Welcome to the Search for Green Ideas!

At the Cellulose Insulation Manufactures Association (CIMA), we believe we have the “Greenest” product in the world.

Whether or not you are convinced of climate change, or any other threats to the environment, it is clear that mankind has had a dramatic effect on the planet since the Industrial Revolution. We believe it’s just common sense to embrace ideas that minimize impacts to the environment and to select products that have a positive effect on people’s lives and the environment.

This blog focuses on Cellulose insulation, other ideas for green products and stories about all things related to energy efficiency and environmental awareness. We encourage an open dialogue with questions, comments and submission of stories and other uniquely green products. Our goal is to educate, relate and demonstrate environment stewardship, and perhaps also earn the title “Greenest of the Green”.

Subscribe and receive notices whenever a new idea or story is posted. Join in the discussion any time with a comment on a post or a question. We are happy to hear from you.

Visit Cellulose.org to learn more about cellulose insulation and the Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association.

  1. M says:

    Nice to see this also considers energy used to create the product… a lot of people overlook that / manufacturers try to hide that.

  2. macroview says:

    I think this site should be forwarded to all the university professors teaching building construction and architecture. There must be many “green” projects that students are getting involved in; they could probably add some interesting dialogue and learn about the great performance characteristics of cellulose insulation.

  3. Vicky says:

    Verry interesting tool for the insulation manifacturers.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for this site it has been a wonderful inspiration!

  5. Mez says:

    Thankyou so much for this site it has been a wonderful inspiration!!

  6. Your site has been a great inspiration and the knowledge gained has gotten me past the obstacle blocking my way.

  7. Love the new look, keep up the great work the number of visitors must have increased?.

  8. solar panels says:

    Great site, I now have you bookmarked to come back again.

  9. I knew about other eco insulation options (http://ecofuture.net/design/eco-insulation/) Cellulose sounds very inspiring too. But isn’t it hazardous to forests?

  10. Good to see that people still know what they are talking about. So much BS around these days!

  11. Krishnan Karuppannan says:

    There is no substitute for Cellulose Insulation.

  12. Krishnan Karuppannan says:

    There is no subsitute for Cellulose Insulation.

  13. CIMA says:

    Since cellulose insulation can’t “crackle” what most likely happened in the fire case reported below is that the overheated wires ignited ceiling joists. The cellulose insulation may have saved the lives of this family and their pets by keeping the fire contained—as the fire service spokesman said it was.
    Dan Lea

    Family safe after home fire

    By Hillary Gavan
    Published: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 3:31 PM CDT

    With the help of the Beloit Fire Department, Dynel Thorpe, her brother Max Thorpe, their mother, several dogs and a cat all escaped their burning home at 1607 Vine St. this morning.

    Dynel Thorpe heard fire crackling in the attic at about 12:57 a.m. and woke the rest of the family, who did not have a smoke detector in the home, according to Beloit Fire Department Public Information Officer Jeremy Flanagan.

    Flanagan said the fire stayed contained to the attic and firefighters were able to extinguish it relatively quickly. The family had no injuries and didn’t suffer from smoke inhalation.

    Flanagan said the wires in the attic were overloaded. The heat from the wires probably started the cellulose insulation on fire.

  14. This Article is Helpful for Insulation Process

    Nice Articles, Please post another insulation article for more knowledge about insulation

    thanks in advance

    Shree Ram Rockwool

  15. Fotoabots says:

    Kick-ass article, great looking weblog, added it to my favorites!

  16. In my upcoming book, I make this statement: “Based upon even the most miniscule potential problem with the labor installation of fiberglass batted insulation, I will never ever use this inherently weak building product again.”

    Using Pre-sized batted insulation on stick-built homes is a recipe for poorly insulated homes.

    Go to either my web site http://www.EnergyFraud.com or my blog at http://www.HomeEnergyFraud.blogspot.com and look for the many pictures.

    Bruce Wingfield

    • Tim says:

      Bruce check out blown in fiberglass BIBS. Fiberglass batts ARE the worst insulation system out there. BIBS is fiberglass done right and is the best value when looking at cost to R-value.

  17. Are you still hearing claims by people selling inferior insulation products that cellulose insulation is a “fire hazard”? Clear your head with this quote from the December 29 issue of a Missouri newspaper.

