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cellulose insulation made with recycled paper is a good green option  
with performance - high R value  and low ghg emissions
On 11 Dec 2008, at 12:55, Robert Riversong wrote:

> Icynene vs straw is a good example of the difficulty in making  
> appropriate choices of "green" materials.
>
> While I don't think that spray foams should be used in new  
> construction, stuffing straw into existing walls for a retrofit/ 
> upgrade is not a sensible option and with a limited wall cavity  
> Icynene may be the best alternative for renovation. Even for new  
> construction, straw bales - with their low R-value per inch (1.45,  
> about the same as lumber) may not be the best choice.
>
> Besides having no global warming or ozone-depleting installation by- 
> products, Icynene has only a little more embodied energy per cubic  
> foot than fiberglass (not that I would recommend fiberglass for  
> anything), typically less installed embodied energy (since framing  
> bays are not generally completely filled) and better efficiency  
> payback.
>
> Best use of remaining fossil energy and petrochemicals? Not so  
> simple to discern.
>
> --- On Thu, 12/11/08, Michelle Smith Mullarkey <[log in to unmask]>  
> wrote:
> Point taken.  I admittedly was thinking of products like Icynene  
> vs. straw, but it seems fossil fuels really are part of our entire  
> world.
>
> On 12/10/2008 6:21 PM, Robert Riversong wrote:
>>
>> --- On Wed, 12/10/08, Michelle Smith Mullarkey <[log in to unmask]>  
>> wrote:
>>  Fossil fuel is still used to manufacture and transport the  
>> majority of green building products (not natural building products  
>> such as straw bales)...
>>
>> I'm afraid that fossil fuels are used for the production of most  
>> straw and since some of it is coming from Canada, there's also  
>> transportation costs. "Natural" building materials are not  
>> necessarily immune from the environmental costs of other materials.
>