Tag Archives: fiberglass

Hemp Based Barndominium Insulation

I try to keep my eyes open for new products available for post frame barndominium construction. Hemp based insulation might be of interest to some.

Disclaimer: I have never used this product and it appears to currently be a challenge to source it.

Hempitecture, based in Ketchum, Idaho, in conjunction with their material processing and manufacturing partners, is proud to offer a product never before United States’ commercially available: a hemp fiber based insulation product called HempWool. 

 

HempWool is an environmentally friendly insulation product. It can be used in your home or commercial building project. HempWool is composed of 92% industrial hemp fiber, specifically processed as a component for HempWool. HempWool meets Class A fire requirements, is non-toxic, and contributes to a healthy home.

 

Why not use FiberGlass or similar products when insulating your new barndominium? Ask any builder or insulation installer if they like working with fiberglass. Without a doubt, most will tell you working with fiberglass is an unpleasant experience. This is because fibers comprising fiberglass insulation are abrasive. They irritate skin, leaving itchy rashes if skin comes in contact. Breathing fiberglass into your lungs is believed to be cancer-causing. Despite this, fiberglass remains a primary choice for insulating barndominiums because it is cheap and easy to work with.

 

Healthy homes are more important than ever. We’re spending a lot of time indoors (especially in 2020), and materials surrounding us matter. Why should we wrap our homes in a blanket of material known to cause health complications, and can’t even be handled without covering all of your skin? HempWool changes all of this with a healthy, non-abrasive approach to insulation.

 

HempWool can be handled without gloves and with skin exposed because it is non-abrasive. Hemp fiber itself is highly absorbent, leading to one of HempWool’s greatest attributes; vapor permeability. Hempitecture HempWool insulation is a vapor permeable material; moisture can move through HempWool and be adsorbed by its fibers, with no threat of degradation or mold to itself. This all translates to thermal comfort; HempWool makes your barndominium feel better.

 

Not only will HempWool make your home feel better, it will make it perform better. At R3.7/inch, HempWool has insulation properties rivaling fiberglass and other conventional insulation materials. Various depths of HempWool are suited to meet your structural framing members, i.e: 2×4 or 2×6 studs. Whether you’re framing 24″ OC or 16″ OC, HempWool is cut to fit with nothing but pressure. HempWool will hold itself in place because it’s batts spring-like quality.

Best I can gather on price, currently it runs about double what fiberglass insulations cost. If anyone has used these products, I am interested in your feedback. some.

Disclaimer: I have never used this product and it appears to currently be a challenge to source it.

 

Hempitecture, based in Ketchum, Idaho, in conjunction with their material processing and manufacturing partners, is proud to offer a product never before United States’ commercially available: a hemp fiber based insulation product called HempWool. 

HempWool is an environmentally friendly insulation product. It can be used in your home or commercial building project. HempWool is composed of 92% industrial hemp fiber, specifically processed as a component for HempWool. HempWool meets Class A fire requirements, is non-toxic, and contributes to a healthy home.

Why not use FiberGlass or similar products when insulating your new barndominium? Ask any builder or insulation installer if they like working with fiberglass. Without a doubt, most will tell you working with fiberglass is an unpleasant experience. This is because fibers comprising fiberglass insulation are abrasive. They irritate skin, leaving itchy rashes if skin comes in contact. Breathing fiberglass into your lungs is believed to be cancer-causing. Despite this, fiberglass remains a primary choice for insulating barndominiums because it is cheap and easy to work with.

Healthy homes are more important than ever. We’re spending a lot of time indoors (especially in 2020), and materials surrounding us matter. Why should we wrap our homes in a blanket of material known to cause health complications, and can’t even be handled without covering all of your skin? HempWool changes all of this with a healthy, non-abrasive approach to insulation.

HempWool can be handled without gloves and with skin exposed because it is non-abrasive. Hemp fiber itself is highly absorbent, leading to one of HempWool’s greatest attributes; vapor permeability. Hempitecture HempWool insulation is a vapor permeable material; moisture can move through HempWool and be adsorbed by its fibers, with no threat of degradation or mold to itself. This all translates to thermal comfort; HempWool makes your barndominium feel better.

Not only will HempWool make your home feel better, it will make it perform better. At R3.7/inch, HempWool has insulation properties rivaling fiberglass and other conventional insulation materials. Various depths of HempWool are suited to meet your structural framing members, i.e: 2×4 or 2×6 studs. Whether you’re framing 24″ OC or 16″ OC, HempWool is cut to fit with nothing but pressure. HempWool will hold itself in place because it’s batts spring-like quality.

Best I can gather on price, currently it runs about double what fiberglass insulations cost. If anyone has used these products, I am interested in your feedback.

