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Eco-Touch PINK Fiberglass Insulation

All light-density Owens Corning Pink fiberglass insulation products are now made from the company's Eco-Touch fiberglass, which contains a formaldehyde-free bio-based binder… Read more
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  • Pre-consumer (also called “post-industrial”) recycling refers to the reuse of industrial by-products, as distinguished from material that has been in consumer use. The iron-ore slag used to make mineral wool insulation and the fly ash used to make concrete are examples of post-industrial recycled materials. While post-consumer recycled content is preferable, a product that uses pre-consumer content or recycles a seldom-used waste product, especially in an area where recycled products are hard to find, can be considered green.

    Excluded from this category, by FTC definitions, is the use of scrap within the same manufacturing process from which it was generated—material that would typically have gone back into the manufacturing process anyway.

  • Growing and harvesting our building materials would be a great way to move toward a closed-loop system rather than a linear path from extraction to disposal. Doing so holds the promise of true sustainability and regeneration of ecosystems instead of damage to them.

    Unfortunately, biobased materials today can be at least as problematic as any other material. Intensive land use, chemical use, fuel use, nutrient runoff, and other pollution are among the impacts of agriculture; add to that competition between food crops and those used for building materials or fuel. We would like to see sustainable use of biobased materials, but improving practices and figuring out how to assess and document more sustainable practices will take a long time. There is no ready equivalent to FSC for biobased materials that aren’t wood, although certification to “organic” standards or other sustainable agriculture standards can provide guidance in some cases.

    At the same time, we don’t want to exclude biobased products that are typically responsibly sourced just because they don’t have a certification—particularly where they replace more problematic materials. GreenSpec continues to give preference to rapidly renewable alternatives to materials that present greater concerns. Examples of rapidly renewable materials in GreenSpec include linoleum, cork, and textiles such as wool, sisal, and organic cotton.

  • Better information alone doesn’t make a product green, but it does make it a lot easier to see just how green that product actually is. We can make more informed purchasing decisions when we know what’s in a product, not just manufacturer’s claims about what it’s “free-of”; and when we know the actual environmental impacts of manufacturing the product relative to alternatives, not just a trade association’s claim that it’s “green.” Making information public can also help manufacturers get greener. It’s often the manufacturers that are already greener that are willing to share more information in the first place, but in the process of doing so they see where they still need to improve. Products with Environmental Product Declarations are included here, along with products with other forms of disclosure, such as products from companies that participate in the Global Reporting Initiative, or provide full disclosure of ingredients, potentially via the Health Product Declaration format. GreenSpec also lists products that help track buildings' energy and water performance, especially when those tracking tools can be used to publicly display or report energy and water usage.

  • Before specifying efficient heating and cooling equipment, it’s important to do what we can to reduce heating and cooling loads. Insulation is one of the key products to consider here, but because there are so many insulation products on the market, we look for additional benefits. Examples include cellulose insulation with recycled content, mineral wool insulation with no flame retardants, and fiberglass insulation with no formaldehyde binders. Other products in this area are high-performance windows and glazings, products that contribute to building airtight envelopes, products that reduce thermal bridging, and window-retrofit products.

    With products in this area under constant development, we are always refining our approach. For example, as we have learned about insulation products with hazardous flame retardants and blowing agents that have high global warming potential, we have removed those products from GreenSpec, pending manufacturing changes. We encourage building professionals to pressure manufacturers for those changes through specification language and purchasing decisions.

Tristan Roberts
Editorial Director

All light-density Owens Corning Pink fiberglass insulation products are now made from the company's Eco-Touch fiberglass, which contains a formaldehyde-free bio-based binder. These products contain a total of 58% recycled content (36% post-consumer) for faced and 65% (41% post-consumer) for unfaced batts and all loose-fill, as certified by Scientific Certification Systems. Eco-Touch fiberglass insulation carries the UL Greenguard Gold certification for low emissions. Because the binder is proprietary, it is difficult to judge its full environmental impact.

Read more on this product in "BuildingGreen's Product of the Week"

Owens Corning has engaged in corporate-wide reporting through the Global Reporting Initiative, so its products get our Information Transparency attribute.

Blanket, or batt, insulation can be manufactured using fiberglass, mineral wool, or cotton. Fiberglass is made primarily from silica spun into glass fibers held together with a phenol-formaldehyde (PF) binder— although formaldehyde-free products are commonly available. Most fiberglass insulation today has at least 30% recycled-glass content, with some manufacturers using as much as 40% post-consumer recycled glass from bottles.

Mineral wool insulation is made from molten slag (a waste product of steel production), natural rock (such as basalt and diabase), or a combination of the two, and a PF binder to hold the fibers together. Mineral wool has a higher density than fiberglass, so it has better sound-blocking properties. It is also more fire-resistant than fiberglass.

Cotton insulation is made from post-industrial recycled or post-consumer recycled cotton textiles, such as denim, with synthetic fibers added to maintain loft. Low-toxic flame retardants similar to those used in clothing are added. Unlike fiberglass and mineral wool, there are no mineral microfibers to cause respiratory and skin irritation.

Blanket insulations, especially fiberglass products, are typically inexpensive, but require meticulous installation to minimize air leaks around openings and where wires or pipes extend through wall cavities that can compromise the wall’s overall performance. Fiberglass may also be less effective than many insulation types under very cold conditions, due to its relatively low density and air movement through it—though this has been a greater problem with loose-fill fiberglass in attics.

Products listed here have high recycled content, reduced indoor air quality concerns, or superior performance in particular applications based on their air-tightness or management of moisture.

LEED Credits

EAc1: Optimize Energy Performance

EAp2: Minimum Energy Performance

MRc4: Recycled Content

MRc6: Rapidly Renewable Materials

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Manufacturer Information

Owens Corning
One Owens Corning Pkwy.
Toledo, OH
Toll-Free: 800-438-7465


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