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Green Building Insulation

 

One of the most cost-effective ways of reducing the energy demand of a building is by using adequate insulation in walls, ceilings and underfloor.

Apart from selecting an insulation material that provides the highest level of thermal insulation, you should also consider the allergenic properties of the material and the environmental impact of manufacturing the insulating material. For instance, studies have shown that fibre glass insulation will save more energy in its first year of use than was required to create it.

Most countries have standards for domestic insulation, with regional ratings determined by local weather conditions.

Always buy the highest rating possible, so that your building performs better than the standard.

 

Recycled Insulation

Some insulation materials are manufactured with recycled materials:

  • Cellulose insulation - manufactured from recycled paper
  • Some wool insulations - use recycled scraps
  • Fibreglass insulation - can be specified with a recycled content as high as 70%. In spite of concern over health risks related to the use of glass fibre and mineral fibre insulation products, growing consensus claims that modern fibreglass and mineral fibre insulation products are safe.

 

Toxic Insulation

Insulation materials with CFCs and HCFCs should be avoided. These are considered ozone depleting chemicals. Make sure you check any expanded polystyrene insulation; this is often still manufactured with HCFCs.

 

Non-Toxic Insulation

The following insulation materials are considered good examples of green building materials:

Pink Batts - 80% recycled glass: http://www.pinkbatts.co.nz

Polygold® Premium Thermal Insulation - manufactured from glass fibres, bonded with a thermal setting resin. Used in both wall and roof cavities. Also has excellent sound absorption properties. http://www.alsynite.co.nz

EcoWrap Cylinder Wrap - made from non-irritant polyester fibres to minimise heat loss from domestic electric hot-water cylinders.

GreenStuf Thermal And Acoustic Insulation - made from user-friendly non-irritant polyester This product is dust free, mould , mildew, vermin, insect and rot resistent. http://www.autex.co.nz

Retrotherm Underfloor Polystyrene Insulation
- designed for retrofitting, making it ideal for renovations. Sits flush against the sub floor between floor joists, glued in place using any water based glue or using a clip system. Produced in 1.2 metre panels, 60mm thick in three widths to fit most floor joists.

Duo High Density PU Foam - roof insulation with a core of hard Polyurethane foam, coated on two sides with a bituminous glass-fleece of 475 g/m². CFC’ free. Specifically designed for the 'hot roof' and suitable to use with hot bitumen and torch-on waterproofing systems wtih ventilated base layer. http://www.deboer.be

Ecofleece - 100% pure New Zealand wool, polymer insulation blanket is naturally fire-retardant, non-irritant, non-allergenic, non-toxic, odourless, and fully recyclable. Available in natural ecofleece and recycled ecofleece. Additional moth and fire retardants can be added if required. Product Information: http://www.ecoinsulation.co.nz

Expol Styro-Drain - used against retaining walls after the water proofing membrane or tanking has been applied, to secure the sheets to the wall before back filling. Product Information: http://www.expol.co.nz

HotBloc® And RibRaft® Insulation
- support energy and comfort benefits of thermal storage capabilities of solid concrete construction. Layered either side of concrete block walls. Product Information: http://www.firth.co.nz

Terra Lana Wool Pipe Lagging - manufactured from jute reinforced, recycled wool; needle felted and slit to standard widths. The manufacturing process uses a minimum of energy and the product is 100% recyclable. Product Information: http://www.terralana.co.nz

Check your local energy efficiency authority for any grants and low interest loans to improve your home insulation.

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