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Sustainability Elements – Insulation

For my project, I would really like to take sustainability into consideration as it is becoming more and more important within the design industry and the building that I have chosen for my project is not particularly sustainable at the moment. However, there are a few sustainable measures that can be taken to address this.

The Albion Brewery building is not currently insulated and ideally it needs to be for the use that I am suggesting for my project. A lot of heat is lost through the roof of the building as heat rises, this is a good area to focus on with insulation.

There are many different types of insulation, however I have selected Sheep wool because it is an eco friendly type of insulation which does not involve the use of chemicals or unnatural or dangerous fibres. Due to it being a natural fibre, it does not change properties, it does not lose any of its insulation properties, even if it gets wet and it does not settle.

Additionally, the natural chemicals found within sheep wool assist in creating a healthy environment, reducing  nitrogen, sulphur dioxide and formaldahyde. And an additional reason for choosing the sheep wool is that wool was the main industry of Northampton before the shoe and boot industry took over.

I did consider insulating all of the walls internally as well, however, in some areas I would like to keep exposed original brickwork and internal insulation would make it difficult.

It has many other advantages:

  • “Wool is natural, renewable and sustainable
  • Wool fibres are breathable, meaning they can absorb and release moisture without reducing thermal performance unlike fibre glass based products
  • Wool does not support combustion and will extinguish itself in the event of fire
  • Sheep Wool Insulation does not settle due to the high elasticity of the wool fibres ensuring no loss of performance over time
  • Wool is designed by nature to save energy
  • Sheep Wool Insulation also requires only a fraction of the energy to produce compared to that of man made counterparts
  • This means that Sheep Wool Insulation will pay back its energy costs more than 5 times sooner (only 15 kW of energy are used to produce 1 m³)
  • Wool has a higher fire resistance than cellulose and cellular plastic insulation
  • It does not burn, but instead singes away from fire and extinguishes itself (Wool has a very high inflammation point of 560°C due to its high Nitrogen content of ~16%) Wool is self extinguishing because of its high Limiting Oxygen Index (LOI=25.2), which means to completely burn wool an oxygen content of 25.2% is necessary whereas air only has 21%
  • Wool fibres are hygroscopic by nature, meaning the can absorb up to 35% of their own weight from the surrounding atmosphere depending on the humidity, helping to preserve the surrounding timbers.
  • While absorbing this moisture, wool releases energy in the form of heat, thus raising the temperature of its surrounding areas. Naturally releasing this moisture in the warmer seasons, wool creates a cooling effect on the same surroundings.
  • Multiple layered wool fibres effectively reduce airborne sound transfer.”

For more detailed information about eco friendly sheep wool insulation, please visit the link below:

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