They knew about house insulation back in the days of our great, great and many hundred greats- grandparents. Those who had mud huts knew a good thick mud wall would keep the house cool during the summer and warm in the winter. Many who built their homes out of stone realized they would avoid the wind whistling through by filling the cracks with moss and sheep’s wool and help keep the house warm.You can learn more at check it out
Whilst we never stopped building houses out of mud, now known as cob, we have gone through a period of poor insulation and then artificial insulation before gradually coming back to understanding how natural materials can insulate our homes.
Sheep’s wool is the most popular eco-friendly insulation. Sometimes used in its pure state and at others mixed with recycled polyester, sheep’s wool is both a natural heat insulator and also provides good sound proofing. Slow to burn, sheep’s wool insulation can also provide added fire protection. Not only is sheep’s wool insulation made from a natural product, its preparation uses a fraction of the energy needed to produce comparable man made insulation. This type of insulation has a life expectancy of 50 years.
Coming up in the popularity stakes is the use of hemp or flax. Made from carbon neutral natural fibres these are usually mixed with polyester to prevent sagging. Whilst as good as wool in both heat and sound insulation they are not natural fire resistors and have added fire resistant salts. However, these insulators have the added bonus of being able be composted once their useful life is over.
Next on the list is recycled paper, sometimes known as cellulose insulation. Available either as a loose filling or in rolls, the paper is treated with fire retardant chemicals to meet fire regulations as well as treated to prevent pest attacks. Recycled paper insulation has good thermal properties and like hemp can be naturally degraded at the end of its life.
Whilst wool, hemp and paper are the most common forms of green insulation, there are other options around. Insulation made of recycled denim gets the thumbs up for many who also need a good noise barrier whilst insulation made from recycled plastic bottles ticks the recycling box if not the green one.