If you are building a new house and are thinking of what materials to use as insulation, you should know that your choices are not limited to the traditional synthetic insulating materials. There are a variety of natural and ecofriendly choices available that can work just as well as synthetic materials and help to reduce the carbon footprint of your house.
Sheep have naturally evolved to insulate themselves against the harsh climates that they live in. Their wool offers great protection against the cold and insulates their bodies. You can bring the same insulation to your house by using sheep’s wool in your walls. Compressed wool fibers have millions of air pockets in them that trap air and insulate the house. Wool is also breathable which means that it can absorb the moisture in the air around it and this will not affect its insulating qualities. The outer layer of the fiber is resistant to water and can absorb a lot of water without feeling damp. In fact, wool can generate heat when it becomes damp which prevents condensation and moisture damage. Sheep’s wool is one of the most effective insulating materials available.
Cotton insulation is made from recycled scrap cotton denim and other materials. It is also a sustainable resource and is on the most environmentally friendly insulating materials you can use. It is also easy to install as it comes in batts like fibreglass. While fibreglass contains formaldehyde which can cause cancer, cotton does not. It also absorbs moisture well after it is treated with boric acid. This also makes it fire retardant and insect retardant. However, cotton insulation can be expensive and can most almost twice as much as fibreglass.
Aerogel is one of the most efficient insulating materials by weight and size. Aerogel is extremely light and is about 90% air which makes it an excellent insulator. It is made by removing the liquid from silica using high temperature and pressure points. Aerogel comes in sheets that can be installed very easily just by tacking it to the studs in the wall. There are also peel and stick varieties available that are even easier to install. However, Aerogel can get very expensive when insulating large areas of wall as it can sell for up to $2 a foot. This is because of its extreme effectiveness.
Using these green insulating materials will help protect the environment and give you a lot of savings in energy bills. Ask your contractor about the choices available to you to make sure you pick the right fit.