Natural fibre and recycled insulation materials are suitable for all types of buildings. Their permeable and moisture-buffering properties make them indispensable in the renovation of historic and traditional buildings.
Deciding how best to insulate you home or building can often be a troublesome task. Confusion is commonly caused by the wide selection of insulation materials available, along with focusing too narrowly on targets such as U values.
We suggest that an achievable U value and the price / performance ratio should certainly inform part of the decision. However, we also encourage a holistic approach that considers aspects of building science and sustainability.
For new developments, their unique capacity to also protect against summer over-heating and positive influence indoor air quality makes their use an intelligent alternative to conventional materials.
Disregarding the above aspects can lead to building defects, health problems, environmental damage, and disposal problems.
Not every thermal insulation material lends itself for use in every application.
For guidance on the appropriate insulation for your needs please contact our Technical Sales Team.
Natural fibre insulation includes a variety of products derived from materials such as, wood, cork, wool and hemp to name a few.
These products can be used in wall, roof and floor assemblies in a similar way to conventional insulation materials. Similarities in cutting, fixing and application techniques ensure installers benefit from easily transferable skills. Therefore switching to the use of more natural and sustainable materials is simple.
Unlike many conventional materials, our natural fibre insulation materials don’t create hazardous conditions during installation. For example, they do not produce man made mineral fibre particulates (MMMF’s) or air quality polluting toxins such as formaldehyde.
Permeability in traditional and solid wall assembly structures is becoming a well-understood requirement. Their use is increasingly being integrated into new builds in order to capitalise on the functionality of their permeable and hygroscopic qualities (the ability to absorb, redistribute and release moisture to and from the atmosphere as humidity rises and falls).
Natural materials help protect the building fabric from unplanned moisture ingress, inhibiting mould growth and building damage, particularly where the structure is prone to decay such as in timber frame construction.
We supply a range of natural insulation products that provide a healthier alternative to modern materials. Use across many of the same range of applications required for renovation or new build applications.
Their use lends itself to both thermal and acoustic insulation and promotes healthy indoor air quality without compromising environmentally.
From a holistic perspective the multi-functionality of natural fibre is a major benefit.
A healthy, natural alternative to fibreglass and rock wool, sheep’s wool insulation helps to actively regulate water vapour and humidity.
- Sheep’s wool sequesters and breaks down air pollutants such as formaldehyde.
- Its porous nature promotes sound absorption as wall and floor cavity filling insulation, helping to create acoustic comfort in sensitive spaces.
- Produced with coarse fibre British wool from hill and fell breeds such as the Herdwick. This co-product would often otherwise be unused and treated as waste.
We also supply Thermafleece cost effective, sustainable and efficient Thermofloc cellulose insulation. This is a cavity filling recycled newspaper insulation that is suitable for specialist blown installation or installation by hand.
Wood fibre boards and cork boards are forms of breathable insulation made from sustainable sources. They offer excellent improvements on modern foil backed boards and polystyrene.
Suitable for both internal and external application, they shield against summer over heating and winter cooling whilst also contributing to acoustic comfort. The hygroscopic properties of wood fibre also help to regulate air humidity, maintaining high indoor air quality.
- We provide a full range of tapes, membranes fixings and finishing plasters. Talk to our insulation experts to discuss build-ups specific to your project.
- The simplicity of cork board installation makes its use suitable for a competent DIYer.
- Cork can also be supplied in a granulated form allowing for a diverse range of applications.
Foam glass aggregate is made from 100% recycled glass. It has the added benefits of being free-draining, load bearing and is unaffected by frost (to name a few). Its closed cell, non-capillary function makes it suitable for sub-floor insulation.
Using foam glass can streamline the materials and labour involved in floor systems. Its lightweight nature reduces the environmental consequences of its transportation.
Insulating renders offer an improvement to thermal insulation where the fixing of boards may not be possible, practical or permitted.
It is commonly misunderstood that any type of insulation material is equally well suited for protecting against heat, cold, and noise. This can lead to the misuse of materials and instances of moisture damage and lack of thermal and acoustic comfort.
Appropriately used, natural fibre insulation materials can deliver thermal (winter and summer) and acoustic comfort whilst protecting the building fabric, achieved with a lower or potentially negative carbon footprint and fewer health issues during installation compared to oil or mineral based materials.
Concern continues to grow over both the health and environmental impact of many modern products. There is now an awareness of issues such as ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ tropical deforestation and end of life material disposal.
Indoor pollution and allergies are an important consideration these days. Using natural fibre materials to provide thermal and acoustic comfort is not only a good way to inhibit the release of toxins into living and work spaces, but they go so far as to actively promote healthier indoor spaces by buffering humidity, capturing toxins and compensating and utilising thermal mass to compensate for temperature spikes and falls.
Literature points to life cycle assessments, longevity and repair-ability as well as cradle to cradle as key considerations for sustainability.
Natural fibre insulation materials are often derived from co-products of other processes, which significantly reduces their environmental impact. By their nature, they’re much more readily and sympathetically re-used, recycled or disposed of.
For more information on the environmental aspects of specific materials please feel free to discuss with our knowledgeable team.
In terms of energy, resource use and toxicity, buildings and constructions are some of the most wasteful and polluting areas of modern life. However, the environmental situation can be changed and sustainable, natural insulation and building products are part of the solution.