    “[The fire chief] said the house’s insulation — shredded cellulose made from recycled newspapers — kept the home from burning to the ground.

    “Without it, we probably would have lost the entire house,” he said.

    Cellulose is the most energy-efficient, fire resistant, and environmentally-friendly insulation on the market. It’s really no contest. If you care about saving energy, cutting heating and cooling costs, protecting your home and family, and doing what’s right for the environment cellulose insulation isn’t just a choice. It’s the only choice.

  18. Lisa says:

    Would love to know more about how to get into the business of cellulose insulation installion. I am a small business owner ( construction ) and would like to know where to start. Any info would be helpful.

    • CIMA says:

      For people already experienced in construction the best way to expand into insulation is to become associated with an insulation manufacturer with training resources.

    • Vic Bosnich says:

      Hello Lisa,
      Tascon Industries manufactures a variety of cellulose products including in larger parts, cellulose insulation. We are located in Houston, Texas and regularly serve Texas and Louisiana but also reach out to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama and ship to several countries overseas.
      If you are in any of these states, or any other state please give me a call and I will try to answer any questions you may have.
      I have 19 years in the industry and have worked with many start up companies or people like you and I must tell you cellulose is a very interesting product and for me it has been fun selling it. What I find a very important benefit cellulose has to offer is diversification. I believe this is very important if you are going to get in or be in the insulation industry. My number is 713-252-9444 and my email is vic@wt.net. I hope you find this to be your “nitch”.
      Tascon Industries, Inc.
      Vic Bosnich
      Sales Manager-Insulation Products

  19. SEO Company says:

    Great article! It’s often hard to find such well put together information that makes sense!

  20. Here’s a new concept for concerned environmentalists to consider! CIMA launched this initiative at the 2010 International Builders Show.

    Creating Carbon Sink Homes with
    Environmentally Friendly
    Cellulose Insulation

    The Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association (CIMA) has announced a revolutionary new concept for creating energy efficient homes that offer the best solution to minimize energy consumption, reduce the amount of paper going to landfills and limit carbon emissions associated with construction and housing—Build Carbon Sink Homes.

    “Cellulose insulation has been around and recognized for years as one of the most environmentally beneficial, energy-saving building products available,” said CIMA Executive Director Dan Lea. “New research on the benefits of wood and cellulose products in carbon sequestration are going to revolutionize how we think about constructing new houses moving forward in the face of continuing pressure to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions.”

    Carbon Sinks
    Carbon sinks are places where carbon is sequestered or trapped reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Mother Nature’s great carbon sinks are the vast oceans and forests that cover the planet. Plants have the most effective method of removing carbon from the atmosphere—photosynthesis. When trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and convert it into plant cells, the carbon is trapped or sequestered. This carbon will not reenter the atmosphere until the wood or plant fiber is burned or decays over time.

    Other occurrences, such as burning carbon-based substances to create energy, or to produce industrial man-made materials, cause carbon to be released into the Earth’s atmosphere. The result is the potential for carbon releases in excess of what the natural carbon sequestration process can consume. Governments, scientists and consumers around the world are focused on finding ways to sequester the carbon dioxide produced by humans to minimize its release into the atmosphere, which many believe is a direct cause of climate change. Some scientists are proposing to capture carbon dioxide from power plants and pump it into large underground mines to keep it from entering the atmosphere, in effect using these underground mines as carbon sinks.

    Utilizing wood products, which include the naturally high amounts of sequestered carbon, is a simple and highly effective method of creating man-made carbon sinks. The role wood can play in mitigating climate change was specifically recognized as early as 2003 in the European Commission’s 6th Environment Action Programme. This stipulates that carbon sequestration should be exploited through the use of wood and wood-based products in the housing industry.

