We have blown in the large majority of the insulation. This is really exciting because insulation is the foundation of an energy efficient home. The cellulose insulation that we are using is made locally in Belchertown by National Fiber. They use shredded and fluffed unread New York Times and Boston Globe newspapers. The cellulose is mixed with 17% borate which is a non-toxic fire-retardant and insect repellant. It also inhibits the growth of mold and mildew. Competitor’s use ammonia sulfate which is more toxic and less effective.
When all is said and done we will have 12.5″ of cellulose in the walls (R-45)
Cellulose spray box truck.
This pile of 125 bales of cellulose is only a fifth of what I estimate the house will need.
Uptight Insulators at work blowing dense pack cellulose
Cellulose in the bays of the parallel chord trusses
Thank you John for helping to load the cellulose!
I forgot to add one other interesting detail about our solar hot water system. We were not terribly excited about the off-the-shelf insulation for the exterior piping for the solar hot water system. It seemed that it would leave exposed gaps. Like the perfectionists we are, we thought we could do it better.
Adam suggested cutting 4″ PVC in half, reassembling it around the pipe, and then blow in spray foam insulation. The process certainly took more time than using off the shelf materials, and we experienced some problems with the spray foam. It turned out there wasn’t enough moisture in the PVC after we sprayed in the foam and it never cured. Rather than take the whole thing apart, we drilled in new holes and sprayed in water and foam. This seemed to solidify it all, but I am sure that the resulting foam is not as insulative as it could be.
In the end, I am not sure we would use this method again–even if we did spray in some extra water to start. Probably the way to go is to try to double up Armaflex pipe insulation.
Experiment with alternative method for insulating exterior solar hot water piping