Cellulose insulation is a smart alternative to fiberglass. It provides a green, efficient, non-toxic, affordable thermal solution that’s worth considering.

by Paul Fisette – © 2005

The thermal protection of a home is essential; controlling durability, cost of operation and homeowner comfort. Fiberglass insulation is the standard bearer. The ubiquitous bales of pink and yellow fiberglass insulate more than 90% of the new homes built in the United States. But homeowners have many good choices. Plastic foams, rock wool, cellulose and even cotton insulation are readily available. Insulation materials come in many forms. They are sprayed, stapled, blown, nailed or simply laid in place. The choices can be difficult to sift, but cellulose insulation passes as a strong contender.

The common standard by which insulation is measured, R-value, is the level of resistance to heat flow. R-value measures conductive resistance – the ability of a material to impede the flow of heat along the continuous chain of matter that makes up a solid material. Most of a home’s heat is typically lost through conduction. Cellulose is not unusual in this regard. Like many insulation materials, it provides an R-value of approximately R-3.5 per inch of thickness. But, air leakage through cracks, voids, and gaps is important, responsible for approximately one-third of an average home’s heat loss. Cellulose is a superb air-blocker. Heat and comfort are also lost through convection; when drafty currents of air within the house, wall cavities or attics, move heat to other locations. This is technically different from air leakage where the heated air mass is actually expelled from the home. Tightly packed cellulose provides a thermally efficient, cost effective, and comfortable solution.