Environmental Impacts of Cellulose Insulation

Homeowners are turning to green options when doing home improvements because they understand the impact their choices have on the environment. Insulation is a home improvement that plays a huge role in the environmental impact of a house, not only by increasing the energy efficiency but the materials it is made up of.

Many companies will highlight their environmentally friendly options but it is important to have your own knowledge before making an investment in insulation. The environmental impact of cellulose insulation has been a popular question among homeowners looking to upgrade their insulation. This article will be explaining what cellulose insulation is, how it is impacting the environment and how it compares to other insulation methods and materials. 

What is cellulose insulation?

Cellulose insulation is one of the oldest forms of insulation used in homes and can be used in both new and existing properties. It is said to be a ‘smart’ alternative to fiberglass insulation and can be blown or sprayed into the area that is being insulated. Unlike fiberglass batts that are tucked into open areas, cellulose insulation conforms to the open spaces when it is blown or sprayed in. Thus, it creates a stronger barrier against heat loss and drafts. Another advantage of cellulose insulation is it is able to be installed over existing insulation.

Is cellulose environmentally friendly?

Cellulose insulation is primarily made from recycled newspaper and currently has the highest level of recycled content in the building insulation industry. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, most cellulose insulation is approximately 80% post-consumer recycled newspaper by weight. It is also important to consider the amount of energy that goes into manufacturing and producing a product like this, as that too impacts the environment in many ways. Of leading insulation products, cellulose insulation currently has the lowest embodied energy. Embodied energy is the amount of potentially negative impact a product has on the environment. It also is produced regionally which means it has shorter shipping distances, or lower fuel emissions than other insulation products on the market.

Cellulose insulation and a home’s carbon footprint

Homeowners have been inquisitive about the carbon footprint of their homes and what they can do to reduce it. According to the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems, a carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, organization, event, or product. One way to reduce the carbon footprint of a house is to trap the carbon embodied in waste and trash before it is released into the atmosphere. As waste paper decays in landfills, it produces greenhouse gases in the process. Cellulose insulation helps lower carbon emissions by recycling that waste paper to prevent the production of greenhouse gases.

Not only will choosing to use cellulose insulation reduce the amount of waste paper sitting in landfills, but it also has the ability to lower the carbon footprint of houses. It does so by trapping the carbon produced by the home, for the life of the home, to prevent it from escaping into the environment.

How efficient is cellulose insulation?

Insulation is measured by its R-value, or its resistance to heat, and the higher the better. When cellulose insulation is installed by a professional, it has an R-value of 3.5-4. Cellulose insulation has a higher average R-value than other insulation materials on the market. It also is known to lower energy bills 20 to 30% more than fiberglass.

This is important information when learning about the environmental impacts of cellulose insulation. If it can resist more heat than comparable insulation materials, a home will be able to use its energy more efficiently. Lowering your energy usage is one of the best ways to do your part for the environment, and cellulose insulation will allow you to use less energy for the same or better results.

If you are looking to get your home serviced for cellulose insulation, it is important to work with a reputable company. Contact Ecotelligent Homes to get your insulation installed by a professional to yield the best results for your home and environment.