Why Use UltraTouch Insulation?
Most homes built before 1989 were constructed without floor insulation. “Heat rises” was the theory, so attics were insulated, then walls. In reality, while warm air does usually (but not always!) rise, heat itself does not rise – it simply moves from warm areas to cold areas. Floor temperature also largely determines comfort, as the floors are the only surface of the home that we regularly make contact with. If your home’s floors aren’t insulated, or are badly insulated, UltraTouch recycled denim insulation is an excellent choice for this application. UltraTouch can also be used to insulate attics, as well as vaulted ceilings and walls that have been opened for construction.
By far, fiberglass has been the most common insulation product in homes. Most floors are insulated with batts – rectangular panels of insulation that can be trimmed to fit inside cavities. Most fiberglass batts have one face covered with a thin asphalt paper, which is designed to limit the transfer of water vapor. Fiberglass batts are also commonly installed in walls, ceilings, and attics. For years, fiberglass was ubiquitous. Few alternatives existed, especially for batt insulation that could easily be installed in open floor cavities.
As the building industry moves to reduce energy consumption, cut embodied energy in building materials, and reduce occupant exposure to harmful substances in our building materials, these materials are being scrutinized ever more closely. Unfortunately, fiberglass, though it is inexpensive and easy to find, has drawbacks. The production process involves heating the raw material – sand – to temperatures above 2500 degrees Fahrenheit, a very energy-intensive process. Widely known to cause irritation to skin, fiberglass is also known to be a respiratory irritant. Both OSHA and the EPA warn that fiberglass may be carcinogenic, and most insulation off-gasses formaldehyde. And when the fiberglass is removed during a renovation, or if the home is eventually demolished, fiberglass will linger in a landfill for over a million years without decomposing.
UltraTouch recycled denim insulation functions like fiberglass batt insulation, but does not suffer from the health and environmental drawbacks of fiberglass. Since it is made from post-production waste, its embodied energy is much lower than fiberglass, and its production keeps waste out of landfills. Ultratouch uses borate, widely considered to be benign in small quantities, to retard fire, mold, and pests. And when UltraTouch goes to the landfill, the decomposition time is closer to five to ten years.
Any insulation product will insulate, and save hundreds of times the energy consumed in creating the material. But when it comes to the health of the person installing the material, the health of the people living in the home, and the life cycle of the material, natural materials such as cellulose and Ultratouch provide equal or superior performance with much less harm than synthetic products like fiberglass.
Copyright September 2014 by Advanced Home Energy
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