Eco-Friendly Insulation Options
Eco-Friendly Insulation Options
At the heart of every eco-home design is one simple thing – insulation (both figuratively and literally).
A structure that’s well insulated can boost its eco-credentials massively. That’s thanks to a dramatic reduction in heating and electric bills by keeping the home cool in summer and keeping in the warm in winter, which, in turn, reduces your reliance on fossil fuels to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Whilst it’s true that any commercially available insulation has this effect, it’s also true that there are many types of insulation, some of which are quite harmful to the environment both in their construction and in their eventual disposal.
Take, for example, conventional insulation. Your standard insulation is made from petrochemicals and typically includes a mixture of fibreglass, polyurethane foam, mineral wool, polystyrene and multi-foils. It makes them hard to recommend from an ecological point of view, especially thanks to the large amounts of energy expended in their production.
That’s why, if you’re striving for an eco-home, choosing the right insulation for your property is so essential. Luckily, there are a number of eco-friendly insulation options out there. Let’s take a look at some of the options.
Sheep’s wool has been used as insulation for tens of thousands of years and its warming qualities are well known, so why not insulate your home with it?
Manufacturers like Thermafleece have created a market for wool insulation by treating them wool with chemicals to prevent mite infestation and reduce the risk of fire, making it an excellent option for any building.
It might sound kooky, but hay bales are increasingly being used to create ultra-insulated eco-homes around the world. By adding a lime render you can instantly create 100% natural, highly efficient walls.
Due to issues with mortgages, this type of insulation remains something of a rarity, but their popularity is growing.
Flax and hemp insulation are created from natural fibres which are processed with borates (to prevent fungus, insects and fire) and pressed into either batts or rolls. Because of the natural materials and construction method, flax and hemp insulations have very low embodied energy, making them a terrific option for eco-homes.
Extremely popular amongst eco-home builders is cellulose insulation, which is made from newsprint and other cellulose fibres which are then ‘blown’ into cavity walls, floors and roofs. This loose-fill insulation requires little energy to create and is made from largely recycled fibres, further boosting its green credentials.
Wood fibre insulation is made up from forestry trimmings and sawmill residue – elements which would typically be discarded. Instead, they’re combined with polyolefin fibres and a fire retardant in ammonium phosphate to create a relatively eco-friendly insulation product.
Cork is a material which boasts a great many uses in life, but perhaps its most underrated of all its uses is in insulation.
Manufactured by expanding recycled cork granules and forming them into blocks using heat and high pressure. In turn, these blocks can be used in flat roofs and insulated render systems, where cork’s dimensional stability and compression resistance are extremely valuable.
Want to learn more about the environmentally friendly insulation options that may be possible for your home? Talk to us here at Bespoke Builders.