Green insulation for the environmentally conscious
by Kristy Esch
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are interlocking foam units stacked together, much like Legos, that are filled with concrete and reinforced steel to create walls that have superior insulation, structural integrity and fire protection.
While insulation helps make your house airtight and energy efficient, the pink fiberglass variety found in many homes contains carcinogens that may cause cancer.
Jeff Rogers, owner of N.E. Green Building Supplies and Services in Provincetown, Mass., says choosing a no-formaldehyde cotton batt insulation is a healthy, affordable alternative.
Cellulose shredded newspaper, rigid foam board insulation and spray foams are pricier but also more efficient and green. "There are a lot more options than there were a few years ago, and I recommend talking to a supplier to find the best one," he says.
Angie's List talked to dozens of homeowners and green building experts like Rogers about their favorite insulation brands. Here are the two we heard about most, plus a few others:
FischerSIPs Structural Insulated Panels
Demilec (USA) LLC Spray Foam Manufacturer
Applegate cellulose spray insulation
Nudura Corporation Insulated Concrete Forms
Homasote Company Cork NovaCork panels
Icynene Insulation System
Icynene soft foam insulation expands in seconds to 100 times its volume and creates an air barrier system for optimum energy efficiency.
Cost: Prices vary
Amvic Insulated Concrete Forms
Customers can reduce their heating and air conditioning bills up to 50 percent when combining Amvic's Insulated Concrete Forms with energy-saving doors and windows.
Cost: $12 to $15 per square foot
– With additional reporting by Liz Juranek