Insulation And Your Home’s Carbon Footprint

02/27/2023 | By Pamela Vargas-Touchard |

Adequate home insulation is essential to protecting the environment and reducing your home’s carbon footprint. According to the EPA, “The average household in a single-family home spends about 53 percent of its energy-related expenditures on heating and cooling.” The lion’s share of that energy comes from petroleum and coal. 

The more you do to reduce HVAC use via adequate home insulation and other energy-efficient changes, the lower your carbon footprint becomes. Scheduling an attic inspection with licensed attic and insulation contractors is the best way to know whether your home needs more insulation.

Get The Facts: Insulation, The Environment, & Your Home's Carbon Footprint

We get all kinds of questions about insulation, whether extra insulation is worth it, whether it really makes a difference, etc. Today, we’re sharing science- and statistic-based facts from third-party institutes. Most of the following statistics on insulation and its effects on the environment are provided by the Insulation Insititute website. We’ll note when other sources are cited.

Insulation repays its own production costs 100 times over

From electric cars and solar panels to extra insulation, all of these “green” solutions still require energy and materials during manufacturing and shipping. So, it’s wise for consumers to dig a little deeper to learn what is truly beneficial and what isn’t. 

In the case of insulation, “...fiberglass insulation, rock wool, and slag wool insulation products installed to code levels in single-family homes save more than 100 times the amount of energy used to manufacture those products over a 20-year period.” That’s a tremendous saving. So homeowners shouldn’t feel one bit guilty about installing new products with that type of ROI - including the drastic improvement when it comes to your home’s carbon footprint.

Adequate insulation improves air quality

We mentioned above that the majority (nearly 60%) of the electricity used in the United States comes from petroleum products and coal. Processes required to convert these fossil fuels into electricity release a tremendous amount of pollutants in the environment, including carbon dioxide, sulfur oxide, and nitrogen oxide - among others.

When you optimize or replace insulation in your home and business, you help to reduce these emissions by lowering the amount of power required to heat and cool the building. 

Insulation also improves indoor air quality (IAQ)

As long as we’re talking about air quality, did you know the right quantity of insulation, combined with adequate ventilation, also improves your home’s indoor air quality? It may surprise you to learn that the EPA states the majority of US homes have poorer indoor air quality than outdoor air quality. 

This is because inadequate ventilation doesn’t allow enough fresh air into interior spaces, while inadequate insulation leads to moisture control issues causing mold and mildew spores to proliferate. So, when you update or replace old insulation, you’re improving air quality for the environment and your family!

Fiberglass & wool insulation products use recycled/repurposed materials

Are you in the market for eco-friendly insulation materials? Since insulation goes a long way toward reducing fossil fuel consumption, any insulation is better than no insulation. However, we recommend home and business owners interested in eco-friendly materials research fiberglass, wool insulation, and blown-in cellulose products.

All of these are made using recycled materials, further lowering the product’s carbon and ecological footprint:

  • Fiberglass insulation contains 40-60% recycled content, depending on the manufacturer and specific facility.
  • Mineral wool insulation varies. Rock wool insulation contains an average of 10-15% recycled blast furnace slag. Slag wool insulation contains 70-75% recycled blast furnace slag.
  • Blown-in cellulose insulation can have up to 80% or more recycled content, depending on the manufacturer and the product.

Spray foam insulation is frequently reported as a “green” insulation product due to its powerful insulating qualities. However, standard spray foam products are made from chemicals rather than recycled products. So, they’re not always as green as they sound. 

8 Benefits Of Optimizing Insulation In Your Home

In addition to supporting the environment and reducing a building’s carbon footprint, insulation has eight additional benefits:

  1. Improved whole-home comfort, including more consistent temperatures throughout the house.
  2. Exponential energy savings - depending on the quality of the materials and total R-Values.
  3. Reduction in condensation and moisture issues.
  4. Reduced risk of mold or mildew growth.
  5. Minimizes wear and tear on HVAC equipment, which also reduces HVAC maintenance/repair costs.
  6. Adequate insulation in the attic, exterior, and interior walls provides acoustic benefits, lowering interior noise levels.
  7. Upgrading insulation may mean you need a smaller HVAC unit when you’re ready to replace it, which saves thousands of dollars.
  8. Improved indoor air quality.

If you need insulation replacement or optimization, you’ll notice a difference immediately once the fresh insulation is put in place. Plus, your attic benefits from a complete cleanup, further enhancing indoor air quality by removing built-up dust, particulates, trash, and any residue remaining from previous pest infestations.

Schedule An Attic Inspection To Verify You’re Doing Your Part

Does your Bay Area home or business have adequate insulation? Schedule an attic inspection, and we’ll let you know. Even a simple addition of more insulation to optimize what you have can have a huge ROI for a very modest investment. Contact Attic Solutions to schedule an appointment and see whether your insulation is helping the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.

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