    Cellulose Insulation: A Key Component Of Carbon Sink Homes
    Using high percentages of wood products and cellulose insulation in the construction process can turn houses into a mini carbon sinks. A recent paper (Prospects of Carbon Neutral Housing, Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, Ottawa, CA, 2008) on a study comparing a typical wood frame home using more conventional materials (brick cladding, vinyl windows, asphalt shingles, and fibereglass insulation) and a similar wood frame house that also maximizes wood use throughout (cedar shingles and siding, wood-framed windows, and cellulose insulation) in place of the more typical materials used showed significant advantages of using high percentages of wood products. The wood-intensive house showed a substantial offset of manufacturing emissions resulting in a net carbon sink as compared to the typical house.
    According to Lea, “Cellulose insulation, as an integral component of wood-intensive construction, allows consumers the opportunity to save money and benefit the environment by reducing future energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Manufacturing cellulose insulation requires very low levels of energy compared to all other insulation products. The significantly lower levels of energy required to produce cellulose insulation release a small fraction of carbon dioxide in the process compared to producing other insulation products.

    “Cellulose insulation is a highly sustainable building product,” said Lea. “Its primary raw material is derived from a renewable resource. As a result, cellulose insulation is a valuable and proven part of a product manufacturing cycle that begins with cultivating and managing forests and ends with a product that utilizes recycled paper, eliminating tons of consumer waste that might otherwise add to carbon in the atmosphere.”

    According to Lea, this combination of attributes, lower carbon released in its production and more carbon trapped for the life of the home makes cellulose insulation a vital component of the carbon sink home of the 21st century.

    Turning Houses Into Carbon Sink Homes
    Architects, builders and home owners have a unique opportunity to create houses as mini carbon sinks by utilizing wood-intensive products in the construction of homes and other dwellings. With millions of structures constructed around the world utilizing high percentages of wood products the potential for carbon sequestration is substantial. Insulating the attics, walls and floors with cellulose insulation is a critical component of wood intensive construction.

    CIMA has announced an initiative to advocate Carbon Sink Homes by encouraging architects, builders and consumers to use cellulose insulation.

    “Choosing to build wood-intensive houses that fully utilize cellulose insulation would be good for our world, “said Joe Witt, CIMA President. “This one simple decision can have huge positive consequences for the environment over the life of the structure. Applying this to millions of homes utilizing wood-intensive construction and cellulose insulation would create a substantial man-made carbon sink.”

  21. The best argument for the use of Cellulose is found on http://www.EnergyFraud.com. This web site clearly shows the flaws related to friction-fit fiberglass batted insulation.

  22. Kukri says:

    Great! Thanks for the great informative post and you effort.
    I think the above article is valuable for all concerned people. For me the Informations are really really useful. I’ve Bookmarked this page for future reference.

    Thank you
    Robin Kukri

  23. Nepal Craft says:

    This site is wonderful for those who want to learn something about greenery.

  24. Nepal Craft says:

    It’s great to get such information. It is useful to every viewer who is willing to gain their knowledge. I have noticed that people who share their view and their opinion makes great to know the latest technology.

    Thank you

    • Albert says:

      Can you help me find a shop that sells insulation in Nepal, preferably in Pokhara but Kmd is Ok. I want to insulat my attic between the metal roof and the ceiling.
      Thank you,

  25. This is a very informative site, as an insulation blowing machine manufacturer, its your respponsiblity to educate your customers. We will definitley be adding this site to our information packet.


  26. Russ Collins says:

    Is dense-packed (3.5 Lb/CF) cellulose any more or less suited to use in an unventilated roof assembly than other types of insulation? Assume that proper warm-side vapor barrier is installed, sealed, etc. so there is no air transport into the cavities from the interior. Comments?

  27. Diane Koehler says:

    I’d like information on any potential hazards to human health during installation e.g., lung irritation.

    • Debb says:

      I recently had cellulose insulation installed in my walls and attic. An excessive amount infiltrated into my home through outlets and windows. It got into my HVAC system and when I turned my furnace on it emitted toxic substances into my home…my cat threw up 3 times in 5 days. I’ve been feeling dizzy. The cellulose particles also got in my toaster and after I cleaned it, I turned the toaster on and it emitted toxic fumes which immediately started to make me sick. After researching the product I found out it has two hazardous chemicals. The two chemicals comprise about 17% of the product and are ammonium sulfate (10.50%) and boric acid. After the furnace issue I was told by my veterinarian and a representative from the ammonium sulfate chemical company not to turn on the furnace again until I had the ducts cleaned. The chemical company rep said the chemical has toxicological impact. I believe the dust in my air has also adversely affected my cat’s health and my health. It was my understanding that the product was 100% recycled green fiber. I don’t understand how it can be advertised as such when it contains a significant amount of chemicals that can be harmful. Any comments?

