Every once in a while we find a product that just makes more sense than the current standard. Fireclaytile.com and Panasonic’s Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) are probably the two that we became shameless shills for (no kickbacks, for the record. However, Fireclay does have waffle breakfasts in their showroom and we plan to extract maximum value from that ASAP!)
There’s a new product that we’re signing up for in this regard: Wool insulation seems to beat fiberglass, spray foam and cotton. A company named Havelock Wool came across our radar and from what we can tell it is slightly more expensive than fiberglass but quite a bit less than spray foam. And it is all natural and it should really deliver performance that you won’t get from fiberglass or cotton.
Nevada isn’t just luring Tesla to Reno, but it has attracted other small business like this little firm that was just recently brought here by its founder, Andrew Legge. It will be interesting to see if other small manufacturers continue to set up shop here. Hopefully many with a focus on sustainable products will choose to do so.
A quick summary of why we like wool can be done with a simple clothing analogy and for this we’ll use Under Armour, SmartWool and Cotton:
1) UnderArmour to spray foam insulation
2) Cotton athletic wear to cotton insulation
3) Smartwool to wool insulation
1) UnderArmour is clearly technically advanced, but few of us need the performance that it delivers. The insulation equivalent is spray foam insulation. This is a mix of chemicals that are sprayed into the rafter bays and it will expand to form a super tight seal. In really hot or cold environments it may be the best solution but for temperate climates it is probably overkill. And for those of us concernted about chemicals, it certainly has it’s fair share.
2) Cotton on the other hand, is an old stalwart that seems to linger but frankly it just doesn’t measure up. Most people appreciate that cotton shirts are just not and ideal performance product and they are certainly not an ideal insulation for a cold night. They hold moisture instead of wicking and they provide little warmth. In this photo of Adrian Granier’s green insulation you can see how bad the cuts are at the bottom of the bay and how the bay on the far right has already settled leaving a 1-2″ gap. That’s really bad because air will flow through those gaps and eliminate the whole point of insulation!
3) Wool This product makes sense. If you’ve ever enjoyed the comfort of a good pair of wool hiking socks or the warmth of a wool sweater than you already know this.
Now that Havelock wool is making insulation for homes at an affordable price, we think it will become a hot product and maybe even a new standard.
Read more: www.havelockwool.com
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