Heating / Air Conditioning
Types of insulation -Getting the right insulation to meet your needs can be difficult if you don't know what to look for. Here is a list of things to keep in mind when purchasing insulation. One is the amount of monetary value the insulation will add to the building. Installing fiberglass and/or mineral wool is fairly easy and can boost the value of your home with it's increased efficiency. Usually the initial cost to install the insulation is recouped in only a few years, depending on how much you install, with lower heating and cooling costs. Fiberglass, rock and slag wool insulation doesn't settle over time and maintain it's original R-value for the life of the building .
Fiberglass can be purchased in what is called “batts” or “rolls” and typically come with a facing on one side. This facing will extend out from the side of the insulation so it can be secured to the buildings framing to hold it in place. If you do decide to us a facing type of insulation keep in mind that some types of facings are moisture resistant to increase it's insulating properties and help reduce the possibility of mold. Other types of wall insulation that don't have a facing are manufactured a little wider to rely on pressure between the studs to hold it in place.
How safe is fiberglass and mineral wool? For some time now some competitive insulation manufacturers have suggested that fiberglass and mineral wool insulations are not safe and may cause harm to people. However, after years of testing, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) changed the classification of these products stating fiberglass isn't cancerous in humans and rock / slag wool is safe to manufacture and install as long as the manufactures recommendations are followed. Here's the link to NIAMA's site for more information. This means mineral wool and fiberglass insulation can be safely installed and used in homes and business provided a few guidelines are followed during installation. Not all types of insulation have undergone the safety testing like mineral wool and fiberglass. Therefore it shouldn't be assumed they are safe. Ask to see test results for any product you are not sure of. Make sure a 3rd party and not the manufacture did the testing.
If you are looking for insulation based on its environmental properties not just its R-value here is some interesting information. Fiberglass insulations use a minimum of 20 percent and as high as 40 percent post consumer product and are the 2nd largest user of recycled glass. Slag wool has as much as 90% post consumer material but averages around 75%. This information is not to persuade consumers towards the purchase of fiberglass or slag wool but to provide information about the product so an informed purchase can be made.