      • Dan Lea says:

        I am sorry you are having these problems, but the problem is with the installer, not the insulation. If a new roof leaks and ultimately damages the ceiling under it is it the fault of the shingles or the person who installed them? All loose-fill insulation, cellulose or fiber glass, contains some dust. A dusty environment can result in allergic reactions and sometimes congestion. It is normal practice when walls or attics are retrofitted with any loose fill insulation to inspect ducts in the insulated area and membrane penetrations, and to seal as necessary to prevent dust and fibers from entering the living area of the home. In any case there is nothing that is considered hazardous in cellulose insulation. It typically consists of approximately 85% recovered paper fiber ande 15% fire retardants. The common fire retardants are boric acid, which is also used as an eye wash and is a primary component of virtually all OTC and prescrsiption eye medications as well as contact lens solutions; sodium borate, also known as borax and used to wash clothes; and sometimes ammonium sulfate, also used as food preservative and fertilizer. None of these components are regarded as hazardous by any authority. Cellulose insulation is classified as a “nuisance dust,” that is dust that may be irritating in large concentrations, but causes no permanent harm. The respirable fraction of cellulose insulation is less than 0.1%. Animal inhalation studies by the National Toxicology Program revealed only “minor irritation” from exposure to cellulose insulation, and an occupational exposure study of cellulose insulation by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found no health problems among workers who install cellulose insulation every day.

  28. enrico says:

    sono trent’anni che applichiamo fibra di cellulosa maericana in Italia e non abbiamo mai avuto nessun problema,tutti sono contenti e risparmiano energia
    Rough Italian to English Translation: We have been using cellulose insulation in Italy for over 30 years without any problems. Users are pleased with the energy savings.

  29. Bruce chyka says:

    What is the highest R-value blown in cellulose can achieve? I have seen DOE fact sheets that say 2.5 to 3.0 about the same as fiberglass. As a rater I’ve used the 2.8 figure to spec. out recommendations. IHas this number changed?

    • Dan Lea says:

      Dear Bruce:
      Thank you for your comments. I have never seen a cellulose insulation with an R-factor as low as 3.5, let
      alone 2.8. ASHRAE has been quoting a cellulose R-factor of 3.2 for many
      years. This is considerably lower than any cellulose insulation on the
      market today. Cellulose insulation label R-factors are in the range of 3.7
      plus or minus 0.15, with a bias toward the higher end of this range. CIMA
      and NAIMA have presented ASHRAE with information demonstrating that the
      current R-factors given in ASHRAE publications for both cellulose and fiber
      glass are unrealistically low. CIMA has presented a third-party report
      based on independent testing of 13 cellulose products that concluded the
      R-factor of attic products can be characterized as 3.6 to 3.7 and wall
      products as 3.8 to 3.9.


  30. All the site info seems to address residentail construction. What about commercial? Is there spray cellulose on the market with enough adhesive binders to make it stick on above t-bar applications and in rafters? If one exist, can you forgo support blocks at 4′-5’in walls. Or, do we need to use closed cell polyurethane foam in the roofs and above suspended ceilings? I don’t want to specify two products and get two separate contractors on-site for insulation.

    • Dan Lea says:

      Type I Self-Supported Spray-Applied Cellulosic Insulation per ASTM C1149–commonly known as cellulose commercial spray–is produced by at least two CIMA members, International Cellulose, of Houston, Texas; and Fiberlite Technologies, of Joplin, Missouri. It is most commonly used for acoustical, fire protection, and decorative purposes, although it does have all the thermal insulating properties of other forms of cellulose insulation. It is often seen on the roof structure of metal buildings, exhibit halls, auditoriums, gymnasiums, etc. At the 2009 Green Build Exposition in the Phoenix Convention Center all the representatives of one CIMA member exhibiting at the show had to do was point straight up to show a product application. The ceilings and supporting members of every hall in the center were covered with their product.

  31. Geaketex says:

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  32. Sask Installer says:

    Hello, I have been installing Cellulose for just over 2 years and I have had nothing but good results. I love this product and I recommend it to everyone looking to insulate their home or shop. I live and work in a small farming community and it seems the concept of going with cellulose over fiberglass has caught on like wild fire! Great product!

