Sheep’s Wool Insulation the pros and cons.
Insulation is one of the most important steps in energy conservation in the built environment. When correctly installed it can have a great impact on energy savings in both new and existing buildings.
Insulation materials come in all different shapes and sizes, both natural and synthetic. The type of insulation we are going to focus on in this article is sheep’s wool. It is a renewable sustainable product that has no negative footprint on the eco system.
The sustainable and natural insulation type is available in slabs, batts and rolls of varying size and thickness. This makes it suitable for several insulation purposes. It is a 100% natural product that requires 15% less energy to manufacture than glass wool insulation.
We can’t talk about insulation with out explaining what the R – value means. The R – Value represents how good a material is at minimizing heat loss. Every material has an R-value. Sheep’s Wool insulation has an R-value of approximately 3.5 to 3.8 per inch of material thickness. 0.3 to 0.6 points higher than fiberglass, cellulose, or mineral wool. The higher the R-value, the better the material is at resisting the flow of heat. The better the material is at resisting the flow of heat, the less energy you use.
The pros of using natural sheep’s wool insulation.
Sheep’s wool has been proven to be safe for the environment and the end user. No protective clothing or equipment is required to handle or install it. It does not irritate the skin or lungs when handled therefore, it is a great DIY material.
Sheep’s wool is breathable which allows it to purify and neutralise the air from harmful substances like VOC compounds, chemicals and toxins.
It regulates humidity. It can absorb and release up to 33% of moister without compromising its insulation ability.
As an insulator it has far superior sound insulation because of its higher density, making it ideal for bedrooms, offices or schools.
Sheep’s wool has a naturally high nitrogen content making it one of the only fibres that are flame resistant and self-extinguishing. As a result of the wool’s high nitrogen content, it will simply smoulder and singe away instead of bursting into flames.
It is a long lasting product, meaning it does not have to be changed as much as other insulators.
As it is a 100% natural material it has a very minimal cost of production. It also is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.
The cons of sheep’s wool
Sheep’s wool insulation has a higher cost product compared to its synthetic counterparts. Sheep’s Wool may seem like an expensive alternative, but if you don’t mind paying a little extra and you like the idea of a natural environmental material that is widely available in Ireland sheep’s wool may be the option for you.
There are some insulation materials with a higher R – Value.
Untreated sheep’s wool can attract moths and other insects. However modern treatment techniques mean that sheep wool insulation you buy today will perform very well and resist any sort of pest infestation. You may need to check with the supplier of the product what Chemicals (if any are used to treat the sheep’s Wool). In some cases the chemicals used to treat the wool can counter act the products benefits. That being said there are certain company’s that produces chemical free pure wool insulation. These company’s use a patented treatment on the wool which changes the molecular structure of the wool very slightly, making it totally unattractive to bugs or moths. An example of this is Ionic Protect.
In conclusion If you are looking for a DIY product and are conscious about the Heath, Air Quality and Energy Efficiency of your home sheep’s wool insulation may be the product for you.
If you enjoyed this article and want to read more please see our other articles on How can you make your home more energy efficient and what grants are available to the general household? or Is poor ventilation and bad air quality affecting your health?.