How To – Denim Post Production Waste As An Insulation Alternative To Fiberglass

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    The use of fiberglass and foam insulation in homes has been widely accepted as the cheapest and most efficient method of reducing heat loss however there are organizations that are experimenting with the use of post manufacturing waste as an alternative.

    America and the world wears a lot of Denim and cotton products that produce huge amounts of waste for the manufacture. Although Cotton being a natural fiber will break down much quicker then a polyester or nylon reusing materials in manufacturing is always better then dumping them into a landfill.

    Fiberglass that has been used since the 1960’s on a large scale has its benefits. First the material is not flammable so it doesn’t need to be treated. The same is true for preventing pests. However there are some health concerns that have come to light in the past few years about the similarities of fiberglass particles and asbestos. The preliminary research shows that airborne fiberglass can remain in your lungs which could lead to severe irritation, lung damage or cancers.

    This is one reason that manufactures have started looking for friendly materials that can replace fiberglass.  It is a dirty secret that won’t come to light until there is a viable alternative that can be mass produced at the same levels and also maintain the properties of insulation, fire and pest prevention.

    A few companies have been working with post production waste from denim and other cotton manufacturing lines. Unfortunately the amount of material available is pretty low so even if large amounts of land was dedicated to grow cotton just for this reason the expense would be too high.

    With that in mind there are some that say cotton can be an alternative for specific installs.

    Denim Fiber offers an extremely high Noise Reduction Coefficient to effectively reduce airborne sound transmission including traffic, airplanes, radios, television, and conversation.

    Because the cotton does not contain formaldehyde or its use in manufacturing the off gassing of toxins that are found in foam insulation is reduced. However foam insulation has the ability to be sprayed into voids and cured in place. It can also prevent moisture transfer so it is good for external foundation insulation if the foam is closed cell. These features are not available in cotton insulation.

    Denim Insulation is manufactured in batt form and is unfaced. If your local building code requires the use of a vapor barrier, we recommend a poly sheeting to be applied across the insulated surface.

    So, with higher cost and the inability to use the material in many locations why should you consider this product?

    Well first since the manufacturing is limited to small groups of homes you may find that the manufacturer will cover the cost of the material and the install if you are willing to become part of their test group.

    And since insulation is about the amount of air that you can trap in the material whether it is fiberglass or cotton the R-Values should be pretty similar.

    Another consideration is if the occupants of the home have breathing problems. If the Cotton product is manufactured correctly and if they give you a full breakdown of chemicals used you may find it is better for some persons.

    However there are many alternative products already on the market that you can make use of. Blown cellulose insulation, rockwool insulation can be used in some limited areas and

     

    So are we trying to push you towards or scare you away from this product… neither. The benefits of this product will be apparent when you look at the way it is used.

    If it fits into your budget and is easily obtainable in your area then it is worth looking at.

    On the other hand if you need to order the product and wait weeks or pay more then a product that is right on the shelf.. maybe you should think twice.

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