Ecological insulation materials that are good for the environment and why selecting Expanded Polystyrene is a great choice

When talking about insulations, we could say that ecological insulations are those that have minimal impact on the environment and have a natural origin. Their advantage is that they are alternatives to the best-known insulating products, such as polyurethane foam, expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS), rock wool and fiberglass. The ecology is that ecological […]

When talking about insulations, we could say that ecological insulations are those that have minimal impact on the environment and have a natural origin. Their advantage is that they are alternatives to the best-known insulating products, such as polyurethane foam, expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS), rock wool and fiberglass. The ecology is that ecological isolates do not require petroleum products for their production, therefore having a very favourable energy balance in their production, which is a support for the sustainable environment on the planet.

The manufacture of rock wool or fiberglass entails a high energy cost because glass has to be melted at very high temperatures that exceed 1000 degrees C to produce the product. Insulation, by reducing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building, is environmentally friendly.

Remember that Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) provided by NPS is an engineered material that can be shaped or profile cut into any simple or intricately designed object with the added benefit of being thermally efficient, lightweight, simple and safe to work with, fully recyclable and cost effective.

But not all insulating materials are equally environmentally friendly or environmentally friendly. There are natural insulating materials of natural origin and with a low fuel consumption necessary for their manufacture.

Among the ecological materials, these can be mentioned:

  • Cellulose
  • Wood fibre
  • Cork
  • Sheep wool
  • Cotton

However, it is necessary to point out, with respect to some ecological insulations, for example, that in cellulose the paper has already been used and has been manufactured once before and has had inks (which entails a contaminating action) or already has transported the product for its first use. Or also that the amount of water consumed to make pulp or wood fibre is much higher than that of a non-ecological product.

Cellulose

Cellulose is one of the most ecological insulation products in the world. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspaper and other paper sources, newspapers that might otherwise end up in landfills, releasing greenhouse gases as they decompose.

If all the newspapers that are deposited in landfills each year become cellulose insulation, approximately eight million tons of CO2 emissions would be saved.

Bulk cellulose is the insulation obtained from the recycling of unused newspaper, to which natural additives such as boron salts are incorporated.

Cellulose is composed of 75-85% recycled paper fibre, usually post-consumer newspaper. The other 15% is an element that slows the spread of fire, such as boric acid. Cellulose has the highest recycled content of all available insulations. For example, fiberglass has a maximum amount of 50% recycled content.

Another ecological property of cellulose is its low toxicity and the low environmental impact of its raw materials

Unrecycled cellulose insulation components remain environmentally preferable to foam insulation raw materials. Unlike foam insulators, cellulose does not produce significant gaseous emissions.

The toxicity of the raw materials of the types of insulation is usually higher during manufacturing or installation. Nor is this a significant problem in cellulose.

The built-in energy of cellulose insulation is the lowest of the popular types of insulation. Cellulose is made by electrically driven machines while mineral insulation is manufactured in fuel-driven ovens.

Bulk cellulose has the following characteristics, which make it an efficient and ecological insulation material:

  • Low thermal conductivity of 0.039 w / m k
  • High thermal resistance
  • Good fire behaviour Euro class Bs2-d0
  • Good acoustic behaviour
  • A very high specific heat of 2110 joules
  • Very high thermal lag (up to 12 hours in thicknesses of 200 and 250 mm)
  • It is a non-hydrophilic material (bad behaviour against water)
  • And the application techniques (blown-blow-wet projection without binders) do not require the completion of works

Wood fibre

Wood fibre is the insulation obtained from wood crushing (manufacturing waste) with dry pressing (low water consumption) or wet (higher water and energy consumption), to which natural additives are added, namely boron salts.

Wood fibre is an insulation specially developed for the application of insufflation / injection into air chambers, both inside and outside the homes. And its application is also exceptional by blowing in lofts and uninhabited attics

Wood fibre has a low thermal conductivity of 0.039 w / mk, high thermal resistance, good fire performance Euro class Bs2-d0, good acoustic behaviour, a very high specific heat of 2110 joules, very high thermal lag and is not hydrophilic (bad behaviour against water) except in hydrophobic plates with paraffin (natural).

Cork

Granulated cork is the insulation obtained from the bark of the cork oak. The cork oak is peeled for the first time at thirty and every 12-15 years.

The cork can be marketed in solid form, in the form of sheets, in the form of plates or boards, also in blocks or in granular form. In bulk you can get different sizes, from large to smaller granules.

Cork is characterized by a long life and is totally inert. It is used inside the house or outside by means of insufflation or blowing application techniques

The cork is ecological, good for summer heat, is a good insulation against the cold and is acoustic, does not vibrate.

Sheep wool

In Spain it has always been traditional to obtain sheep wool for many uses, such as the manufacture of warm clothes, for example. And it was also typical to see sheep shearers in the villages. Well, sheep wool is the one obtained from this animal, from which 3 to 5 kg of raw material are obtained by shearing. After shearing, it is washed with soap and the product is treated with boric salts. In this simple way, the attack of xylophages is avoided while the flame-retardant properties are improved.

Subsequently, the carding is processed and it is shaped as irons, wallpaper or bulk wool. The size and thickness of the plates can change according to each manufacturer.

It is a very ecological insulation material, since its production consumes very little energy.

Three important characteristics of sheep’s wool are:

  • Conductivity of sheep wool = 0.040 – 0.050 W / (mK)
  • Density of sheep’s wool = 25 kg / m3 – 80kg / m3
  • Steam permeability of sheep wool u = 1-2

Cotton

Cotton cultivation is widespread in Asian countries, where it comes from. From the remains of the textile industry is where this insulation material is obtained. In an oven the remains of industrial cotton are undone and textile fibres are made that are moistened and pressed.

Cotton is a material of recent use in Europe as insulation, and is primarily used with the technique of bulk insufflation.

Its properties are:

  • Conductivity of cotton 0.04 w / m k
  • Density: 20-60 kg / m3
  • Vapor permeability u = 1-2
  • Specific heat capacity: 840-1300 J

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) provided by NPS is an engineered material that can be shaped or profile cut into any simple or intricately designed object with the added benefit of being thermally efficient, lightweight, simple and safe to work with, fully recyclable and cost effective. Contact us today if you need more information about our services.