Home insulation is important especially when the cold weather starts to hit and heat is hard to come by. However, modern home insulation methods aren’t exactly the greenest around, and it can do more harm than good to the environment around us. This doesn’t mean home insulation is a completely impossible endeavor, however, as there are ways to insulate your home without damaging the environment.
In Europe alone, 2.5-million tons of waste has been released by the 28-member bloc back in 2014, which has been the largest number of environment waste produced by both households and economic activity from 2004 to 2014. The number of waste produced also depends largely on the economic size and population of the area. In the United States, as much as 254-million tons of trash has been generated in 2013 – this means a single person produces 4.40 pounds of waste every day. These range from batteries, paint, appliances, newspapers, food scraps, bottles, clothing, furniture, and product packaging, among others. Given these numbers, insulating the home can sometimes be a worrying thing – however it can actually be done without damaging the environment too much. How can we make this work?
1.) What about wool? Did you know that a lot of the world’s sheep live in some of the harshest environments known to man? For instance, dall sheep can live in the cold temperatures of the Arctic, and their wool has helped them adapt to these rather frigid conditions. Scientists have since then tried checking what is it in wool that makes it such an efficient form of insulation.
- Compressing wool fibers can help emphasize their inner strengths, as millions of air pockets are formed in the process. These pockets trap air which can help animals be cold in the summer and keep warm in the winter.
- Wool is also breathable, which means it’s susceptible for moisture absorption without hurting any of its capacity to retain heat. This is because the outer layer of wool fiber is water resistant, and its inner layers can absorb a third of its weight in various kinds of moisture without even ever becoming damp.
- Insulating your home with wool means not only going at it for an eco-friendly and cost-friendly manner, but in a way that wouldn’t even require you to make too many adjustments to your cooling and heating systems.
2.) What about cotton? When it comes to useful insulators, cotton isn’t just decoration. Did you know that a lot of cotton that isn’t used in textiles actually gets recycled into insulators? This is because cotton is actually a renewable and natural resource, making it one of the best environmentally-friendly insulation products available.
- One of the primary advantages of cotton is its ability to be rolled into batts or groupings that make it sturdier and insulate better, similar to fiberglass.
- However, unlike fiberglass, cotton doesn’t have any trace of formaldehyde. This means cotton won’t potentially cause any respiratory problems, but at the same time be very efficient when it comes to absorbing moisture.
- Cotton as an insulator is a great choice since it can also serve as an insect repellent, but this can be an expensive option.
3.) What about aerogel? Aerogel was first invented by Samuel Stephens Kistler back in 1931. The material is more than 90-percent air, which makes it extremely light. Its molecular structure too makes it extremely hard for any semblance of heat to pass through it, which means it’s quite the efficient source of insulation.
- As an insulator, aerogel can come packed in various sheets that can easily be placed on walls. They come in very cheap too, which means they can easily be your cost-friendly alternative to heating and cooling systems.
4.) What about Icynene? Icynene is quite an interesting insulator as its application is unique compared to the other insulation methods that were enumerated. Icynene is actually made from castor oil, and is applied via spray-on foam. What makes it more puzzling is that the spray-on first appears as thick as paint, and then expands to up to 100 times its initial volume. This creates quite a huge blanket of insulation.
- Icynene not only gets to seal air (and therefore drafts), it’s also very capable of muffling noise. It can even reduce your home’s bill by 30 to 50-percent if you use it.
- Icynene works by using tiny bubbles to trap air during the foaming process. Water vapor is allowed to be released from the foam, which avoids the formation of molds.
- As much as it’s quite an appealing tool at first glance, it can cost three times as much as fiberglass. It’s also very strict as an insulator, as it completely seals a house that builders need to install a separate ventilation system to make Icynene insulation work.
The Bottomline: Creativity Pays
When it comes to insulating your home in an eco-friendly manner, it’s important to understand that sometimes the greenest ways to do this tend to be the most creative and resourceful. As such, try to see which of the above ways might work best for your home, as these methods are not just potentially beneficial for the environment, but you can get your money’s worth in saving up resources but at the same time answer your insulation woes.
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