Sheep’s wool insulation is a fantastic product to use for both sound and thermal purposes. It’s a product made from material that is otherwise considered to be waste — remnants that aren’t high enough quality for use in sweaters, carpets or blankets. It is renewable, biodegrable, and durable.
Advantages of sheeps wool insulation
- It’s hygroscopic, or water loving. The insulation can absorb up to 40% its weight in water and still not feel wet to the touch and eliminating condensation in interior spaces filled with the insulation. This action in turn, prevents mould growth and/or rot.
- Wool has excellent acoustic properties.
- Wool is a resilient material and maintains its shape and therefore its R value over time. Because of the natural kink in the fibre, when fibres are side by side tiny air pockets are created which prevent heat from travelling across the insulation.
- It’s flame resistant.
- Treated with borate, it is also pest resistant.
- It’s an air purifier. It naturally binds to SOx, NOx and formaldehyde, keeping indoor air clean.
We are often asked about the methane from sheep, the answer lies in why sheep are farmed? They are farmed for the livestock industry and not the wool, the economies of wool don’t even cover the cost of shearing the sheep. Hence in an LCA [lifecycle analysis] the economic allocation is such that wool is a by production not THE product.
We have worked with a number of persons on LCAs which are not published publically at this point in time, however the foot print for wool is very low indeed. The shipping carbon cost to Canada or the USA is also low since the road miles from us to the docks are low and the carbon foot print of a container ship is also low. Sheep wool in fact locks up carbon dioxide in the growth phase and hence starts carbon negative, which compared to the man made alternatives is a distinct advantage.
Where to buy wool insulation
At this point the most widely distributed wool insulation in Canada is Havelock wool insulation. You can read about it here.
If you want to read more about the challenges facing the wool insulation industry, this is a good article on a fledgling project at Dalhousie University to find markets for leftover wool such as the insulation market.
In addition to Margaret Magruder at Oregon Shepherd and Andrew from Black Mountain, I’d like to thank to Michael Sinclair at Living Rooms in Kingston, Ontario, and Phil Walsh at Havelock Wool for answering my neverending questions about wool insulation.
Feature photo through Wikimedia: By 4028mdk09 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8031678
What are the details about getting the house insured with sheep’s wool insulation in Canada? What does the engineer or architect have to do?
I would suggest you contact Michael and John Sinclair at Living Rooms. They have had experience with getting the sheep’s wool approved for use in buildings. It is fire retardant and hygroscopic while still maintaining its R value. email: email@example.com
We want to use sheep wool insulation for our project, where in Vancouver, BC can we buy this?
I would try Oregon Sheperd. http://www.oregonshepherd.com/index.php
You might want to see if they have a BC distributor.