The Opinion of a certified green builder:
I must get this off my chest as it has been on my mind for some time now. While watching TV one night a commercial came on for the building insulation product which features the Pink Panther cartoon character as its mascot. I thought nothing of it until the very end of the commercial when the announcer said “Pink is Green”!
I nearly fell out of bed! This was a very blatant example of misleading the public and jumping onto the green bandwagon since it seems to be the fad du jour! How you ask? The commercial advises its viewers to insulate their attic spaces to save on energy cost, this is good and well known across the board. What I have a problem with is that I wouldn’t use this product to do it!!
Just because you tell your consumers to insulate their homes doesn’t all of the sudden make your product green! That’s a freakin’ given in construction! I went to Owens Corning website to investigate this further and despite their green efforts I became even more miffed. I do applaud corporate giants that are at least trying to make a green difference but only when it’s done because it’s the right thing to do and not the latest trend.
Their website boasts of their use of recycled content fiberglass in their batts insulation. So what! So do the other brands. Their site boasts of how their product is being used to help cut down energy costs in various applications, well guess what, so do the others! What I couldn’t find on their site is one of the most important things that got me to switch to their competitor-Johns Manville (JM)- and is called out on construction specs for green buildings which is Formaldehyde Free! I even went as far as to call Owens Corning who told me that yes their product does contain formaldehyde, but the JM product is just a marketing ploy. Oh really I asked, but why? The response was their product is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified! Excuse Me, but LEED only certifies buildings not products!! I was also told their product has the GreenGuard seal. This one stopped me cold in my tracks until I went to the GreenGuard website. Good grief it seemed like every insulation product ever made got their seal of approval. I’m surprised toilet paper wasn’t on the list too! Plus I also know that many third party certifications are industry funded. Here’s a great article on that very topic which confirmed my suspicion.
What You Need To Know:
Truth be told there are even far better insulating products to use than fiberglass batts (I’ll save that for another discussion), but since this commercial showed the pink fluffy stuff lets stick with that – please be aware - regardless if it’s white, pink, or yellow, it doesn’t retain its R-value if it’s installed improperly. Smashing it into the stud bays is the worse way to install batts, who cares if it’s the greenest, most sustainably made product in the world; it won’t do any good if it’s installed wrong.
I don’t hate the pink product and I am clapping with one hand for the efforts they have made thus far, and if I ever saw them at any of the many green building conferences I attend I would tell them (hmmm….I wonder why I never see the pink stuff displayed at the green building expos?).
I see my rant is long so I will stop now, but if I’m to believe that Pink is Green, then I guess I would also believe that burning coal is better for the planet because you’re not using wood from trees!
[No, I don't work for John Mansville , and stay tuned for my next post when I talk about all the wonderful things General Motors (another coporate giant) is doing to make cars eco-friendly. I'm serious!]