Growing up, one of my favorite gifts for college was clothing. Budgets back then were tight, so any contribution to the clothing fund was always appreciated. In particular, I looked forward to getting the wool sweater that my aunt and uncle would bring me every year when they returned from their annual trip to Ireland. These sweaters were always one of my favorite pieces of clothing. Why? Because they could be counted on to keep me warm in the cold winters in Albany, NY.
For thousands of years, sheep have been able to survive harsh summers and winters. Due to their crimped nature, wool fibers form millions of tiny air pockets that trap air, helping to give a breathable thermal barrier – and thus keeping the sheep warm during winter and cool in the summer months. If nature so effectively uses “wool coats” to protect sheep from extreme cold and heat, why not do the same in our homes?!
To be clear, insulation is extremely important to energy efficiency in our homes. It provides an easy way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. All while saving on utility bills. According to a study by the Boston University School of Public Health, increasing insulation levels in existing U.S. single-family homes to the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) level would reduce electricity consumption across the United States by 37 billion kilowatt-hours. That’s equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 3.4 million U.S. homes.
As I’ve written: “While keeping your place cold can be a serious energy drain, keeping it warm can also be a heavy load. The furnaces and heaters you use to keep comfortable on cold days can use a lot of electricity, especially if your home isn’t insulated well. Many homeowners looking to winter-proof their home are now choosing earth-friendly materials such as hemp, cotton, and sheep’s wool. Using those sustainable materials can help you stay toasty warm while keeping your carbon footprint at a minimum.”
While other types of insulation such as, glass, mineral wool, cotton and foam are commonly used in homes, wool insulation, in my opinion, is the best option. Makes me think of that song, “Nothing Compares 2U” by Sinead O’Connor! All the other forms of insulation just can’t come close to the capabilities of wool. That’s why, when a company like Havelock Wool makes sheep wool insulation, I listen and do the research.
Again, wool has certain characteristics that make it able to breathe. Moisture can be absorbed and desorbed against up to 65% relative humidity. Thereby keeping a home dry and comfortable while helping to prevent rot and mold. All which can lead to expensive repairs and health concerns. Unlike many types of manufactured insulation, wool insulation doesn’t settle and can keep up its R-value for 50 years. It’s also fire-resistant and is an excellent acoustic insulator. Plus, natural wool is 100% compostable.