Graham Hill’s “LifeEdited” apartment is not only going to be very space-efficient – it will be very energy efficient as well! This past week, construction got started as they put down the essential basic subfloor, and under that, insulation!
First, they removed the existing floor. Then, using Cel-Pak Cellulose Insulation supplied by Green Depot, they filled in all the air space between the joists in the floor. The picture to the right shows how they blew it in right to the top of the boards and then leveled it off before installing the plywood subfloor.
A great choice for the quality of a home’s air, cellulose insulation is made from 100% recycled newspaper. After the newspapers get shredded down, they get coated with borate (a naturally occurring salt) which is an effective pest and fire retardant. This product is free of fiberglass and PVC – two materials which can hurt the indoor air quality of a home. Many people don’t realize that insulation can affect the quality of a home’s air even from behind the drywall – but as air circulates through the space it also passes through walls and crawl spaces. This increases as a home (or in this case, an apartment) settles, and small openings happen between floors and walls (usually behind the baseboards.)
Here’s a quick list of the benefits of cellulose insulation:
Cellulose insulation is applicable in a wide range of settings, whatever the desired R-value. Cellulose fills gaps around pipes, wires and outlets blocking those hard to insulate areas where drafts can occur. It even blocks heat transfer at freezing temperatures.
The density of cellulose makes it an excellent sound barrier – far surpassing the sound insulating qualities of fiberglass. Putting it between apartments this way will sustantially decrease the sound-transfer both directions! (STC rating of 45 in a 2×4 wall)
Cel-pak is impregnated with borates which makes it very fire resistant. Burn tests have shown it resist fire far longer than other types of insulation. Because the insulation contains so few chemicals, if it does succomb to flame, the smoke it generates doesn’t generally emit the same kinds of toxins that other insulations can as they burn.
The same borates used to add flame resistance also inhibit mold and mildew and repel insects and vermin.