Cellulose Insulation – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Made from consumer paper products, cellulose insulation typically contains about 85 percent recycled content. Using this green building material can effectively lower the carbon footprint of your home or business property. Essentially, this is because cellulose insulation is plant cell matter that is still storing the carbon sequestered when it was alive. Responsible management of the US forestry industry has led to a sustainable supply of planted trees, which are a highly renewable resource for both building and paper products. Combining…

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Panama Jungle Features Plastic Bottle Village

Far south, a few degrees north of the Equator, the plastic bottle is being smartly repurposed as a residential building insulation material. We visit Panama, where on an 83-acre jungle locale, 90 to 120 planned homes will be insulated by thousands of plastic bottles which have been recovered from the waste stream. The individual behind the scenes of this eco-village named Plastic Bottle Village is Robert Bezeau, a Canadian with a passion for managing and cleaning the waste left behind from the…

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90% of US Homes Are Under Insulated, Study Says

Boosting Insulation Could Cut Energy Costs, Reduce CO2 Emissions and Increase Comfort Based on new research, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) estimates that roughly 90 percent of existing US single family homes are under insulated, wasting energy and money, and decreasing comfort for homeowners. “If all U.S. homes were fitted with insulation based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), residential electricity use nationwide would drop by about 5 percent and natural gas use by more than…

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Doors and windows effect R-value of a building

What Affects the R-Value of a Building?

This is part two of our posts on R-value. Read the first post to get a definition of R-value and find out what it means to you. Doors and Windows As much as we love, and need, doors and windows, they are not good for a building’s insulation value. Doors open and close, allowing air to move freely inside and out. Additionally, it can be tough to completely seal the gap around a door, causing even more air leakage when…

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R-value of building insulation

What Is R-Value and What Does It Mean To You?

What Is R-Value? Simply put, R-value is a measurement of how insulating a building material is, protecting one side from the heat or cold on the other side. A higher R-value means that a material insulates better than one with a lower value. In order to get an idea of what these values are, here are a few examples of common building materials and their R-values: 1/2″ drywall – 0.45 1/2″ plywood – 0.62 4″ wide brick – 0.80 1″…

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Green Alternatives to Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation can help save up to 50% in energy costs, protect a building from moisture intrusion, and provide sound insulation. In addition, it provides two to three times more insulation that traditional fiberglass. However, according to Environmental Working Group, most common spray polyurethane foam insulation contains methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, or MDI, a synthetic chemical linked to asthma, lung damage and even death. “Because of the chemical’s risks, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set the maximum legal…

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Create Thermal Barriers to Stay Warm and Save

The importance of properly insulating your home should be quite apparent at this point. Creating thermal barriers in the home to prevent heat moving from one place to another can save a lot of money on heating and cooling costs and help keep living and working spaces more comfortable. There are many effective ways to create thermal barriers in the building envelope. You can find tips on how to do weather stripping to fiberglass windows (or other energy efficient windows) to studs…

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Blue Jeans Go Green

Blue Jeans Go Green, Become Building Insulation

Want to donate your old blue jeans to a good cause and help the environment at the same time? Drop them off at J.Crew or Madewell stores now through the December 31, 2014, and they will be sent to their next life as insulation material in a building! Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling drive started in August, and both J.Crew and Madewell retail stores have decided to extend the drive until year-end for J.Crew, and January 31,…

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Is There a Problem With the Net Zero Energy Standard?

Residential and commercial buildings consume 40% of all the energy used in the United States every year; so it makes sense that we should strive to cut that usage as much as possible. The Net Zero concept promotes structures that create as much energy as they consume, usually through the use of solar energy panels or wind driven generators. They also focus on reducing the amount of heat that escapes from the interior of our buildings by employing passive solar designs,…

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Indow Window Inserts Keep Heat In, Drafts Out

Sam Pardue, a former engineer at Intel, owns a 1906 Craftsman home in Portland, Oregon. “It has beautiful divided-light windows, with rippling glass,” says Pardue. “But I’m an environmentalist, and wanted energy efficiency at the same time.” To make his home more energy efficient while preserving the natural beauty of his original windows, he skipped installing new windows and invented acrylic window inserts that press into place without any screws, nails or attaching hardware. His idea was so successful, he formed…

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new insulation in a wall

New Windows, Insulation Star in Green Home Upgrade

Holland and Nick Brown of Long Beach, California have been upgrading their home to Net Zero standards and blogging about their experience for AOL. At the start of their project, their house had no insulation, and old-fashioned, single pane windows. Adding insulation and installing new windows that are more energy efficient are the two most important ways to reduce unwanted heat gain or loss in any structure. Of the two, the Browns found that insulating their walls to bring them up…

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Waxed Cardboard Insulation Comes From Produce Boxes

Students at Portland State University have developed a new insulation material made from shredded waxed cardboard produce boxes. The insulation helps local grocery stores sustainably dispose of the boxes and could provide low-cost energy savings. PSU assistant architecture professor Margarette Leite heard that many local grocery stores were looking for a way to sustainably dispose of their waxed cardboard produce boxes. The boxes have traditionally gone into the store’s compostable waste, but because of the wax coating it can take…

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Fiberglass insulation from Owens Corning

Green Materials Report – Fiberglass Insulation

This post is part of the green materials report series. GBE is providing information on various building materials and what makes them green. Each post focuses on one material. We will be looking at the ingredients in the material, how it is used, what makes green materials green, and any green product certifications that it has earned. We hope to develop a database of information to help consumers make informed choices about what goes in their buildings.   Fiberglass insulation is a…

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Internal Wall Insulation Could Save You and Your Family Up to £460 Per Year

How to Save on Your Energy Bills The recent hike in energy prices has left many families struggling to keep up with inflated rates for gas and electricity. In extreme cases, people are being forced to choose between eating and heating, as the ‘big six’ energy companies dominate the UK energy market and take their cues from each other when it comes to increasing prices. Whether you’re looking to save on your energy bills or do your bit to protect…

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Guest Post: Three Game-Changing Building & Construction Innovations in 2014

Guest writer Michael Craig provides GBE readers with this glimpse of important construction and building innovations he is looking at this year. Radical advancements that will significantly impact building and construction concerns in 2014 and beyond By Michael Craig With the construction industry on the upswing, with 2013 construction starts on the whole advancing 6% to $516.8 billion over the year prior according to McGraw Hill Construction (a division of McGraw Hill Financial), attentions are turning to emerging building methodologies,…

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