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I just ran across this chart listing the R-values of 13 common insulative materials, so you can compare at a glance:    You'll notice that the list is in random order, neither alphabetical nor by rating.

And here are the R-values for some non-toxic types of insulation.  The prices listed are from the time of posting, which appears to be about 2013.  I'm including the blown-in types, just in case some clever person here can figure a way to make it work.  There are a few other materials shown at the website, but I eliminated the ones that are prohibitively expensive (like $30/sf).

Wool batts:  R-3.9 per inch, R-13.7 for 3.5"  ($3.54/sq ft)
Recycled cotton bats:  R-3.7 per inch, R-13 for 3.5"  ($1.35 per sq ft)
AirKrete, foamed concrete:  R-3.7 per inch, R-13 for 3.5"  (cost?)
Recycled cellulose (blown-in shredded paper):  R-3.8 per inch, 13.3 for 3.5" ($12/bag @HD, one bag= 16cu ft= 192sqft one inch deep when fluffed up)
Cork insulation (not flooring):  R-3.7 per inch, 13 for 3.5" (maybe ~ $1.25/sf)
Hemp batts:  R-3.8 per inch, 13.3 for 3.5" (no price shown)
Also look at foam boards too.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) white Styrofoam has an R value of 4.6/inch
Foamular 150 Extruded Polystyrene has an R-value of 5.0/inch.
Foamular 250 Extruded Polystyrene also has an R-value of 5.0/inch.
Polyisocyanurate (Polyisco, ISO) has an R-value of 6.5/inch (foil backed panels are 6.8/inch.)
The best, 2 lb closed cell sprayed in polyurethane foam has an R-value of 7-8/inch. (depending on brand, method and skill of installation.)

Note: Silica Aerogel has an R-value of 10, but it is unusable as it dissolves in water - not good. However when put inside of a vacuum insulated panel it becomes usable and bumps the insulation up to as much as R-60/inch (think Thermos bottle)! As you would expect, they're not cheap (starting at about $20/sq ft and going way up from there) and are used for high efficiency refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, etc.

The first link that I posted showed foam board in the chart (it's at the bottom of the page, which I forgot to mention).
sushidog stated "Silica Aerogel has an R-value of 10, but it is unusable as it dissolves in water - not good."

I do not believe that is correct. I have been in correspondence with Airtight, a distribution company of various types of Aerogel blanket insulation products specifically Spaceloft. Jordan Fiske stated in a recent email to me to some to the issues I raised that:

1. Spaceloft has the lowest declared thermal conductivity of any conventional flexible insulation.
2. Spaceloft is hydrophobic while being vapor permeable
3. Spaceloft is mold resistant
4. In conjunction with #2 and #3 Spaceloft has an extremely long service life. This allows the material to be reused, won't harbor dangerous mold, and if there is ever a leak in your converted van, you will not have to worry about Spaceloft.
5. Spaceloft offers an R-Value of 9.62 per inch. At nearly R-4 per 10mm layer you are optimizing R-value and lowering the thermal conductivity while maintaining the most livable space.

So my take away is this. The material developed by NASA back in the 1990s to rocket fuel at cryogenic temperatures as the rockets blasted into space works exactly like everyone wishes Reflectix did. The kicker with this stuff is that it is expensive. Airtight is selling the material for approx. $11/sq. feet. is selling it for approx $30/sq. feet. I roughly calculated the cost of insulated the cargo area of my van with 1-inch of this material for an R-value of 10 to be around $8250.

It is not worth the price now but can you all imagine the possibilities in the future with this stuff?

Future vaporware well and good.

Sealed panels of Cryogel Z, Aerogel are fantastic, but even expensive for the yachts using them for little fridges.

Polyiso, behind a little XPS if facing extreme cold is the cost effective way to go, today.
Spaceloft is less expensive than the cryogel Z. Spaceloft was specifically designed for insulating buildings and apparel Cryogel Z is designed for sub-ambient and cryogenic applications such as freezers and refrigerators. Incidentally, I just found a price for Spaceloft that is $7.63ea sqft. That is better than $11 but still expensive. Maybe it is not so bad to insulate a window or two with this stuff. Smile
The 2 inch pink board I'm getting has an R value of 10
Can't get it up here, checked with my hardware store
Home Depot and Lowes usually have it in 1/2 and 1 inch thick.
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