Green Building paper insulation

Recycled Paper Insulation, also called loose-fill cellulose insulation, is one of the easiest to install energy upgrade products on the market. Chances are it is also an upgrade for your home that will pay tremendous energy saving and comfort dividends.

If you have an attic space in your home, can find a buddy or family member willing to give you a hand, are willing to set aside a weekend for moderate intensity labor, and are not afraid of a little dust, you can tackle the installation of recycled paper insulation. You will enjoy far lower heating and cooling energy costs as well as greater thermal comfort in your home. The satisfaction of using a nearly 100% post-consumer waste recycled product and doing the job yourself are serious added bonuses.

The Rockstar Of the Insulation World

In green building product circles, recycled paper insulation or cellulose insulation is truly a rock star product. Made from ground up newspapers, telephone directories and sometimes paperboard, recycled paper insulation is created 80% to nearly 100% from a waste product. It is locally produced in many areas of the nation, is safe and easy to install, and the stuff can do wonders for the energy efficiency of a home with a poorly insulated attic space. A close look at the material will reveal that this product is simply ground paper. You can identify newsprint on the bits of cellulose. As the newspaper industry falters and recycled newsprint supplies diminish, some manufacturers have also invested in machines that can convert paperboard and cardboard into usable cellulose for the product. Both products perform equally well. Once the cellulose is ground up, most manufacturers treat the material with a natural fire and mold retardant such as boric acid, which is completely harmless. The treatment also makes the material largely impervious to insects and rodents.

How Recycled Paper Insulation Works

One of the great advantages of recycled paper insulation, or any blown cellulose insulation product, is that the material naturally settles around framing members, wiring, and other building components. This property of the material allows it to fill void spaces to create a continuous insulating blanket, which is one of the biggest downfalls of batt insulation products.

One of the most common misconceptions about all types of insulation is that the material stops heat loss (or heat gain in summer months). In reality, insulation merely slows the transfer of heat. All those bits of paper in blown cellulose trap billions of tiny pockets of air. That trapped air slows convective heat loss and breaks conductive heat transfer pathways.


Installation of recycled paper insulation involves renting a blower from either a tool rental center or from your insulation supplier. All of our local building supply companies have blowers that they freely lend to contractors and do-it-yourselfers following the purchase of an insulation package.

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