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Healthy Alternative Insulation: Top 4

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

Insulation is an often overlooked, yet critical component of our buildings and homes. We all rely on insulation to keep us warm in the winter time and cool in the summer. As standards and architectural requirements trend towards energy conservation and higher performance, insulation is increasingly recognized as a pathway to improving how our homes perform and feel. The US insulation market is expected to grow 5.7% by 2021. When we take a closer look at conventional insulation products, many health, environmental, and safety issues come to light.

There are very few insulation products that are heathy, environmentally friendly, and safe to use. These green insulation products are the best healthy alternative insulation products of 2020:

1. Sheep Wool

Natural wool is a common alternative insulation product. Wool insulation offers many benefits to consumers, such as its:

strong moisture absorption and desorption capabilities

improved acoustics, as wool is a natural sound blocking material

lack of carcinogens, which eliminates skin, eye, or respiratory irritation during the installation process. While sheep wool is a good alternative, it lacks the density of other insulation materials, causing it to be less effective over time. It is also sourced from animals, which is becoming increasingly less popular in our plant-based trending world.

2. Denim

It turns out your blue jeans from high school can take an afterlife - as building insulation. Recycled denim insulation is a good alternative for interior walls in bedrooms or home theaters, due to its sound absorbing qualities. Denim insulation does not contain harmful components like volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde, and the manufacturing process is generally waste-free. With higher acoustic ratings than traditional insulation materials, environmentally friendly denim can be a good choice. It does however, have some issues dealing with moisture.

3. Earth

If you've got the right type of soils, not to mention the time and the labor, building with earthen materials sourced from the property is the most sustainable way to build. Rammed earth has become a popular alternative insulation building approach in the deserts of the southwest. It performs as a thermal mass wall, helping store and release heat. Drawbacks of earthen building strategies are they are extremely labor intensive and require a very specific design program.

4. Hemp

There is no healthier insulation building material than plant based products from industrial hemp.

Hemp has been used as a building material since as early as 1,500 years ago, found in the Ellora Caves in India. This UNESCO world Heritage Site has remnants of hemp building material that has shielded the caves from decay. Industrial Hemp is often grown for its stalks which produce fiber and a woody biomass. Once processed, the fiber and hemp core are ideal building material components.

Hemp core is critical to hemp lime hempcrete formulations. When mixed in specific proportion and combined with water, hemp & lime sets up and solidifies by absorbing CO2. The resulting composite is insulating, fireproof, non toxic, and long lasting.

The fibers of industrial hemp are the key component to HempWool insulating fiber batts. These insulation panels have R3.7 per inch, and they are pressure fit for a tight insulation job. No gloves are required for HempWool, they are 100% non-abrasive and non-toxic. HempWool does a great job of dealing with moisture since it is vapor permeable. You never have to worry about mold!

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