Living in the UK means we have to deal with weather ranging from snow in April to a heatwave in February. Things change in a matter of hours and our homes and offices need to respond to that. Insulation is a crucial part of any construction job nowadays especially when the price of heating and cooling homes is going up year on year. But, how can we do this without further impacting our fragile planet?
Introducing: Green Insulation!
Traditional forms of insulation such as fibreglass, polyurethane foam and multi foils are used because of their high efficiency and low cost. Whilst this is great for an immediate fix, the amount of energy used to make these and the chemicals used to treat them have a negative impact on the environment.
"The amount of energy used and the chemicals that treat materials such as polyurethane and multi foils have a negative impact on the environment."
Efficient doesn’t have to mean bad for the planet.
With brilliant thermal insulation properties, these tiny fired clay balls are a lightweight and eco friendly option for insulation. Porous and weight bearing, this is definitely an option if you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint!
Maybe it seems a little obvious? Maybe not? Sheeps wool has a similar consistency to a typical non natural insulation which is of course beneficial as you won’t need to get used to a new type of material when placing it. You don’t have to treat the wool for mites, there is evidence to suggest you can use untreated sheep’s wool without issues, but this is a personal choice. Unless imported, the energy needed to get the wool from the sheep to your build is low. Fantastic news!
Cellulose is a recycled material often made from newspaper as well as other cellulose fibres.Cellulose is actually one of the favourites of builders trying to avoid traditional insulation methods. This is predominantly because it can be blown into wall cavities, roofs and floors. It can also be used as a loose fill.
"Alternatives include natural materials such as sheep's wool, cellulose and expanded clay aggregate."
Pros and cons.
First off, the pros.
The low impact on the planet is of course a massive pro. Coming from organic sources and being completely biodegradable is great for the planet and still provides efficient insulation. Natural materials also allow for a building to breathe, making damp and mould less of an issue, or easier to deal with should it come up. Also, insulation coming from natural sources are renewable with responsible farming.
As with any planet saving alternative, there is usually a higher price ticket. This can be frustrating when you’re trying to create a low impact but high efficiency build. There are always areas where costs can be cut without impact on the quality of the build, but this comes down to the client as much as the project managers.
On the site we have a selection of sustainable insulation options for you. Options such as Rockwool insulation which is an eco friendly, fire and water repellent, form of fibreglass insulation. If you're not ready to let go of fibreglass this might be the option for you!
As well as this we have Knauf Rocksilk insulation. Knauf have a commitment to creating sustainable and efficient forms of insulation.
We would always encourage you to take advantage of eco friendly alternatives in lieu of traditional materials. We only have one planet after all. Any small changes we as an industry can make in our practices to better protect the planet have the potential for a much larger impact.
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