Green insulation may not be the cheapest option, but its energy efficiency is second to none
Some insulation materials are more eco friendly than others. Broadly speaking, it can be divided into three categories: natural, mineral-based and that derived from oil. The eco-conscious will veer towards the former, which includes sheep’s wool (breathable, so can take a certain amount of damp), cellulose (recycled newspaper) and, more recently, hemp, grass, recycled cotton and wood fibre boards. Mineral wools include rock wool and fibreglass, the insulation of choice for the mainstream. Finally, there is insulation that is derived from petrochemicals, such as polyurethane foams and polystyrene.
Cost wise, you’ll probably find mineral-based products hard to beat. If you’re thinking of using this product range, look out for mineral wools inside a foil casing, sold by most of the DIY superstores.
Can only be a good thing, seeing that up to 15 per cent of energy is lost through the roof.
Loose-fill cellulose is useful for small gaps.
With the possible exception of cellulose, natural insulation is expensive.
Mineral wools can theoretically be recycled, but their manufacture requires a huge amount of energy.
They can also be horrible to work with.
Black Mountain Insulation: www.blackmountaininsulation.com
Energy Saving Trust: www.est.org.uk
Green Building Store: www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk
Natural Building Technologies: www.natural-building.co.uk
Words: Dominic Murphy Image: Earth Wool