiber glass (roughly 3.7 per inch).


GLOSSARY OF TERMS
KNOW THE LINGO 


> R-Value
A measure of how effectively a material resists heat flow. Thus, higher numbers are better. For a full list comparing various types of insulation, visit www.coloradoenergy.org.


> Batt
A length of insulation that is precut to fit certain wall cavity dimensions. Typically sold in a pre-packaged roll.


> Unfaced/Faced Insulation
Faced insulation (typically a fiberglass batt) includes a vapor retarder on the interior face that restricts movement of moist air into wall cavities.


> Ridge Vent
An opening covered by a rain-proof vent that follows the peak of the roof, typically required by code. Some insulating methods, however, negate the need for a ridge vent. Clear it with your local code official first.


> Blow-In
Method of introducing loose fiberglass, cellulose, or mineral wool to framing cavities or attic space, typically using a machine with an attached hose.


> Blower Door
Equipment used to test the effectiveness of a home’s insulation and air sealing systems.


> Stud Cavity
The space between the vertical members of a conventionally framed wood or lightweight steel home. Common stud spacings include 16” and 24” on center (of stud).


 


GREENFIBER COCOON CELLULOSE INSULATION
Made with 85% recycled newspaper print, GreenFiber Cellulose can be blown or sprayed vertically or horizontally into walls or attics, or applied as a sound deadener between floor joists. The material has good fire resistance and can be added to any type of conventional structure without affecting the wall’s fire resistance. www.greenfiber.com


JOHNS MANVILLE SPIDER
A formaldehyde-free spray-in fiber glass insulation, JM Spider is applied slightly wet so that it dries quickly. It provides up to R-23 insulating value in a 2x6 frame cavity. Cavities can be filled very quickly, in as little as two to three hours for a 2,700-square-foot. home. www.jmhomeowner.com


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GreenBuilder 11.2010

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