  33. Michael says:

    We built our home one year ago. The basement was left unfinished but framed in and celullose insulation installed with a fabric cover (not poly). I had to remove some of the celullose to install some outlets and found frost and moisture on the plywood behind the cellulose throughout the basement–top to bottom. The back of the studs were wet too. Is this a problem? The installer said that drywalling would reduce the mosture getting inside the cavity. But we are only finishing half of our basement. Can we leave the other half unfinished? Our humidity upstairs is only 23%! There is no other water getting in the basement and no pool. Ideas?

    • Dan Lea says:

      Commenting on problems from a distance is risky, at best, but I will make a couple comments. If you are maintaining a low interior RH, as you apparently are, I don’t think the moisture is coming from inside the house. I think it is coming from outside, or even from within the wall. I assume the basement walls are masonry, and that most of the walls are below grade. Moisture can migrate through masonry walls that are not well sealed, and concrete will continue to release moisture for many months after it is poured. Even blocks will do this. If you are finding frost top to bottom in the walls this is surprising. The ground temperature should be well above freezing behind most of the wall. I can state fairly confidently that dry wall will not help. Dry wall is almost totally transparent to moisture. Yes, this situation is a problem that should be addressed. I suggest that you have the situation assessed by a building inspector who specializes in diagnosing problems, not somone who just does basic presale inspections.

  34. James Adams says:

    Can you spray cellulose directly onto the metal siding on a metal building without having moisture problems?

    • Dan Lea says:

      It depends on what type of cellulose insulation you’re rerferring to, and exactly how you intend to install it. Cellulose wall cavity spray (type II material per ASTM C1149) is, as the name suggests, intended for installation in the cavities between studs that are subsequently closed with sheet rock. It’s not intended to be left uncovered and unsupported over large areas. Type 1 material per ASTM C1149, commonly called cellulose commercial spray, is intended for exposed application, and metal buildings are one of the most common application areas for this product.

      • Bill S says:

        Another long distance question.
        I just had my walls blown with cellouse. The contractor drilled 1 hole in each cavity about half way up on the wall. He told me the machine would move the insulation up and fill the top of the wall. It is hard to believe. Would you comment?

        • Dan Lea says:

          I assume the contractor inserted a fill tube into the hole. That’s the most common way of insulating closed walls. Some people find that using a directional nozzle and a single hole in the center of the cavity works well. Another technique is to drill two holes in each cavity about 18 inches from each plate.

    • Vic Bosnich says:

      The commercial spray-on application may be the better way if it is the decision to apply directly to the wall. The first question I always ask concerning commercial applications is “What is the building going to be used for?” For me this is always the starting point and the next question is what are you trying to achieve and how will it be built, example:
      Is the building going to be a warehouse, a warehouse with an office, will it be a shop and if so what kind of shop, will it be a diesel repair shop, or paint shop, etc. Will A/C & Heating be required? Will it be gas or electric heating and if gas will the heaters be vented to the outside?
      In this case will the walls be studded or will the insulation be left exposed as Dan mentioned? If left exposed, will there be traffic or fork lifts that may damage the insulation. If so you may want to install a wainscoating, such as plywood to a height of perhaps 8′ to protect the material.
      How about color? Commercial products usually come in a variety of colors such as very white, off white, beige, tan, gray, and black. What is more important, lighting, concealing, or protecting the material? This is why it is important to ask the contractor, and better yet he or she should certainly begin to know your needs by asking probably several more questions than the ones described here.
      If applying directly to the wall, or ceiling, it is extremely important that the steel be cleaned of any oil film and of course rust or anything else that would effect long term adhesion. New metal buildings and certainly ones built in 1977 or later should always, and I stress always be cleaned and most cases a primer recommended by the manufacture should be applied after the cleaning process.
      Now to directly answer your question about moisture. There is an old saying, insulation and ventilation and this is particularly important in metal buildings. How will the building be ventilated, ridge vents, gable vents, power vents, etc. However it is ventilated, the ventilation should bring in fresh air and take out moisture laden air and this should flow across or as near to the insulation as reasonable. This includes cellulose, fiberglass, rock wool, and perhaps in some cases polyurethane.
      Cellulose insulation helps in controlling condensation if the building is properly vented as it is applied directly to the metal. The thicker the application the more the product and ventilation keeps dew point from occurring to the point of releasing water. My opinion has been for many years that the point of diminitive return certainly for cellulose and some polyurethane contractors will agree for the open cell polyurethane that the thickness is usually between 2 and 3 inches. The reasoning behind this is for these two products, you will achieve about 50% from the first 1 to 11/2″ by sealing many air leaks.
      This has been a long winded answer to a very simple question, but hopefully the added information will help you, and perhaps even the contractor in achieving a successful installation that will serve you for a long time.

