Smart moves for a warmer home

Or consider newer insulation types

Foam insulation has only been in use since the 1970s. It comes in two types: open cell/semi-rigid and closed cell/rigid.

Either type can be applied as a spray foam, which can be used to insulate finished walls or sprayed into the attic ceiling. The foam is sprayed in as a liquid, which quickly expands to fill the cavities. A drawback is that spray foams release potentially harmful chemicals into the air during application.

Spray foam must be professionally installed, because it requires special handling and equipment and can be harmful if oversprayed, says Marcelo Kohan, principal architect of Delargent Design Architecture in Merrick, NY.

Both are fairly expensive but can insulate well in small spaces like wall cavities.

Recycled denim is used in some green building applications. Its properties are similar to those of fiberglass, but it isn’t easy to find.