aha! Ideas & News


Sustainable Insulation

Wool - it is not just for clothes and rugs.  We have begun to see an interest in wool insulation for buildings.  Before there was fiberglass, there was sheep wool insulation, and the product has never become obsolete. If anything, it may remain a better product in terms of building science. Although sheep wool insulation had nearly disappeared in this country, it has remained popular in the U.K, Australia, New Zealand, and other nations.

It’s green appeal is rather obvious: sheep wool is a rapidly renewable agri-based resource produced with a remarkably small carbon footprint, and it is completely biodegradable.

But sheep’s wool insulation also provides some intriguing functional advantages.  It will absorb up to 20 percent of its own weight in moisture.  In a humid environment it will actually absorb moisture from the room, and as the humidity drops it expels the moisture back into the room. During that process, the water vapor does not alter the thermal characteristics of the product at all, or effect its life cycle.

It also actively contributes to indoor air quality. A lot of materials that go into residential and commercial construction contain formaldehyde, and sheep wool will simply absorb it from out of the air.  As for life cycle issues, wool insulation should last as long as the the typical building that houses it.

Wool is naturally fire resistant, but t must be treated for additional protection against mold and vermin infiltration. The products should contain no added formaldehyde or VOCs. The products can contribute three different LEED credits.

All of those benefits add up to higher retail price points, but it is provides a higher value product.  It is a product worth watching -