Old to New; Denim Insulation by Sara Espinosa

          As I was researching insulation many forms came up such as loose-fill, blanket, rigid board and spray foam; each form can be made using a variety of materials. I came across denim insulation and my first thought was that it was made out of recycled jeans. I had heard that denim material was a good insulator, so I began to further research it. I didn’t want to only research denim insulation, so I researched the material that is most known and most used, fiberglass. From my research, the Green Scene Design Team has officially decided to stick with a denim insulator.

Image          Using denim as insulation is great for the environment, since it is using recycled jeans to create insulation. To understand what denim insulation actually is you need to know how it is made. The first step to the creation of denim insulation is when the old blue jeans (recycled) go through a process to change it into an insulation material that looks like blue cotton candy. It starts when the fabric is separated from the zippers, buttons and any other material that isn’t denim. From there the material is shredded into many pieces, then moved to a baler. Bales are moved to another processor that unweaves this denim. The denim is now in its original fiber state and is then treated with a borate solution to help make it flame resistant and repel mold and mildew. These materials are mixed with another fiber to bond them together in a large oven. Lastly, they press this material into thick rolls and they cut it into different sizes for shipping.

          The denim insulation is better than fiberglass, a traditional insulator that can be very dangerous. Denim insulation is not only safer for the environment because it is used with recycled blue jeans, but it is also safer for humans. Unlike fiberglass, installing this denim insulator does not require a mask, gloves or goggles. Fiberglass can get into your lungs or eyes and cause itchiness or irritation. Denim also does not release harmful chemicals (many other insulators do, including fiberglass).

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          One of the best qualities of denim insulation is that the R-value is very high (which means that it has a high resistance to heat flow[what an insulator is supposed to do]). While traditional fiberglass that is 3.5 inches thick has an R-value of 10.9 and 6 inches has an R-value of 18.8, denim insulation has the R-values of 13 and 21. This shows that denim insulation is environmentally friendly, safer for humans than other insulations, and even does its job better by insulating with a high R-value.

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          Prices are also important to consider, especially on a budget. For a 53.04 square feet piece of insulation with the dimensions of 5.5” thick, 16.25” wide, 94” long is 72 dollars. I would love to buy from Bonded Logic, but know that other stores located nearby have supplies of denim insulation as well (such as the store we recently visited, Treehouse). Denim insulation has amazed me so much that I requested a sample from the company Bonded Logic, who have sent it out. When the sample arrives the Green Scene Design Team can test it out. 

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