FIBERGLASS INSULATION ISN’T THE MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY OPTION AVAILABLE
Most commercial and residential buildings standing today use fiberglass insulation to keep their building warm. It has become accepted as the industry standard in new construction and home renovations as the best option available. But does that “best option available” title take environmental impact into consideration? No, it primarily looks at performance in terms of R-value, ignoring how it effects the environment and how it effects the occupants of a building.
Can Fiberglass Insulation Be Harmful to You?
In short, yes it can. Fiberglass is the most common option used, and yet it releases irritating and potentially harmful fumes into your building and can contain formaldehyde, which has been linked to serious cancer risks. Do you really want those chemicals in the air in your office? No, no one does; but a building needs to be insulated to operate in an energy efficient way. So what are you to do if you want a green building but don’t want to breathe these harsh chemicals? Good news – you have many different choices if you want to avoid fiberglass insulation.
If you are going green and avoiding fiberglass, you might as well go all in and get a fully recycled material. There are insulation companies using old denim to insulate buildings, recycled plastic milk bottles, and old newspapers. Each of these three methods are treated to be fire retardant and don’t put off harsh chemical fumes or make you itch. Who would have thought that recycled insulation could outperform insulation manufactured for this exact purpose?
A Step Above Recycled
If using a recycled insulator in your building isn’t green enough for you and you want to bump it up a notch, there’s one more step above to really go green with your insulation: Structural Insulated Panels. These panels are made from straw previously used in the agriculture industry. That’s right, using old plants to insulate your building: it doesn’t get much greener than that. No chemical treatment is required with these naturally-occurring plants, so everyone is happy about that.
The way you insulate your building can be harmful to its inhabitants and harsh for the environment. Utilizing recycled insulation is a great way to receive comparable results while still being safe for the environment.