Second Nature, Cumbria, UK
Insulating buildings using sheep's wool
Christine Armstrong wanted to use loft insulation made from natural fibres when she was renovating a 17th century farmhouse. There was insulation available made from sheep’s wool, but none of it was produced in the UK. Yet the coarse wool from UK highland sheep often went to waste, because it had limited use in the modern textile industry.
Rather than just bemoan this waste of resources, Christine took action. She set up a business, Second Nature, which developed Thermafleece, an effective roof-insulation material made largely from sheep's wool, which was launched on the market in 2001.
Thermafleece complies with UK building regulations for roof and timber frame wall applications: it cuts heat loss and is insect- and fire-proof. Although more expensive than conventional mineral alternatives, it has much lower embodied energy, is safer to handle and helps to create breathable structures. This is particularly valuable when insulating historic buildings where moisture accumulation might cause wood to rot. And the sheep it is supporting are unique indigenous breeds which maintain the upland environment.
By 2010, over 200,000 m2 of Thermafleece had been sold, and two new types had been added to the product line. And knowing that solid wall insulation will be essential to meet the UK’s 2050 carbon reduction targets, a new rigid material made from recycled wool has been launched.