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"R- Value" (an expression of heat transfer resistance) is the standard for measuring insulation performance. At 3.6 to 3.8 per inch cellulose insulation is considerably better than most mineral fiber blowing wools, but R-value is only one factor in the energy efficiency of a home. Studies of actual buildings regularly show that cellulose-insulated buildings may use 20% to 30% less energy than buildings with fiberglass, even if the R-value of the insulation in the walls and ceilings are identical. One reason for this is the capacity of cellulose to stop air infiltration.
Cellulose fills walls and stops air infiltration better!
Demonstrations using transparent plastic "walls" show the superiority of cellulose in filling existing walls with many fewer gaps and voids than mineral fiber materials.
The fibers of cellulose insulation are finer and more flexible than mineral fiber blowing wool. When cellulose is pneumatically installed it takes on almost liquid-like properties that let it flow into cavities and around obstructions to completely fill walls and seal every crack and seam. No fiber glass or rock wool material duplicates this action. Liquid-applied foam plastics do, but they cost much more than cellulose.
In new construction cellulose insulation can be installed in walls using a spray process or several different dense-pack dry techniques that are also effective at sealing homes against air infiltration.
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