July 6, 2009

Blue Is The New Green

Back at The Ranch...

We are moving along with our building project. The hold up now is getting trades people, like electricians, to call us back with quotes. So, in the meantime, we continue researching our options and doing the little things here and there that we can control. From the beginning, our plans were to go as earth friendly as we could possibly afford. We used a low VOC exterior stain on our siding, and we plan to do the same on the interior when the time comes. As for insulation, we knew traditional fiberglass was out, so we looked for more eco-friendly options. We were intrigued by the new spray foam products, but the cost was quite prohibitive. Then, I found a product called Ultra Touch which is made from recycled denim and other cotton fibers. Neal did some more research and liked what he heard, so he drove to a distributor in Denver and picked up a trailer-load. We hauled it to The Ranch like this...

Because we used 2x6 framing, Neal chose the 5 1/2 inch thick product with an R-21 value. It comes in bundles of five rolls that expand once you unpack them and shake them out. Since we haven't run the electric wires yet, we were only able to insulate the tub/shower area so the plumber can finish up next week.

Each roll of insulation was 16 inches wide, which fit perfectly between the 2x6 boards spaced 16 inches apart. Because this is considered a green product, there was very little dust and no need to wear masks. Neal took each piece and gently worked it into the open spaces, starting at the top and working his way down.

One roll had to be cut in half to fit the odd-sized corner areas, and Neal used a regular kitchen knife and a pocket knife to cut through the insulation. It was a little difficult that way, but we got it done. We decided we will need to get a more specialized cutting tool to use for the rest of the walls.

After Neal got the tub area completely insulated, he went back and hammered in nails crosswise to hold each sheet of insulation in place. Some people use a strip of wire across the top of each sheet, but we had plenty of nails on hand and they will serve the same purpose.

Here is the finished area where our tub/shower with surround will go. The whole process took less than an hour and it was easy and fun. This insulation product is about twice the cost of regular fiberglass insulation, but to us it was definitely worth it to know we will have a healthier, recycled, more efficient product in our walls. Being green actually comes in many colors, including blue!


LiveWorkDream said...

It's not just functional but pretty too!

Keep those resources coming, we're gonna need to start a list soon.

Lilla said...

Rene, yes functional and pretty!

Will do on the resources. Always happy to share what works...as well as what doesn't!

Angie said...

I love the idea of the insulation but as it is made from cotton fibers how is it treated so that bugs and such will not feast on it? Back To Basic Living sent me to your blog this morning.

Lilla said...

Hey Angie, thanks for stopping by! The insulation is treated with a borate compound that supposedly acts as a fire retardant, insecticide and anti-fungal. If you are interested in more details about the insulation product we are using, check out this website: www.bondedlogic.com.