Sunday, July 31, 2011


Over the years, I have added additional layers of insulation in attics for clients all around Ulster County. This is one job that keeps me and anyone who cares to handle insulation, busy through the winter. Anyone paying heating bills soon find out that the initial cost of additional insulation is easily off-set by lower heating bills over the next three to four years. 

I'm writing on the Blog today about the product I just discovered through a friend involved with Sustainable Home Building. The subject of insulation came up because of the old torn-up jeans I was wearing on the job. It's the outfit I would wear whenever I had to insulate a crawl space with pink fiberglass. Well, actually, I just love my old beat up jeans.

The joke was "I could insulate the floor with my old jeans" which was only partially funny. He went on to tell me about this new Blue-Jean cellulose batts of insulation that has the same R rating as the stuff I was fighting with. So here I am researching the stuff.
Through my search, I found many examples of the product. But I jumped on Bonded Logic UltraTouch to make the point. They claim you can rub your face with it and it feels like your oldest pair of worn jeans. There's even kids pictured playing with it on several sites; like below. I'm guessing anyone promoting this non-formaldehyde non-fiberglass insulation will use kids in the ad to make their point. But the cost is just under three times to cost of the pink stuff.

For us home-builders, we have to ask the client if they are willing to spend extra for the insulation to lower their interior toxin levels at home. Some of them may have the money to do so, others not so much.  However, there are grants out there aimed to help people with renovations by bridging the difference in cost from conventional to cotton cellulose. 

Bonded Logic claims their product is 90% recycled Blue-Jeans. You may ask, where would they get the material. Well, last year, Levi Strauss initiated a Blue-Jean trade at selected stores. I don't know how successful that was because I didn't see evidence of the program locally. Besides, I've always used them until they were destroyed then threw them out. Factory scraps is the main source for the industry.

Keep in mind, the pink fiberglass I'm installing currently, has a cancer warning on the wrapper. Required under OSHA for those installing it. The denim insulation sources I saw, claim to contain no chemical irritants and requires no warning labels compared to other traditional products. There are no VOC concerns it is safe for you and the environment. These companies state this is a Class-A Building Product and meets the highest ASTM testing standards for fire and smoke ratings, fungi resistance and corrosiveness.

Will people jump on a more expensive product? If you have health concerns or already allergic to traditional pink...maybe. If you insist on building environmentally friendly...Possibly. If you can find another not-for-profit wiling to offset the cost...definitely.
Perhaps my friends in the Legislature can discuss this in the Environment Committee.


Anonymous said...

I have done everything possible to my home. New windows, additional insulation etc.. Every year I use less and less oil and pay more and more for it. First year in my home I burned 500 gallons of oil and it cost me just over $500.00. This past winter I used under 400 gallons and it cost me over $1000.00. WTF

We need to get the oil companies under control or they will just continue to charge us more.

Anonymous said...

The oil companies are but a part of the problem, not all. The people who have made millions on oil prices in the past have been buying up huge portions with that same money, which drives up the price per barrel. No different than any other stock, however, the money being levied is bolstered by the very act of prospect purchase. The Koch brothers, the Bushes, and the Saudi prince, all make their money while we pay artificially pumped up prices at the pump.
Be thankful you did what you did to your home, because they fully intend to drain you and the rest of the middle class.