Insulation is a well known way to improve energy use in a home. Fiberglass has been the traditional material that has been used for insulation. There have been new ways to insulate a home since then that are a bit safer than using fiberglass because they use natural materials, so natural, that they could have once come from your closet.
Cotton, used from recycled denim is becoming a great building material. One brand, UltraTouch, is a company that has had years in the building materials business. They specialize in cotton insulation, made from 85% post-industrial denim. The insulation is made from high quality natural fibers. These fibers contain inherent qualities that provide for extremely effective sound absorption and optimal thermal performance. The 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% 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 human health or the environment. There are no VOC’s in wool insulation either. Wool is a highly effective insulating material that has been used throughout human history 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. 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 United States.