Going green doesn’t stop with recycling and fortunately, for those of you looking into new insulation options, cotton insulation is as green as they come. Not only is cotton insulation made from renewable and recycled resources, but it presents far fewer health hazards compared to the more prevalent fiberglass insulation.
These aren’t the only benefits cotton insulation brings to your home. See all cotton insulation has to offer.
Cotton Insulation Materials
To really understand how green cotton insulation is, we have to go to the source. Cotton insulation is made from shredded denim scraps discarded by denim manufacturers. To think, your old denim jeans could be made into your home’s insulation. By contrast, fiberglass insulation is made from batts, or blankets of insulation (glass) that have been woven together that include a paper or foil moisture barrier. As you can see, cotton insulation has a far less impact on the environment and thus, is healthier for you and the planet.
Cotton Insulation is Easier to DIY
Since cotton insulation is literally made of old denim, it is perfectly safe to handle, touch and install in your home by yourself. Unlike fiberglass or mineral wool insulation, cotton insulation releases no fibers into the air and has a boric acid solution attached to it, providing an extra blanket of security in case of a fire.
If you do choose to install the insulation yourself, cotton is much easier than fiberglass. Sadly, fiberglass insulation installation can cause skin irritation and possibly, serious respiratory issues. Furthermore, installation of too much batt insulation in your attic could lead to problems with household ventilation. Basement and crawl space insulation efforts could be complicated as well. Therefore, if you do decide to go with fiberglass insulation, we highly recommend hiring a professional.
The Downfalls of Cotton Insulation
When it comes to insulation, most homeowners just want to know how effective the material is. Insulation is all about keeping the exterior elements out and your heating and air conditioning in. The insulation industry judges that effectiveness by the R-value. The R-value tells you how well that material insulates your home. According to our friends at HomeAdvisor, cotton insulation, generally, has an R-value of three to four per inch, while fiberglass ranges from five to seven per inch. Therefore cotton insulation is not as effective as fiberglass insulation.
Nonetheless, to balance it out, homeowners tend to install more cotton insulation than you would for fiberglass. As you might expect, price quickly becomes a factor. Unfortunately, cotton insulation costs about 15%-20% more than fiberglass insulation.
The Final Decision
It’s hard to argue against price and utility, but like all important decisions, there are certain intangibles at play. We don’t have to consider the environment, but like most humans, we do. We don’t have to consider health (after installation), since neither will cause serious damage, but more often than not, we do.
In the end, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to home insulation. However, if you want to go green and save a tree or two, cotton insulation is your best bet.