  35. Mike says:

    We are high end residential builders. Many of the discussions on cellulose I’ve followed refer to adding material to compensate for settlement. Some also seem to indicate that the damp spray is suitable for the underside of sloped roof sheathing. Is that right? How does that settle? Will it stay in place after it dries?

    • Dan Lea says:

      Assuming an open blow on an attic floor comments about the need to add more cellulose insulation to compensate for settling are incorrect. Cellulose insulation coverage charts are based on settled density. They have been for more than 30 years. Compensation for settlement is built right into the coverage chart. You do NOT have to add more insulation than is specified by the chart to obtain the desired R-value. Immediately after installation the home owner benefits from bonus R-value.

      While it might be possible to spray some wall spray products against the underside of a sloped roof and have the insulation remain in place for a while, this material is not intended to remain exposed and unsupported in walls or roofs. The usual method for insulating a cathedralized roof-ceiling assembly is to blow the insulation behind webbing ot netting.

  36. Tim Johnson says:

    First, I use cellulose in attics as a standard procedure. I will not blow it into a wall unless I can be sure it is very well air sealed. For walls we use BIBS which is blown in fiberglass. This is pure fiberglass without anything else, is not itchy, is a higher R-value, absorbes next to no water, and if blown in to anything close to the correct density, it can not settle. All your comparisons are referring to fiberglass batts. There are studies out that show the infiltration rate of the correct fiberglass fibers at the correct densities are equal to infiltration in cellulose.(Johns Manville) That test you are referring to about fiberglass losing R-value when cold was done by OR Labs with very low density fiberglass in an attic. The BlowInBlanket System is the most tested insulation system anywhere and it works as advertised at any temperature. It is also easier to install correctly as the density does not have to be as high to prevent settling and the system is the only one to be field tested on every job to ensure correct density. Quite frankly, to rely on any insulation to seal a home is a poor idea. We are building some of the tightest homes in the country and it is apeople issue, not insulation.Thank you, Tim

    • Dan Lea says:

      Since this is an honest discussion forum we welcome Mr. Johnson’s comments. It should be noted, however, that correctly installed cellulose does not settle in walls and pubished research suggests that the hygroscopic properties of cellulose actually result in superior thermal and moisture handling performance. The “studies out there” referenced by Mr. Johnson were done by a fiber glass manufacturer using a methodology that has been rejected by a Building Performance Institute task group composed of both cellulose and fiber glass members as inaccurate for real walls. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory studies that revealed the convective heat loss problem of some fiber glass products were done with light density fiber glass. Since then some manufacturers of attic blowing wool have made their products even lighter and fluffier. The BIBS system advocated by Mr. Johnson was originally used for all fiber insulation materials–cellulose, rock wool, and fiber glass. It should be a fine wall system, but blower door test by CIMA members suggest that not all BIBS installers are as careful as Mr. Johnson in installing the material at the specified density. As he says, it’s a people issue, not insulation.

      • Tim says:

        The key to this discussion is that BIBS is a tested system, tested every 800 to 1000 sq.ft. on every job. No other insulation system is tested this way. The thing about fiberglass density is even at 1.2# density it won’t settle according to Johns Manville, and BIBS is blown in to 1.8 to 2.2# density depending on what fiber is used. Cellulose is what I use in an open blow in an attic, but I will never use it in a wall. Fiberglass is also a Higher R-value than cellulose, as it is 4.2 per inch.

  37. HomeSealed says:

    This site is a great resource for a great product. The fact that cellulose is widely considered superior even without a billion dollar marketing machine behind it speaks volumes in my opinion.

