In a region that averages below freezing temperatures, researchers from Cold Climate Housing Research Center put cellulose insulation to the test to determine how well it performs vis-à-vis fiberglass in extreme temperatures. Their findings will more than validate the claims of businesses that install insulation in Peterborough and other parts of Canada.
Our study shows that cellulose can handle moisture better than fiberglass or EPS insulation when used properly. The test wall that used cellulose as both interior and exterior insulation maintained lower humidity levels (and was less likely to condense or grow mold) than the test wall that used interior fiberglass and exterior foam.
Spray to install and that’s all
Cellulose insulation is simply sprayed into cavities in walls, ceilings, attics, and other hard-to-reach areas without removing or damaging drywall. Since the material is lighter than conventional insulation, it won’t add weight and put stress on roofs and ceilings. Over an 18-month period, researchers observed how both cellulose and fiberglass reacted to moisture.
Cellulose also has the ability to absorb and release water vapor, allowing it to moderate moisture levels within a wall and prevent the large spikes in relative humidity that cause moisture damage.
Cellulose is made from recycled materials, which pose no immediate health threats. However, studies have shown that fiberglass insulation may contribute to the development of cancer. It contains fibers which may be inhaled and formaldehyde which could be hazardous to end-users and installers. Companies such as EnviroTech Insulation make it a point to responsibly warn consumers of the health risks of fiberglass.
As far as longevity is concerned, both cellulose and fiberglass installations tend to settle or sink, reducing their thermal capabilities. At this point, they need to be replaced. Professional insulation contractors from Toronto should be consulted to ensure proper maintenance and installation.
Aside from costing less and insulating better than fiberglass, cellulose insulation is environment-friendly. It is composed mainly of recycled paper (around 75%) and uses three times less the energy to make as compared to fiberglass. In the end, when homes become energy-efficient, the drop in energy consumption will also lower carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
(Article Excerpt and Image from “How does cellulose perform in cold climates compared to other insulation”, Newsminer.com, August 14, 2014)