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Feb 17, 2012

Cellulose fibre insulation reduces energy consumption

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Insulating your home with cellulose fibre insulation material sourced from recycled newsprint could significantly reduce the energy required for heating and cooling, owing to its low energy content, asserts Cape Town-based green insulation developer Eco-Insulation.

The company states that its South African Bureau of Standards- (SABS-) approved cellulose fibre insulation is sourced from 100% recycled newsprint, offers zero emissions, and is one of the few insulation materials to be fully biodegradable, enabling it to be put to use in various agricultural applications where downcycling (the conversion of waste materials into new materials) is required.

Eco-Insulation founder and CEO Cecil Homan points out that increasing energy prices and the recent introduction of stringent building insulation legislation are driving the demand for an environment-friendly, low-energy-consuming insulation alternative.

“By installing cellulose fibre insulation, the consumer is not only reducing his or her reliance on energy for temperature control, but is also helping to recycle paper waste that would otherwise be unused,” he says.

In addition, Homan adds, the material offers extensive coverage, as it assumes a fluid consistency that enables the product to reach concealed spaces as it is being pneu- matically pumped into ceiling cavities.

Cellulose is also thought to impede the spread of fire in buildings more effectively than other insulation materials. Eco-Insulation’s product is treated with an environment-friendly flame retardant and is rated B/B1/2 (no spread of flame) under SANS 10177 Part 5.

“Studies have shown that cellulose may actually protect a building from fire damage when compared with other loose fill products such as glass fibre and polyester, as it is denser and limits oxygen availability,” he points out.

Meanwhile, the density of the product also improves noise reduction, as cellulose materials are able to trap air within a much denser substrate and absorb sound.

In Application

Eco-Insulation recently completed the insulation refit of the Southern African Large Telescope (Salt) facility in Sutherland, in the Northern Cape.

“Sutherland is said to be the coldest town in South Africa, capable of reaching temperatures far below zero, creating a substantial need for adequate temperature control and insulation,” explains Homan.

The company installed about 5 000 m2 of insulation in the Salt workshops, accom- modation areas, offices and recreation centre, and was, as a result, listed as a finalist for the 2011 Southern African Association for Energy Efficiency’s (SAEE’s) Project of the Year Award.

Meanwhile, Salt electrical engineer Keith Brown says the facility sees a substantial decrease in energy consumption from its initial 145 000 kWh/m.

“Our best estimates suggest that the energy saving is close to 180 000 kWh/y,” he asserts.

In addition, Eco-Insulation was awarded the contract for the insulation refit of South Africa’s oldest building, the Castle of Good Hope, in Cape Town, Western Cape, which was completed in December last year.

The company was also awarded the SAAEE Company of the Year Excellence Award in 2008.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
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