  38. I am a structural engineer with a lifetime of building experience, including home insulation. I have put cellulose into 1000 homes, plus or minus. I am getting involved in Passive House, a super-insulated home design and construction concept and standard from Europe. I would like to know if any installers reading this blog would be comfortable blowing a 48″ wide by 20′ tall by 12″ thick airtight cavity and not have any settling by using the correct dense pack methods. I am designing a R-40 plus double frame wall, and the 20′ tall wall is outside of the structural frame, thus covering all of the rim joist thermal bridging.

    • Tim says:

      Check out BIBS and BIBCA. Also ask Katrin Klingerberg of the Passive House Institute on what she recommends.

    • Tim says:

      One other tidbit about cellulose, it is a low tech process that many small companies are making with very little oversight. The fire retardent is applied wet or dry and the fire retardent itself varies according to manufacturer. Research the product you use. I use cellulose all the time in attics but I also did the homework.

      • Dan Lea says:

        Tim may have done his homework, but he didn’t do it very well. Making cellulose insulation is anything but a low tech process. It involves two or three milling stages using equipment designed especially for cellulose insulation production. Fire retardants are processed in grinders that reduce them to a state where they are treated as liquids for engineering purposes, but they are dry. Computerized systems control all stages of the production process. Are 25 companies “many”? Are Louisiana Pacific, Masco, and 23 multi-million dollar firms “small.” Is regulation by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and third-party certification by UL, R&D Services, and other NAVLAP laboratories “very little oversight”? Fire retardant systems do very among among manufacturers, but all are based on three ingredients, often used in combination.

  39. Tim says:

    In Wisconsin, at the Better Building Better Business conference, Katrin Klingenberg of the Passive House Institute of the United States stated that the most cost effective insulation is blown in fiberglass. Blow In Blanket System(BIBS) is a tested wall system on every job. Fiberglass used in BIBS installed by a qualified installer can not settle and again the density is tested on every job. Fiberglass absorbs next to no water, unlike cellulose which can absorb up to 130% of its weight in water. How long fiberglass will last no one knows. How long does sand last? It is far longer lasting than any other insulation we use now. Check out the BIBCA website.

  40. Paul Henry says:

    I’m would like to know if there are any comparative studies done on the effects of wet insulation (cellulose vs fiberglass) on a building. I am working on a project with some isolated instances of water intrusion and some mold to deal with. I’m being told the cellulose insulation is a factor in the mold contamination because it holds water.

    Isn’t fiberglass just as bad?

    • Dan Lea says:

      Water-soaked insulation of any type is bad news. Of course, water-saturated building material of any type is bad news. Fiber insulation of any type holds water. Fiber glass stores it in the air spaces between the fibers; cellulose tends to store it within the fibers. If there is a leak in the building shell you can’t blame the material(s) that gets wet for the consequences.

  41. Thanks for every other great post. Where else may just anyone get that type of information in such an ideal method of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information.

  42. Excellent blog post. I definitely love the site. Thanks!

  43. Andy says:

    Good info!! Great Site!!

  44. tim holt says:

    I am a retired mechanical engineer who got very interested in home energy efficiency. I am considering a business venture working as a consultant with one or more builders to create highly energy efficient homes near or at passive house standards, and I believe in cellulose insulation, at least for walls and ceilings. I havent found a way to use it in floors yet. I feel I should be able to beat the prices at Home Depot if an instate or nearby local manufacturer were interested. Can you help with a supplier. I also have some questions about dense packing walls-as I am considering 8 inch walls for East Tennessee superinsulation. Any input on cellulose installed in floors over a crawlspace? I am in 37830 if any supplier is interested.

    I retrofitted cellulose 1985 in a 1964 built home when energy was “too cheap to count”. It burned in 2002 and wall insulation was still full-no settling. I was impressed with cellulose then and learned more about it later. Impressed with its environmental qualities and its performance, I want to build superinsulated homes using it to the maximum extent.

    • CIMA Admin says:

      Standard practice for insulating roofs and floor assemblies is to close the cavities with webbing or netting then blow insulation into the cavities. When the insulated floor is over a crawl space it’s essential that a ground cover vapor barrier be installed.

  45. If you are in engineering you know that there’s a lots of recourses which are full junk, fortunately your website is just not one of these websites, i love your content a lot, keep up the good work

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