As many old buildings are torn down, environmentalists have found that the insulation in the walls releases harmful bi-products when destroyed. Another environmental issue is the disposal of the insulation material after demolition. Older insulation can rarely be recycled or re-used as the ultimate test of time proved them to be unsustainable. Many green building product companies have been working to develop new technologies in the building insulation industry. Here are 3 green building insulation products that are changing building construction today, as higher standards from LEED and other organizations demand more sustainable and efficient wall systems.
Icynene spray- This sprayed soft effectively prevents more than 90% of air infiltration while keeping out harmful allergens and pollution. An advantage it has over other insulation is that it can be sprayed into closed cavities and expand up to twice its initial volume. Unlike other harmful sprays it has no HCFCs and is formaldehyde free. Icynene products have R-values up to 4.
Cementitious- The most common product of this type of insulation is Air-Krete. This insulation product is popular because it is easily applied blown-in foam that hardens to be sound absorbing and fireproof. It is eco-friendly because it is non-toxic, contains very little volatile organic compounds, and is formaldehyde free. Cementitious insulations such as Air-Krete typically have an R value around 4.
Soy-based polyurethane- Another green insulation that is also spray foam is polyurethane with soy-based composition. These products are highly eco-friendly as they are made out of mostly recycled natural materials. As opposed to standard polyurethane foams the soy replaces the harmful petrochemicals that do not allow for mold growth that typically attracts household pests.
There are many other green insulation products that are being developed. Aerogel is in a league of its own as far as insulation goes. It is a new manufactured gel that is very low density making it a very efficient insulation. It is also environmentally safe.