Thursday, September 21, 2006

Recycled Blue Jean Insulation


Recycled Blue Jean Insulation (by Bonded Logic)

My presentations about environmentally preferable construction practices include a lot of hands on examples of the latest in green construction materials. One sample that always draws a crowd is my old tattered sample of recycled blue jean insulation. I think people are drawn to it because it feels soft and comfortable and it is easy to tell where it comes from.

The insulation is called “UltraTouch” and Bonded Logic Inc. is the manufacturer, here is a bit from their website:

UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber insulation is the successful combination of
25 years of insulation experience and a revolutionary patented manufacturing process that has created a superior and safe product.

UltraTouch is made from high quality natural fibers. These fibers contain inherent qualities that provide for extremely effective sound absorption and maximum thermal performance. UltraTouch DOES NOT ITCH and is very
easy to handle and work with.

UltraTouch contains no chemical irritants and requires no warning labels compared to other traditional products. There are no VOC concerns when using UltraTouch, as it is safe for you and the environment.

UltraTouch is also a Class-A Building Product and meets the highest ASTM testing standards for fire and smoke ratings, fungi resistance and corrosiveness.

UltraTouch contains 85% post-industrial recycled natural fibers making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to use a high quality sustainable building material.

By installing UltraTouch, you are making both your building and the environment a safer place to live, work, and enjoy.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Photo in the news: Arctic ice melting rapidly, study shows


The rate of ice loss in the Arctic is accelerating rapidly, scientists say.

According to data from NASA's QuikSCAT satellite, between 2004 and 2005 the Arctic lost an unprecedented 14 percent of its perennial sea ice (shown in white)�some 280,000 square miles (725,000 square kilometers), or an area the size of Texas.

Perennial ice remains year-round and has a thickness of ten feet (three meters) or more. That ice was replaced with seasonal ice 1 to 7 feet (0.3 to 2.1 meters) thick (shown in pink), which is much more vulnerable to melting in the summer.

Since the 1970s summer ice in the Arctic has reduced at a rate of 6.4 to 7.8 percent per decade, the researchers write in the September 7 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. This suggests ice loss may now be occurring up to 18 times more quickly.

(Related: "Arctic Ice Levels at Record Low, May Keep Melting, Study Warns" [October 2005].)

Ice wasn't lost from all areas equally. The east Arctic Ocean lost 50 percent of its perennial ice. Much of the ice was pushed by winds and other factors into the western part of the ocean, where the perennial ice sheet actually grew.

But global warming probably played a significant role as well, and additional ice loss could trigger a feedback loop that would further accelerate the melting process, scientists say.

"If the seasonal ice in the east Arctic Ocean were to be removed by summer melt, a vast ice-free area would open up," research leader Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a press statement. "Such an ice-free area would have profound impacts on the environment, as well as on marine transportation and commerce."

The scientists report that the eastern Arctic's perennial ice sheet was reduced a further 70 percent between October 2005 and April 2006.

-- Aalok Mehta