Cellulose Insulation Production Has Low Environmental Impact
Recent headlines about protests over a proposed Rockwool Insulation Production Plant in Charles Town, WV raise valid concerns over the potential for environmental impacts.
This product is similar to fiberglass and foam insulation in that it requires heavy industrial production with unavoidable related environmental impacts. In the case of Rockwool, area residents are raising concerns over the proposed plant’s “emissions such as fine particulate matter and formaldehyde, from the two 213-foot tall stacks.”According to recent news reports on the protests, many area residents in this rural mountain community are also concerned about the visual impact of having “two 21-story smoke stacks” visible for miles.
Add to these environmental impacts, the high embodied energy required to produce the product, and clearly this is not a green Eco-friendly insulation.
The production of cellulose insulation results in almost no environmental impacts by comparison. Cellulose plants tend to be smaller, local or regional operations with small footprints. There are no smoke stacks because there is little heating required in the production process. Plants run on electricity from the local power grid. Consequently, there are no harmful emissions released into the environment. The raw material is over 80% waste paper that requires a very low-impact process to produce the finished product.
In addition, there is far less embodied energy in the production of cellulose insulation versus either wool, fiberglass or foam insulation. For example, as much as 64x more embodied energy is required to produce foam than is required for cellulose.
This plant will likely be built in spite of the protests. Change would be better effected at the economic level by lowering demand for such products. Consumers wishing to have excellent energy efficiency in their homes and buildings, while lowering the overall impact on the environment, would be wise to choose cellulose insulation. It just makes more sense to recycle paper into insulation than adding more greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the environment by producing products like rockwool from slag using giant blast furnaces or foam from petroleum.
High recovered content, low embodied energy, small environmental footprint and excellent insulating properties. Learn more about the Greenest of the Green cellulose insulation.