The Early Days of Insulation

40 years ago, the gold rush for energy efficiency had begun!   Cecil Chamberlain & Ken Weingardt decided to get their feet wet by taking their construction knowledge & start the company Bestway Insulation.   Ken was introduced to foam insulation from one of his friends as a new hot and coming item on the market.

He bought his first machine with a loan from his uncle.  “We used foam to insulate batted walls.  But shifted into insulating batted (& empty) walls with cellulose.”  Bottom line, Ken shifted from fiberglass to cellulose because he didn’t like the fiberglass product.  Through customer feedback, he focused on insulating attics and walls.

Ken would make an ice cream cone, cut it into a 4 inch cube, weigh it.  Whenever you had a good mixture, there was a taste to it, something you could see.  “We did 100s of  homes with foam.  But then, foam was getting banned because of out-gassing.  But we never had one issue of out-gassing because we had the right mixture and proper placement.”  Due to the risk today,  Bestway focus’s on a combination of air sealing with a low offgas foam and cellulose:  Due to it’s recycled content, there no off gassing of the cellulose.  Although a great product, We don’t use Icynene due to the skin sensitivity of the product.

We got in just on the tail end of the Federal and Colorado state tax credit.  However that ended and Bestway sold cellulose based on the comfort and energy efficiency of the product.

“What really amazes us is that companies come and go, especially some of the big ones such as Penguin, etc.  We come to find out that many of them did not have the workmanship that they advertised.  Much of our knowledge gained in the early days, we learned a lot through the weatherization programs.  They were ahead of the time with the infrared, blower doors, etc.  Our company has always been an honest company and we do the very best that we can.  And we have always done that.  We’ve always had the philosophy, pay us on completion and we are not high pressure.  We’ve always been an estimation based sales philosophy.”

To gauge the effectiveness, Ken’s measure of success is the number of bags put into the wall.  And today, studies have shown, that cellulose maintains most of it’s R value when compressed, but gains by reducing air leakage in the walls.

 

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