A History of Cellulose Insulation
As early as 1919, Canadians used untreated, shredded paper in order to insulate their homes. It was found to be good a good insulation material. Yet it was not until the mid-1940’s that some entrepreneurs in various parts of the U.S. began grinding waste paper into a fibrous state for use as an insulating material. This was the start of the cellulose insulation industry. The patent for cellulosic fibre insulation was issued in the 1800’s, yet the product did not find a firm foundation in the market place until late in the 1950’s. The primary use of the material was for retrofitting attics, and to a lesser degree, insulation of wood-frame sidewalls.
In 1970, certain government and private groups began to see the energy shortages on the horizon. The insulation that had been used for comfort purposes in the past took on a new role, contributing to more efficient use of a scarce natural resource. Prices of energy started to rise, and the use of insulation became more economically attractive. New homes and buildings were better insulated at the time of construction, and in the mid-1970’s the refitting of existing buildings, constructed during times of inexpensive and available energy, began to demand larger and larger amounts of insulation materials.
Today, buildings of all types are being insulated thoroughly; codes and standards increasingly require it. As energy shortages become more apparent and costs for heating and cooling continue to rise, interest in use of insulation for economic purposes continue to grow.
The earliest registered chemical treatment for a flame retardant applied to cellulosic fibre material incorporates the use of boric acid. Since that time many combinations, including or excluding boric acid, have been experimented with in an effort to provide flame retardant properties in cellulosic fibre insulation. These chemicals have been used individually and in combined formulations in an effort to provide minimum cost and accepted performance as a fire retardant.