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GBlist: Safe Insulation? / Moisture

>   bandjf@juno.com (J FESCO) wrote:
> I have Chemical Sensitivity, and would greatly appreciate some
> suggestions on  making our attic/crawlspace less unhealthy for me.
> In crawlspace is old insulation- a ground up paper type of blown
> in insulation. I have been advised to have it removed, and replaced with > 
something that is a "safer" alternative for myself- with my condition.

          Response by:  Bion Howard
Cellulose insulation properly installed is one of the
safest green products on the market.  It is only when
improperly installed and allowed to get wet that it can
start to serve as a food source and substrate for fungii.

I would be reluctant to install cellulose in a crawl space
unless it were very well designed for moisture resistance,
and the site had terrific drainage.  In most cases I would
be comfortable using cellulose, but not in a crawl space.
In fact, I would not recommend any home built on a crawl
space for a person with MCS in the first place. In an attic,
cellulose insulation should prove to be a good application.
    More information on cellulose insulation:

    --------------- crawl space funk -------------
Where there _is_ a lot of moisture there are several key
approaches to remedy your problem:

  1. eliminate sources of moisture to extent possible

  2. get a professional blower-door guided seal-up job
      done on the interface between the crawl space and home

 !!! especially bad are leaky return ducts located in crawl space !!!

  3. spec insul product having good tested moisture resistance

  4. install product per manufacturers instructions

  5. be sure the entire assembly has a way to dry out, since
      there are times when otherwise good materials can
      create "vapor dams" (after: Bill Lotz, ASHRAE)

  6. consider products that themselves dry out;  ironically
      treated cellulose will dry out, and so will many other
      insulations, but they can become compacted lowering
      their R-factor.

There are a variety of good moisture references.  Look for
DOE Moisture Handbook (EEBA and Oikos both have this) and 
for the ASTM Moisture STP by Heinz Treschel (1990 ?) These
are the main ones.  Secondary sources, Joe Lstiburek and
Canadian Building Digests (several #'s)   ###

---------------< Contact Information >-----------------
           Mr. Bion D. Howard, Principal          
     Building Environmental Science & Technology   
   P. O. Box 1007, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20773 USA
 bdhoward@ix.netcom.com <--> http://www.nrg-builder.com
     Voice#  410-867-8000  fax#  301-889-0889
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