Insulation is a well known way to improve energy consumption in a home. Fiberglass has been the traditional material that has been used for insulation. EnviroCitizen.org has found that there are new ways to insulate a home that are a bit safer than using fiberglass because they use natural materials.
Cotton taken from recycled denim is becoming a great building material. One brand, UltraTouch, is a company that has years in the building materials business. They specialize in cotton insulation, made from 85 percent post-industrial denim. UltraTouch is made from high quality natural fibers. These fibers contain qualities that provide extremely effective sound absorption and optimal thermal performance. UltraTouch contains no chemical irritants and requires no warning labels compared to other traditional products. There are no VOC concerns, which are common to most traditional building materials. UltraTouch is also a Class-A Building Product and meets the highest ASTM testing standards for fire and smoke ratings, fungi resistance and corrosiveness. It is also 100 percent recyclable.
Another great sustainable material is wool. Wool insulation is made from sheep wool that has been mechanically bonded together to form insulating batts and ropes. Batts are commonly used in timber-frame buildings and ropes are primarily used between the logs in log homes. Sheep wool is a renewable, recyclable material that does not endanger the human health or the environment. There are no VOCs in wool insulation either. Wool is a highly effective insulating material that has been used throughout human history for insulating people in the form of clothing. Mongolian nomads also used felted and woven sheep wool pads as an insulating layer on the walls and floors of their dwellings called ger or yurts. Wool for insulation is starting to rise in popularity. It is used more in Europe, Australia and Canada, but there are manufacturers who are talking about expanding into to the US.
Fungi grow in conditions that are dark and moist. Being on the inside of walls makes this an ideal environment for them. A renewable source of sustainable insulation from mushrooms that also acts as a firewall (and could even be grown into a whole house) was invented at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and is planned to be commercialized under the label Greensulate by Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre. It may be put to use as soon as they are satisfied with their research and feel their technology is enough to meet demand.
The insulation is created by pouring a mixture of insulating particles, hydrogen peroxide, starch and water into a panel mold. Mushroom spores are then injected into the mold, where they digest the starch producing a tightly meshed network of insulating particles and mycelium. The end result is an organic composite board phenomenally resistant to heat flow and able to serve as a firewall.
EnviroCitizen.org encourages you to consider alternative insulation as it provides better air quality for those living within the home while preserving the earth by not using harsh or dangerous chemicals.