Choose Efficiency: An Experiment Puts Cellulose on Top

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When you take the first steps to insulate your home, you will no doubt face the choice of cellulose vs. fiberglass. Scientists, contractors, and engineers realize now that the most popular insulation material is not in fact the most effective insulator. This realization has been tested and proven true in many experiments, for example the study done by the University of Colorado at Denver College of Architecture and Planning.

One winter, a study known as The Colorado Study tested both cellulose and fiberglass insulation. To start, two test buildings were constructed. These buildings were perfectly identical with the exception of their insulation materials.

The first building, building “A,” was insulated with 5.5 inches of sprayed cellulose within the walls. In the ceilings they installed loose-fill cellulose with an R-value of 30. In the second building, building “B,” the walls were filled with fiberglass batts with an R-value of 19. In the ceiling, the experimenters installed fiberglass batts with an R-value of 30. A batt of fiberglass rolls out into stiff panels as opposed to sprayed cellulose, which fits into the shape of your walls. Based on the forms of insulation alone, cellulose covers more space.

The experiment spanned over a two-month period of December to January. The first measurement taken was simply of how airtight each newly insulated building was. The results put cellulose insulation in the lead right from the start; building “A” with the cellulose proved to be 36%-37% more airtight than building “B.”

Next, the experiment measured the amount of heat that each building lost overnight as the temperature dropped. Once again, cellulose came out on top. The building insulated by cellulose was seven degrees F warmer than the building that contained fiberglass. Now it’s up to you, do you want your house to lose more heat when the sun goes down?

After just three weeks of monitoring heat transmission in the two test homes, the Colorado Study received clear statistics. Building “A” used 26.4% less heat then building “B.” This means that in only three weeks, cellulose insulation will save you 26.4% more energy than fiberglass. The study also found that the colder it gets, the greater the difference between cellulose and fiberglass performances. Cellulose only gets better as the weather gets colder.

The Colorado Study proves the concrete facts about cellulose and fiberglass and their difference in energy-efficiency. Cellulose continues to increase in popularity as people hear about its greater efficiency, its environmental friendliness, and the rest of its many benefits.

Take the results of this study into consideration when you look for the right insulation for your home. If you want a material that will save you the most energy on your bill, cellulose is the insulation for your home. Not only does the Colorado Study verify cellulose’s benefits over fiberglass, but also the facts from production to efficiency place cellulose on top.