The Levi Strauss & Co headquarters in San Francisco are constructed with 25,500 pairs of jeans on the walls in the form of recycled-denim insulation. The building has been accredited by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program as being environment-friendly. The company has also created a $100,000 denim insulation fund to help organisations make their buildings eco-friendly. The amount of denim insulation in San Francisco headquarters equals approximately 25,500 pairs of jeans.
Made from 80 percent recycled cotton fibers, denim insulation has the highest recycled content of any batt insulation on the market. (Batt insulation comes in pre-cut panels and is used to insulate floors, walls and ceilings.) It also does not contain chemicals and irritants that other insulations contain. And beyond being “green” and healthy, denim offers many key advantages for insulating, from being plentiful, cost-effective and durable, to offering superior soundproofing ability.
In the first step of the assembly line process, jeans are chopped up into small pieces. Then, metal details (zippers, rivets, etc.) are removed, either by a very powerful magnet or by being shot out of the assembly line by metal detectors and air jets. The remaining pure denim scraps are sent through a series of rotating cylinders and shredded. What was once a pair of jeans now resembles a pile of blue cotton candy.
This reclaimed fiber then turned into insulation. First, it is treated it with an anti-flammability solution. Then, it’s blended with a binder material and solidified into a solid chunk. And voila! Rather than winding up in a landfill, the old Levi’s® (and, yes, other blue jeans) are primed for a new life as denim insulation, available at major retailers across the country.
This eco-friendly product not only extends the life cycles of our blue jeans and reduces waste — it has some other advantages as well. Denim insulation’s ability to absorb sound is about 35 percent greater than traditional insulation. As a result, you’ll find it in Bosch dishwashers, the walls of movie theaters and the Los Angeles Staples Center.
It’s also non-toxic. Fiberglass insulations contain irritants and users need to wear protective clothing during installation.
The next time you decide to tackle a home improvement project, you may want to consider giving old blue jeans new life by choosing denim insulation.