Environmental considerations

Cellulose is an excellent example of recycled material use in insu­lation. Insulating a typical 1500-ft2 ranch-style home with cellulose insulation productively recycles as much newsprint as an individ­ual will consume in 40 years.5 Most cellulose insulation is approxi­mately 80 percent postconsumer recycled newspaper by weight. The remaining 20 percent is comprised of fire-retardant chemicals and/or acrylic binders depending on the product. In 1994 alone, the cellulose industry used approximately 840 lb of recycled newspa­per. Experts suggest that if all new homes constructed in the United States were insulated with cellulose, over 3.2 million tons of waste newsprint would be used each year.5

According to СІМА, cellulose has a very low comparative embod­ied energy, calculated to be 20 to 40 times less than mineral fiber insulations. CEmbodied energy is the total energy, such as the fuels, electric power, transportation, and job-site related power, used to extract, fabricate, package, transport, install, and commission a building product, material or system.)