Blue-jean babies

Jeff vonKaenel

Watching all the news coverage of the recent 40th anniversary of Woodstock reminded me of the symbols that have long been associated with the landmark events of that period: peace signs, long hair, blue jeans. It was an era that marked the beginning of alternative culture, which led to alternative newspapers, starting in Santa Barbara and then spreading throughout the rest of the country.

Somehow it’s going to seem fitting that the ceiling of SN&R’s new building on Del Paso Boulevard is going to be insulated with … blue jeans.

Not only is this sustainable insulation aesthetically pleasing—the color is a soft, grayish blue—it’s great for the environment, since UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation is made, literally, from denim factory scraps that would otherwise go into landfill. The fibers are 100 percent recyclable and treated with a nontoxic fire retardant, which also protects against animals, bugs and mold. It contains no chemical irritants, is noncarcinogenic and has passed the Environmental Specification 1350 Indoor Air Pollutant testing that is used for California public schools, according to the Bonded Logic Inc. Web site.

“It’s made out of recycled denim, but since it’s a cotton material, it falls under the LEED credit of being ‘rapidly’ renewable, meaning it grows quickly,” said Aaron Preston, a distributor of the product.

The cool part is that this sustainable fiber is not only safer for the environment, it’s also safer for those who are installing or working under it.

Unlike fiberglass insulation, which is very widely used, there is no danger of workers inhaling fiberglass particles when they install UltraTouch insulation. It’s non-itch, easy to work with, and doesn’t require any sort of safety gear, like protective clothing or respiratory aides. Also, there’s no volatile organic compound concerns with the UltraTouch insulation.

The generation of us who experienced Woodstock may have already experienced blue jean insulation, on a personal level. After all, it’s blue jeans that keep us safe from the elements when we were hitchhiking around. So it’s appropriate that blue jeans will also be protecting us from the elements at SN&R.

Yes, we’ll have a little bit of rebellion in our ceiling.

And perhaps, on a silent, still night at our new Del Paso building, if we listen really hard, we might hear a little Hendrix in the background.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.