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Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association

Lower Carbon Footprint Homes
With Cellulose Insulation


CIMA encourages the use of wood products and cellulose insulation in housing wherever possible to help in the worldwide initiative to reduce the level of carbon in the atmosphere. Scientists around the world are working overtime trying to find ways to lower the carbon footprint made by humans. One of the concepts is to sequester or trap carbon from manmade sources before it is released into the atmosphere. Mother Nature has the most effective method of removing carbon from of the atmosphere through photosynthesis. When trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis it basically becomes trapped in the plant cells. Thus, carbon in plants will not reenter the atmosphere until the wood or plant fiber is burned or decays.

Waste paper is the carbon-rich raw material used to make cellulose insulation. When waste paper decays in landfills it produces greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide in the process. If this waste paper is recycled into Cellulose Insulation, it is prevented from reverting to greenhouse gases for the life of the structure, while also saving a tremendous amount of energy. No other building insulation can do this.

Creating Lower Carbon Footprint Homes

Architects, builders and homeowners have a unique opportunity to reduce carbon levels in the environment by lowering the carbon footprint of homes using wood-intensive building products and energy-efficient cellulose insulation. With millions of structures constructed around the world utilizing high percentages of wood products the potential for carbon sequestration is substantial.

CIMA encourages a revolutionary new concept for creating energy efficient homes that offer the best solution to minimize energy consumption, reduce the amount of paper going to landfills and limit carbon emissions associated with construction and housing—Building Lower Carbon Footprint Homes.

New research on the use of wood-intensive construction and cellulose insulation products in homes shows it is actually possible to lower the carbon footprint of houses so they become "carbon sinks" capable of sequestering carbon for the life of the dwelling. The carbon rich wood and cellulose wood fiber stays in the home for years effectively trapping the carbon from escaping into the environment.

Utilizing wood products and cellulose insulation with naturally high amounts of carbon in home building is a simple and highly effective method of lowering the carbon footprint of homes to sequester carbon. The role wood can play in mitigating climate change was specifically recognized as early as 2003 in the European Commission's 6th Environment Action Programme. This stipulates that carbon sequestration should be exploited through the use of wood and wood-based products in the housing industry.

Wood-Intensive Homes Vs. Conventional Materials

A significant paper (Prospects of Carbon Neutral Housing, Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, Ottawa, CA, 2008) on a study comparing a typical wood frame house using more conventional materials (brick cladding, vinyl windows, asphalt shingles, and fiberglass insulation) and a similar wood frame house that also maximizes wood use throughout (cedar shingles and siding, wood-framed windows, and cellulose insulation) in place of the more typical materials used showed significant advantages of using high percentages of wood products. The wood-intensive house showed a substantial offset of manufacturing emissions resulting in a net carbon sink as compared to the typical house. Read the Prospectus For Carbon Neutral Housing(PDF of study) to learn more on the findings.

Cellulose insulation, as an integral component of wood-intensive construction, allows homeowners to have houses that save them money and benefit the environment by reducing future energy consumption and lowering their carbon footprint to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Cellulose insulation traps carbon in walls and attics for lower carbon emission homes