Insulation is our number-one line of defense against high heating costs, and my favorite type of insulation is cellulose. Along with its effectiveness at slowing heat flow, cellulose insulation is a green product, made mostly out of an abundant waste product: old newspaper. Most cellulose insulation is manufactured by first chopping recycled newspaper into small pieces, about an inch square. In an older process, this chopped newspaper is further shredded using a hammer mill so that the smallest pieces are about a quarter-inch across. In most newer cellulose insulation plants, the chopped newspaper is fibered, a process that separates the individual fibers, producing a lower-density material, 1.3 to 1.5 pounds per cubic foot. The lower the density, the more insulating value you get for a pound of insulation.
Cellulose insulation provides R-3.2 to R-3.8 per inch, depending on how it is installed. With the wall insulation options described, the value will be at the higher end of that range. Most fiberglass does not insulate as well, because air can circulate through it more easily. This is also the reason that cellulose is actually better than fiberglass at stopping fires, as surprising as that sounds. From an environmental standpoint, it is a big bonus that cellulose insulation is made mostly from recycled newspaper, one of the largest components of our solid waste stream. Cellulose insulation makes sense on many levels: it saves fuel, saves money, and provides an end use for recycling programs. Advantage Development Co. Is a award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC and is a big believer in Blown Cellulose Insulation for higher performance, more energy efficient homes. Visit our website at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn more about us.