BIBS or Cellulose Insulation?

BIBS or Cellulose Insulation?

Loyal reader and Hansen Pole Buildings’ client Lonnie from Colorado Springs writes:

I’ve purchased one of your kits as my new residence and am waiting on plans and materials. I’m looking into insulation and as I am planning on dry-walling the interior, I am primarily interested in wall insulation. I know you are partial to BIBS® but wanted to get your opinion on the performance and cost benefits and downfalls of BIBS® vs dense pack or spray cellulose. I know there’s all kinds of debate about which is greener etc. but I’m more interested in performance and cost. Please impart your wisdom ;)”

Having used BIBS® (read more at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/bibs/)

in two of my own buildings, I have been very satisfied with both what I felt was a relatively low cost, as well as with the performance. When I had to do a recent small addition to our post frame home, I used closed cell spray foam. I have to admit I should have gone with my gut instinct, rather than trusting the installer on this one. He recommended four inches in the ceiling and three in the walls. I convinced him to do both an inch thicker and wish I would have held out for more yet as the area which is insulated has a very cold draft in the winter.

Cellulose occupies a particular low end niche in the spectrum of insulation. The thermal resistance of cellulose is comparable to fiberglass but unlike fiberglass, cellulose impedes air flow (and air transported heat loss). When blown into wall cavities, cellulose gets everywhere. It flows around wires, pipes and electrical fixtures, eliminating air pockets and restricting air transported heat loss. Cellulose is very inexpensive, being made from shredded paper and low cost chemicals. Those chemicals (the boric acid, borax or aluminum sulfate) provide superb resistance to mold, pests and fire.

Most of the volume (approximately 80%-85%) in cellulose is recycled newspaper. Cellulose has more recycled material than any other commercially available insulation. Finally, cellulose doesn’t use any greenhouse gases as propellants like spray foam formulations.

The only real downsides are dense pack cellulose insulation weighs several times more than fiberglass or rock wool. This usually isn’t an issue unless insulating at the attic slope (applied directly to the roof). One would need to account for the added insulation weight in calculating roof weight bearing loads. And, dry blown cellulose tends to sag and settle over time, reducing its effectiveness as an insulator within the system, unless an acrylic binder is added.

If I had another building of my own to insulate – I would be investing in BIBS® once again. Ultimately you will need to weigh the costs of each as provided by local installers to determine which product is going to best meet your end goals.

Polycarbonate eavelights: Light up my Life

One of our Building Designers, Alan, is a former general contractor who, prior to becoming a Building Designer, had constructed about 200 Hansen Buildings in several Pacific Northwest states.

This morning, he sent me an Instant Message as a client had asked if they, “could have eave lights in the roof of their building”?

Polycarbonate Eavelights

Traditional “eave lights” were opaque fiberglass (actually fiberglass reinforced plastic) panels which have roughly the same rib configuration as the wall steel. Placed at the tops of the eave sidewalls, they would allow for affordable light transmission into the building.

The downside of fiberglass is the panels have a very low tolerance for UV rays from the sun. They quickly degrade, turning yellow and becoming brittle. This means they can crack and break. Besides the less than attractive “yellow” color, the amount of light transmitted through them decreases as the yellow color increases.

A better product exists – polycarbonate panels. Polycarbonates (with trademark names such as Lexan) are very durable and have high impact resistance. Polycarbonate eavelight panels have better light transmission characteristics than many kinds of glass.

Now pole buildings work like uni-body cars, the “skin” of the building transfers shear loads (from wind or earthquake) through the roof, to the endwalls and then down to the ground. When checking the design of the building, the “load path” needs to be checked to verify the clean transfer of forces at each material transition.

Steel roofing, like oriented strand board (osb) or plywood panels (when the correct product is properly installed) will allow for the horizontal transfer of shear loads. Polycarbonate eavelights or “skylight” panels, while able to withstand impacts and carry loads perpendicular to the surface, are not rated for carrying shear loads.  Does this mean you can’t use them on roofs?  Not exactly.

Polycarbonate panels can be used as “skylights”.  However, depending upon the loads attempting to be transferred – the framing of the roof may need to be reinforced, and steel cross strapping added across the polycarbonate locations.

While not a big fan of putting “skylights” in roofs (they are a leak looking for a place to happen), I have seen some good applications, with careful installation including meticulous sealing.  If you are set on having them, please at least consider hiring the installation out to someone who clearly has installed them before and you have reasonable expectation they “know what they are doing.”

The most affordable solution to add light through the roof is to use translucent ridge caps. The peak of the roof is the zero axis of shear loads on the roof – making this the ideal structural location.  And this is something the average homeowner can install.

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