Acelab Insights

Sustainable Continuous Insulation

2023-12-08

Wood Fiber Insulation

Wood insulation may sound like a mistake, but it’s real, it's sustainable, and it’s showing up in more projects in the US. It’s the most sustainable CI option, made from a renewable material which stores carbon, and doesn’t contain toxic ingredients. Wood fiber insulation from TimberHP comes in batts, loose fill, and a board insulation which is suitable for continuous exterior insulation. Made in Maine, its pricing is comparable to other breathable board insulation such as mineral wool and EPS, though it’s easier to work with than mineral wool and more sustainable than EPS.

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Cellular Glass

Due to its combination of high compressive strength, high temperature performance, fire resistance, water resistance, AND chemical resistance, cellular glass has been used in industrial applications for many years. It is less common in architectural applications because it costs more than the XPS which has some similar characteristics and higher R value per inch. But cellular glass wins for lifespan and lower toxicity.

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Mineral Wool

When in doubt, use the Goldilocks insulation: mineral wool. It’s not the best at anything, but it is second best in everything. It’s made from stone and slag, so it’s not combustible. Undamaged, it will last the life of the building. It’s immune to water, pests, or mold, and it'll retain its R-value over time. It also lacks harmful chemical flame retardants or blowing agents. Some mineral wool uses formaldehyde in its manufacturing process, so look for products available in both low-VOC and formaldehyde-free options. This stuff is basically harmless.

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