What Is The Most Eco-Friendly Insulation Material?

Products that are eco-friendly may promote zero waste, use ethical practices, be reusable, recyclable, or sustainable. Here are some great examples.
Pug needs some eco-friendly insulation

Insulation helps reduce your energy costs in addition to keeping you warm in the winter (or cool in the summer).

In a typical home, insulation can save 45% on electricity per year, according to Sustainability Victoria.

You can reduce your impact on the environment by using less electricity to modify the temperature in your home. In addition, many insulation products are recyclable.

Insulation also dampens noise, so you’re reducing noise pollution, and using eco-friendly materials that are flame-retardant and safe to breathe is a smart decision.

Being eco-friendly is more than a buzzword these days, it’s becoming a lifestyle choice.

What Does ‘Eco-Friendly’ Mean?

The term “eco-friendly” refers to something that is not harmful to the environment. 

It differs from being “green”, which benefits the environment directly. 

Instead, these are products that don’t harm living things or their surroundings.

Products that are eco-friendly may promote zero waste, use ethical practices (e.g., not tested on animals), be reusable, recyclable, or sustainable.

Environmentally friendly products are made from safe and sustainable materials, save energy, and lower manufacturing costs.

Different Types Of Eco-Friendly Insulation

Fibreglass insulation, for example, may cost less than other types of insulation, but it is hardly sustainable. 

Making fibreglass insulation is energy-intensive – often up to 10 times more than some  eco-friendly alternatives. 

The materials in fibreglass insulation can also cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritations. 

These three types of insulation are natural:

  • Animal-based insulators: sheep wool and more.
  • Plant-based insulators: hemp, cotton, cellulose, wood fibre, cork and more.
  • Mineral-based insulators: clay and others.

Natural insulation can be installed in batt or blanket rolls, or loose-fill, spray-in foams. Some common eco-friendly insulation materials include: glasswool, polyester, sheep’s wool, cellulose and earthwool. Let’s break down what makes them unique.

Cellulose Insulation

Approximately 80-85% of cellulose insulation is made up of recycled papers and newsprint, while the rest consists of borax, boric acid, and sulfate of ammonium, which aids in making the fibres more fire-resistant. Cellulose wadding is sold loose for blow-in installation (which is less expensive), or as boards.

Polyester Insulation

Polyester insulation material is the same used in pillows and doonas. User-friendly and great for allergy or asthma sufferers, Polyester batts are the popular choice for safety and ease of installation. It is also very effective for floor insulation as it copes well with moisture, odours, heat and cold weather. The product is recyclable and safe to touch. It is constructed from recyclable and safe synthetic materials. ECO Home Insulation offers a polyester insulation solution.

Cotton (Denim) Insulation

Cotton (denim) is more expensive than fibreglass, but it comes in batts too, though these are  formaldehyde-free. Being natural and renewable, it is incredibly eco-friendly. Besides being a natural insect repellent, it doesn’t cause any respiratory problems. 

Woolcell Insulation

Woolcell is a pump-in material combining natural Australian wool, recycled paper, Borax and Boric acid (healthy salts used in everyday household products). Woolcell is environmentally and user friendly. It provides 100% coverage, is fire retardant and vermin resistant. It reduces mould (perfect for those with asthma and allergies) and has very good acoustic insulation properties. ECO Home Insulation can help you with a woolcell option for your home.

Cork Insulation

Cork is lightweight, rot-proof, waterproof, fire- and termite-resistant, and easy to work with. The material is made of the outer bark of trees and is natural, renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable. It has a negative carbon footprint once it is produced. Additionally, it is hypoallergenic, free of toxins, and is soundproof. Whether used on the exterior of a house or on the facade, it is also an effective siding, insulation, and noise-reducing material.

Hemp/Flax Insulation

Flax or hemp insulation is harder to obtain and produce, having originated in Europe. Among the benefits of this material are: soundproofing, moisture control (prevents mold), and fire resistance. It comes in blocks, rolls, and also granules. The hemp pallet captures approximately 100 kg of CO2.

Wood Fibre

As an exterior insulation material, wood fibreboard is often used. You can also use it closer to the interior. In the US, one popular brand consists of 95% wood (spruce/fir, post-industrial, and recycled wood), 4% polyurethane, and about 1% paraffin. 

Expanded Clay aggregate

A clay pellet is a small pellet that expands at high temperatures and becomes thin, porous, and weight-bearing. As an insulator and aggregate, they can be used in foundations. Although they have excellent insulation properties, they are very energy intensive.

Reflective Insulation

It is ideal for hot and sunny climates because it deflects radiant heat. Basically, it’s a layer of foil laminated to a sheet of paper or plastic. You can either install it independently within a wall or below a roof, or install it with bulk insulation for a true hybrid system. The performance of reflective surfaces is greatly reduced when dust settles on them.

How Eco-Friendly Is It?

The best eco-friendly insulation material for your home depends on the manufacturing process, the materials used, and the toxicity of the product.

Consumers are not yet able to take advantage of cost savings associated with sustainable products due to their lack of economies of scale.

When looking for organic products, you need to consider the whole journey the material takes, including the processing of the final product.

The greater dedication to eco-friendly products that are made with environmentally friendly production practices will ultimately result in employers spending more on these products, thereby increasing the consumer’s purchasing power.

Why Your Home’s R-Value Matters

Materials from the past may not meet current insulation industry standards, which specify R-Value requirements. Check your R-Value for your climate zone, as different conditions require different R-Values.

Source: Canstar

Insulation must be installed correctly for your home or business to perform correctly, and every property is unique, so many factors need to be considered. 
Download our FREE guide to learn more about the insulation options available for your home. Have a chat with us today to discuss what insulation solution works best for you – 1300 331 366

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