3 Eco-friendly Insulation Materials
Last modified: 2018/09/26 | Approximate reading time 3 mins
Insulation is a key step during the building or renovation process of a house. Nowadays, environmentally-friendly insulation materials have become essential elements, working to ensure the thermal comfort of a building’s occupants whilst saving energy alongside the environment. Here are three tips to insulate your house in a way that is respectful of the world around you:
1. Plant-based green insulation
Insulation materials that are made from plants tend to be more eco-friendly, with cork and straw being two prime examples. These plant-based materials work very well for a building’s thermal insulation, used on the outer surface of the house.
They can also be used indoors. In general, their thermal conductivity level is 0,040 W/m.°K. This low value indicates that they retain a lot of heat.
Here is a presentation of some of these materials:
Cork as an insulation material
Since this material works so well to conserve our favourite bottles of wine, why not use its strengths to insulate a home? Indeed, cork is a very interesting insulation material:
- Coming from the cork oak, cork is sold under several forms, including sheets, loose material and granules;
- This material is easy to install and is relatively inexpensive;
- Cork has an insulating value (R) of 3.7, which makes it very efficient;
- This material is also good for soundproofing;
- It is renewable and recyclable, which is an eco-friendly option in the long run.
Hay insulation materials
No, this is nothing like the home of one of the three little pigs in the famous children's story! Hay is actually an insulation material that can be very effective for home. Here are a few important details to know about this subject:
- As an insulation material, it is sold as bales or walls of hay;
- In general, hay is used to insulate outdoor walls;
- Available in Canada, hay is an economical insulation material;
- Its R-value is 2, which is quite efficient providing that the layer of insulation is thick enough;
- However, the insulation is relatively complicated and your house must be adapted accordingly.
2. Recycled eco-friendly materials
Recycled materials such as cellulose wadding are very successful. This particular product is made from recycled paper (old newspaper) and a mix of flame retardant additives and fungicides. Like with plant-based materials, the thermal conductivity level is low, 0,035 W/m.°K.
One of the best aspects about this product is the fact that it is self-extinguishing, meaning that it can burst into flames and quickly extinguish itself before the damage is too serious.
The characteristics of cellulose wadding
- Cellulose comes from wood. Therefore, cellulose wadding is made out of wood fibre or recycled newspaper;
- There are two installation techniques for cellulose wadding, which are by blowing or spurting out the material;
- Cellulose is also sold in the form of panels;
- This material fully covers the available space and does not require us to create sealed joints;
- Cellulose has an R-value of 3.7, which makes it a good insulation material;
- This material is very environmentally-friendly as it is recyclable and biodegradable.
3. Renewable energy as insulation
Renewable energy is one of the best ways to ensure that you are using an environmentally-friendly insulation method. Geothermal energy is one of the best resources for this type of purpose. Among other things, it can be used for water-heated floors.
These types of floors, also known as heating floors, act as a heating system which is installed underneath the floor surface. They are made of tubes which contain warm water that circulates through the ground, coming from a heat pump. This system works very well to heat the house from the inside.
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