Insulation of the Future: The Green Cocoon Investigates Hemp

Insulation of the Future: The Green Cocoon Investigates Hemp

The United States demand for insulation is estimated to rise 3.7 percent per year to approximately $9.5 billion by 2021.[i] And with so much demand, new types of insulation are being tested for the future. We will focus on one—Hemp.

According to Green Building Advisor, “Two North American companies are producing insulation for residential construction from locally sourced hemp fiber. This gives builders an alternative to fiberglass, plastic foams, and other more conventional materials.”[ii]

Europe Has More Access to Hemp

In Europe, builders have access to hemp insulation, but availability has been limited in the U.S.  Some U.S. builders have toyed with a mix of hemp fibers and lime called “hempcrete.” But, because of U.S. laws, extensive use of industrial hemp has been blocked.

Hemp Batt Wall Insulation

One Canadian company capable of producing threadlike hemp insulation on a commercial scale is Montreal-based MEM Inc.  Not far behind producing hemp fiber insulation is a biomaterials supplier in Louisville, Kentucky, called Sunstrand. And, new on the scene is Nature Fibres, a Canadian company based in Quebec. [iii] The interesting fact about Nature Fibres is they moved into Asbestos, Quebec, to start up their business. The town was named after asbestos because of the former industry in town. But, due to the associated health risks, those manufacturing facilities are closing their doors.

Benefits of Using Hemp

The benefits of using Hemp for insulation are many. It is biodegradable and has a very long service life. “Walls opened up in France 50 years after construction showed hemp insulation looking essentially brand new.”ii Hemp is composed mostly of a natural fiber (88% hemp fiber and 12% polyester fiber) with no chemical binders and no VOC (volatile organic compounds) off-gassing. As a result, it allows water vapor to pass through it. and is naturally repellant to rodents and insects.

It is clear that with all the changes in the market and with regulations, the insulation industry needs to keep up with demand and changing times. The Green Cocoon is a company that looks to help people lower their carbon footprint by increasing their home’s efficiency. We do this while using the greenest products available on the market.

[i] Walls & Ceilings (2019, August 6). An Optimistic Look into the Insulation Future. Retrieved from wconline.com.
[ii] Green Building Advisor (2018, March 8). Hemp Insulation Comes to North America. Retrieved from greenbuildingadvisor.com
[iii] Eco Home (2018, October 19). Hemp Insulation in Canada & USA – Insulating Naturally Is an Eco-Friendly Alternative. Retrieved from ecohome.net.

No Fossil Fuels Needed for Newton, Mass. Restoration Project

No Fossil Fuels Needed for Newton, Mass. Restoration Project

Newton, Mass. – The Green Cocoon, Inc. (TGC) was recently awarded an insulation project for a home in Newton, Mass. The original home, built in the early 1900s, is being fully renovated, gutted completely to the studs. Once completed, solar panels will be installed in the home and it will run on 100 percent electricity. Consequently, this house will not use any fossil fuels!

Closed cell spray foam was used on this project, specifically Gaco HFO (hydrofluoroolefin) spray foam. HFO closed cell spray foam is a reformulated version of spray polyurethane foam. But, the reformulated version has only a tiny fraction of the global warming potential of its predecessor.  HFO is a blowing agent and is an essential ingredient in spray foam insulation. It creates the tiny bubbles of trapped gas that slow the movement of heat and make foam such a good insulator with a very high R-value. But the most common blowing agent in spray polyurethane foam today, a hydrofluorocarbon, has a global warming potential (GWP) more than 1,000 times that of carbon dioxide. The newer type of blowing agent has a GWP of 1.[i]

“We have been using an eco-friendly closed cell spray foam for quite some time,” said Candace Lord, Green Cocoon Vice President. “It reduces excess waste and energy consumption in buildings by up to 50 percent while adding rigidity and strength to the structure. The R-value is over 7 per inch, and it has a greater resistance to the leakage of air and water vapor. It is a perfect vapor barrier in both summer and winter.”

The contract was awarded by Essex Restoration, a residential building and remodeling company in Wilmington, Mass. They have been working with TGC for over two years on restoration and renovation projects.

[i] Green Building Advisor (2017, February 9). Next Generation Spray Foams Trickle into the Market. Retrieved from greenbuildingadvisor.com

Can’t sleep? Adjust the temperature.

If insomnia is a problem, maybe your bedroom is too hot or too cold. Both can affect sleep in surprising ways.  Are you keeping your room too cool for comfort because your home costs a fortune to heat? Don’t lose sleep to save money! Contact us to find out how you can make your home more energy and cost-efficient.

sleeping-baby

How Air Temperature Affects Your Sleep

Experts agree the temperature of your sleeping area and how comfortable you feel in it affect how well and how long you snooze. Why? “When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature — the temperature your brain is trying to achieve — goes down.” “Think of it as the internal thermostat.” If it’s too cold or too hot, the body struggles to achieve this set point. That mild drop in body temperature induces sleep. Generally, Heller says,“if you are in a cooler [rather than too-warm] room, it is easier for that to happen.” But if the room becomes uncomfortably hot or cold, you are more likely to wake up. He explains that the comfort level of your bedroom temperature also especially affects the quality of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the stage in which you dream.

What’s the Best Temperature for Sleeping?

Recommending a specific range is difficult because what is comfortable for one person isn’t for another. While a typical recommendation is to keep the room between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, Heller advises setting the temperature at a comfortable level, whatever that means to the sleeper. There are other strategies for creating ideal sleeping conditions, too. Experts from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, for instance, advise thinking of a bedroom as a cave: It should cool, quiet, and dark. (Bats follow this logic and are champion sleepers, getting in 16 hours a day.) Be wary of memory foam pillows, which feel good because they conform closely to your body shape — but may make you too hot. And put socks on your feet, as cold feet, in particular, can be very disruptive to sleep.

Home Builders Sacrifice Energy Efficiency by Using Cheap Insulation

CSIRO ScienceImage 2175 Installing Insulation Batts

This is a great article about why over half the new homes in the USA are insulated with fiberglass batts.

“The big problem with fiberglass is that nobody understands how to properly install it to minimize air leakage. And if they do understand how to install it, they don’t want to spend the time and money doing it.

“So builders will happily keep building crappy walls that the wind can blow through because people can’t see it. They would rather sell visible performance, like windows and mechanical systems, because they can get real money for that.”

Read entire article from Treehugger.com, and then call us!

Insulation Is Important Year-Round

Insulation Is Important Year-Round

Insulation isn’t just for the winter months! Heating and cooling account for 50 to 70% of the energy used in the average American home. Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes. In the summer, insulation keeps the walls, ceilings and floors of your home cooler, which eases the load on your air conditioner and lowers your cooling costs.

Ask us about insulating your home today! Give us a call at (978) 462-0082.

New England Gem in Gloucester, MA

New England Gem in Gloucester, MA

A Matt Diana Housewright Project

The original house is from 1690 and it has additions dating from the early to late 1700s! The walls have layer upon layer of history. It was wallpapered hundreds of years ago and then new walls were built over those. Hand etched drawings of sailboats with a British flag can be found on the exposed first-floor ceilings.

Maintaining History

To make sure this house maintained its historical preservation we blew in Mineral wool with an adhesive into the exterior walls. The roof is insulated from the exterior with rigid foam board so as to not damage any of the beautiful interior.