Friday, December 10, 2010

Farm Fresh Friday: Eco-Insulation

When Ryan and I found out we were going to have Trayton, we knew we needed more room in our one bedroom, ~900 sq.ft. little old house, circa 1900. We decided to put on an addition to give us two more bedrooms, an additional bathroom, new living room and poured basement (since the old basement was made of stacked bricks, and old tree stumps supporting the floor joists - not your ideal safe place in a region prone to tornadoes.)

We opted for eco-friendly insulation both in the living areas and in the attic. Ryan blew Comfort-Zone Low Dust Cellulose Insulation in the attic. Comfort-Zone is made from 100% recycled newspaper and other paper products, has the highest insulation (R-value) per square inch and retains this longer and is non-toxic. I was concerned about the toxicity when I looked at the fire retardancy. However, this insulation's fire retardancy is formulated from the naturally occurring element Boron (which also makes it resistant to insects, rodents and fungi.) Boron is commonly ingested through fruits, vegetables, milk and coffee and is used in the medicinal world for the synthesis of some drugs. For more information, the USDA Forest Service and Forest Products Laboratory conducted experiments using Borax-Boric Acid as a fire retardant and there data can be found here.
The second type of insulation used in the living areas was a foam sprayed by Iowa Spray Foam Insulators, LLC. This insulation type uses HeatLok Soy technology, which recycles plastic waste into a polyurethane foam and renewable soy oils. We used this when we remodeled the old part of our house and it works wonderfully to insulate and reduce sound. We have noticed a dramatic difference in the amount of heat and air we use, it is very efficient! We would have liked to have used this insulation in that attic as well but $$$ deterred us at this time. We do plan to use it in the years to come when we have to replace the cellulose.

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