- Author: John M Harper
- Wool is natural, renewable and sustainable
- Sheep Wool Insulation is perfectly safe to touch and requires no specialized safety clothing or equipment, making it easy to install
- It causes no irritation to the eyes, skin or lungs and wool fibers present no hazard to your health
- Wool fibers are breathable, meaning they can absorb and release moisture without reducing thermal performance unlike fiber glass based products
- Wool does not support combustion and will extinguish itself in the event of fire
- Sheep Wool Insulation does not settle due to the high elasticity of the wool fibers ensuring no loss of performance over time
- Wool is designed by nature to save energy
- Sheep Wool Insulation also requires only a fraction of the energy to produce compared to that of manmade counterparts
- This means that Sheep Wool Insulation will pay back its energy costs more than 5 times sooner (only 15 kW of energy are used to produce 1 m³)
- Wool has a higher fire resistance than cellulose and cellular plastic insulation
- It does not burn, but instead singes away from fire and extinguishes itself (Wool has a very high inflammation point of 560°C due to its high Nitrogen content of ~16%) Wool is self-extinguishing because of its high Limiting Oxygen Index (LOI=25.2), which means to completely burn wool an oxygen content of 25.2% is necessary whereas air only has 21%
- Wool fibers are hygroscopic by nature, meaning the can absorb up to 35% of their own weight from the surrounding atmosphere depending on the humidity, helping to preserve the surrounding timbers.
- While absorbing this moisture, wool releases energy in the form of heat, thus raising the temperature of its surrounding areas. Naturally releasing this moisture in the warmer seasons, wool creates a cooling effect on the same surroundings.
- Sheep Wool Insulation rolls are produced to standard width requirements – saving time when fitting
- Multiple layered wool fibers effectively reduce airborne sound transfer
Now that you know about the great qualities of wool for insulation on to the first of the two articles.
Turning Sheep's Wool into High-Quality Insulation
There is a portion of the U.S. wool clip that is too coarse for the textile industry. Bellwether Materials, a San Francisco-based startup company, has figured out that this coarser wool makes for high-quality home insulation.
Priscilla Burgess, Bellwether Materials founder, was at the West Coast Green conference where she encouraged folks to touch the new insulation.
"It's just as effective as fiberglass, but you don't need a respirator and it's cheaper to install," she says.
There are other advantages, too. Wool is allergen-free and naturally pest, fire and mold resistant. Bellwether isn't the first company to use sheep's wool for insulation, but competitors all use plastic additives.
Bellwether's product is ready to go, and customers have been lined up. Now the company just has to start its manufacturing process, which should be ready for commercial production by January. Instead of outsourcing the supply chain to China, Bellwether is hiring professional millers from the milling-reliant town of Adamstown, Pa.
"We're hoping to support one whole town that was going to turn into a ghost town," Burgess explains.
Reprinted in part from fastcompany.com
Bricks Made with Wool are Stronger
Spanish and Scottish researchers have added wool fiber to the clay material used to make bricks and combined these with an alginate, a natural polymer extracted from seaweed. The result is a stronger more environmentally friendly brick, according to the study published recently in the journal Construction and Building Materials.
"The objective was to produce bricks reinforced with wool and to obtain a composite that was more sustainable and non-toxic using abundant local materials and that would mechanically improve the bricks' strength," said Carmen Galán and Carlos Rivera, authors of the study.
The mechanical tests carried out showed the compound to be 37-percent stronger than other bricks made using unfired stabilized earth.
This piece of research is one of the initiatives involved in efforts to promote the development of increasingly sustainable construction materials. These kinds of bricks can be manufactured without firing, which contributes to energy savings.
According to the authors, "This is a more sustainable and healthy alternative to conventional building materials such as baked earth bricks and concrete blocks."
Reprinted in part from esciencenews.com