3 Unusual Home Insulating Materials For Eco-Conscious Homeowners
Insulation is a must for any home, and the better insulated your home is, the more environmentally friendly your home is. After all, if your home effectively keeps the indoor temperature stable, then you'll use less energy heating and cooling it. However, just because your home needs to be insulated to be eco-friendly doesn't mean that all insulation is eco-friendly. In fact, many common insulating materials like fiberglass and rock wool come with serious concerns about sustainability, and the particles they release can sometimes trigger asthma or allergy attacks and other health concerns. Luckily, there are a number of insulating options that are better for the environment and your health. Take a look a look at a few unusual insulating materials that are perfect for the eco-conscious homeowner.
You probably wouldn't immediately think of hay as an insulating material unless you happened to be building a barn. However, it turns out that hay bales can also be a great insulating material for homes. They block heat, cold, and noise very effectively, and they are a natural, non-toxic, and inexpensive building material. And while you might imagine that hay bales would be a fire hazard, the truth is that hay bales used as insulation are deprived of the oxygen that they need to ignite because of the way that they are compressed and sealed behind the plaster wall material.
The downside to hay bales as an insulating material is that they're only an option if you're building a new home. You can't exactly remove your home's current fiberglass batt insulation and stuff some hay bales inside the walls instead. If you're not planning a newly built home, you'll have to check out some other options for sustainable insulation.
Hemp is a highly useful material with many applications. One of the newer uses for hemp involves processing it into mats that can be used as home insulation. The mats are not made exclusively of hemp – usually, they contain about 85% hemp and 15% polyester. The big advantage of hemp insulation, besides the fact that it insulates just as effectively as rock wool, is that it also absorbs carbon dioxide. In fact, testing shows that hemp absorbs more carbon dioxide than it emits, making it a carbon negative product. Choosing hemp insulation is a great way to reduce your home's carbon footprint.
Unfortunately, hemp is not legal to grow in many states in the US. As a result, homeowners who want hemp insulation have to pay the high prices associated with importing the material. If you're looking for an insulating material that's both sustainable and affordable, you'll need to consider other options.
If you want an insulating material that's environmentally friendly and that is also appropriate for an existing home and readily available and affordable in your area, soy is the material you've been looking for. As a bonus, soy-based insulation is also fairly simple to install. That's because it comes in spray foam form. It's best to leave the installation to professionals who can ensure that it's installed properly, but because it's not difficult or dangerous, you may pay less for professional installation than you would for another material.
With soy spray foam insulation, you won't have to worry about off-gassing as the material ages, like you would with fiberglass, nor do you have to worry about breathing in particles that will irritate your lungs. The foam is sprayed on with water and expands to create a tight seal, which results in a very effective insulation for your home. The material is also water and pest resistant, eliminating worries about mold or rodents in your walls.
With all of these eco-friendly insulation products available, there's no reason that you need to use an unsustainable or unhealthy material to insulate your home. Whether you're building a new construction home or upgrading your existing home, there's an insulating material that's right for you. Check out a site like http://biosenv.com/ to learn more about your insulation options.