Having a well-insulated home is a must when it comes to being eco-friendly -a lot of energy is wasted in heating and cooling houses that just allow warm and cool air to escape through drafty, poorly weatherproofed attics and roofs. Even so, some insulating materials are definitely greener than others. When it comes to properly insulting an attic or roof, there are several essential products to consider.
Before any new insulation is installed, it’s crucial to seal off air leaks. Keep an eye out for insulation that looks dirty, since this can indicate that air is blowing dust through it. Take a stick of incense into the attic and walk the perimeter– if there are major air leaks, the smoke from the incense will waver when you approach them. Once air leaks are detected and sealed, the attic and roof can be insulated.
First up is insulation that comes in rolls, akin to conventional fiberglass insulation. While it’s definitely possible to get environmentally friendly fiberglass that contains post-consumer recycled content, there are still some concerns when it comes to safely handling and installing it. As an alternative, consider cotton, recycled denim, or even wool insulation. These are all natural fibers treated with borate to repel pests, inhibit mold, and make them more flame-retardant. They come in rolls, just like fiberglass, but don’t require special masks, tools, or other equipment to safely handle, cut, and install them.
There are also environmentally sound forms of blown-in insulation. Cellulose fiber is made from recycled paper pulp treated with borate, and is one of the least expensive types of blown-in insulation. If cellulose fiber insulation isn’t an option, post-consumer recycled fiberglass is a viable alternative.
Some forms of open and closed-cell foam insulation are beginning to show up in more eco-friendly forms, too. Rather than being entirely based on petroleum byproducts and polyethylene, a percentage of these are comprised of agricultural products that come from food crops like soy. These can be used for the same things that regular foam can.
As the temperatures drop in Toronto, homeowners will begin to feel the pinch as their home heating costs rise. Fortunately, all it takes is a few years for homeowners to recoup the cost of insulating their homes in savings on their heating bills. Properly installed, eco-friendly attic and roof insulation can help slash fuel costs and keep homes feeling comfortable all year long.