The Latest in Eco-Friendly Home Insulation

Since many of us are battling rising energy prices, it's an ideal time to upgrade your home's insulation, especially since 9 out of 10 homes are under-insulated. Proper insulation keeps you warm (or cool), reduces noise, controls humidity, and keeps pollen outdoors. The Department of Energy recommends installing insulation that provides a resistance value (R-value) of R-30 or higher.

Aerogel is currently the most effective insulation available, and even NASA uses it. Its R-value is R-10.3, which puts it ahead of other materials. It's created when the liquid from silica is removed under high pressure, leaving a material that's over 90% air. Aerogel's molecular structure makes it difficult for heat to pass through it, and it lasts for decades. The only potential drawback: Aerogel insulating products tend to be some of the most expensive.

Cork is a particularly effective sound insulator, so you may want to consider it if you're in an urban area. It has an admirable R-value of 4.2 and it's sold in sheets that are easier to install than spray foam or fiberglass. To increase its effectiveness, you can simply add additional layers of cork. There are few drawbacks to cork, but they do exist: it's not ideal for humid climates and can swell if wet.

Denim insulation is made from recycled jeans, which keeps them out of overflowing landfills. While its 3.5 R-value puts it below cork and Aerogel, it's still effective, versatile, and affordable. Denim or "blue insulation" is manufactured in stages. After removing the previous owners' buttons, zippers, and bling, the jeans are shredded and treated to be fire-resistant before being molded into batts similar to pink fiberglass insulation. One additional plus: it may also be used as blown-in insulation.


* Specific loan program availability and requirements may vary. Please get in touch with the mortgage advisor for more information.