Green Alternatives to Traditional Insulation

When it comes to the construction of a tiny house there are many options to consider.  While some options might not have been an option in a larger home because of magnitude, in a smaller house you might consider more expensive options which offer huge advantages because you are only using it on a much smaller scale.  newspaper-installation

Reprinted: Planet Green By Josh Peterson Los Angeles, CA, USA  Wed Jun 10

Insulation is so important to energy-efficiency and reducing global warming that the government will help you insulate your house. Over half of your home’s energy consumption goes towards heating or cooling your domicile. That’s why proper insulation is paramount to green living. Switching off lights and unplugging appliances are all well and good, but if you want to make the biggest difference in your home, insulate it. Check out these green forms of insulation.

1. Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation can be added to existing homes. Insulating an old house is greener than building a new one. Spray foam will last indefinitely, so your home will be warm for generations to come. Spray foam doesn’t harm indoor air quality, it doesn’t promote bacterial growth and it keeps moisture and rot out.

2. Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose Insulation, sometimes called newspaper Insulation is insulation made from three-fourths recycled content: Newspapers, corncobs, straw, etc. The last fourth is flame-resistant chemicals.

Planet Green

The materials that compose cellulose don’t contribute to global warming, and they are not known to cause health problems in those who manufacture the product. Plus, manufacturing cellulose insulation doesn’t require as much energy as manufacturing other forms of insulation. The incombustible chemicals, borax and boric acid, are also easier to mine than the chemicals found in fiberglass insulation.

3. Denim Insulation

If you like post-consumer insulation, then you’ll love denim insulation. Old blue jeans are used to make natural fiber insulation. This insulation is made out of 85% post-industrial cotton fiber and is treated with a natural fire retardant. There are no VOC problems with this insulation and you can recycle it.

4. Straw

Straw bale houses are truly amazing. Straw insulation has the capacity to decrease heating costs by seventy-five percent. Straw has long been considered an agricultural waste product, so insulating with it reduces waste. You’ll also be happy to know that straw-bale insulation is fire resistant, provides good air quality and reduces noise pollution.

  1. The corollary to the point that "green" insulation is more affordable on a small house is that "non-green" is proportionally less harmful too.

    You also need to consider that green insulation tends, for the same U- or R-value, to be thicker than the corresponding petrochemical or mineral-based insulation. For a small inside floor area this makes proportionally more difference to the outside skin area of the building (because the extra thickness at the corners contributes more) and therefore will cause more materials to be used. Perhaps the thicker corners may be more complicated to construct leading to more problems with cold bridging. This could also apply to window reveals.

    In a tiny house which is designed to be mobile height can be critical to practicality and thick insulation in the floor and roof could break the deal.

    Green insulation is usually more expensive (otherwise it would be the mainstream method in the first place). Taking the other points here into account, maybe it would be better to spend that money in other ways; e.g., spend it on better quality appliances which use less energy.

  2. Have you read anything about using wool as insulation? I usually see it discussed in the UK as a green insulation option due to greater availability. :).


Leave a Reply