Sheep’s Wool a Sustainable Home Insulation Solution

Sheep wool insulated house

Sheep’s wool has proven to be an excellent source of insulation for housing, proving more effective than many traditional insulation products.

Mark Waghorn Architects recently designed the Three Glens farmhouse in Scotland, which exceeds UK energy standards, using wool from the farm’s own sheep as insulation.

The architecture firm stressed the importance of preserving natural resources with the site-sensitive green farmhouse design.

Wool has superior safety benefits due to the fact it will extinguish itself in the event of a fire because of its very low conductivity. Because it contains moisture, it is resistant to fire and will extinguish once the flame source is removed.

As a material, wool is extremely breathable. It absorbs and releases moisture from the air without affecting its thermal efficiency.

Creating a natural buffering effect, wool insulation reduces the need to constantly adjust heating or cooling as it keeps buildings cool during the day and warm at night.

It has a long life-span and can absorb moisture while retaining its insulating properties. As a hygroscopic insulator, it doesn’t become wet to the touch so it continues to perform. This is a result of sheep adapting to harsh environments and their wool changing to protect them from the elements.

sheep wool stack

Sheep Wool Stack. Credit: Home Buzzle

Most importantly, wool is natural and safe for the environment and for the user.

Advantages of Wool Insulation

  • Since wool fibres are crimped, they form millions of small air pockets trapping air and keeping warmth in and cold out.
  • The crimped fibres are very resilient and maintain thickness.
  • Wool is sustainable, natural and renewable.
  • Insulation from sheep’s wool is safe and easy to install.
  • Sheep’s wool won’t cause eye or skin irritation and the fibres are not hazardous to health.

Environmentally Friendly

  • Sheep’s wool uses only a fraction of the energy to produce compared to manufactured alternatives (15 per cent less energy than glass fibre insulation).
  • Wool is a natural way to save money.
  • Sheep’s wool is renewable and does not harm the animal.
  • Wool is sustainable and can be remanufactured or biodegraded at the end of its life.
  • Wool absorbs and breaks down indoor air pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
Crimped wool fibres

Crimped wool fibres. Source: Wheep Wool Insulation

Performance of Wool Insulation

  • Wool has a higher resistance to fire than cellular plastic insulation.
  • Wool releases energy in the form of heat, raising temperatures around it.
  • Layered wool fibres reduce airborne sound transfer acting as an acoustic barrier.
By Kristen Avis
Top Image: Sheep’s wool insulated house in Scotland. Credit: Inhabitat
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