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Community and Q&A

Experience with Sheep Wool or Hemp Fiber Insulation

Andrew_DePaoli | Posted in General Questions on

Just wanting to learn more about alternative insulation products compared to foams and fiberglass.  There is small amount of info out there about wood fiber insulation, and I am excited to see what becomes of GO labs, an up and coming wood fiber manufacturer out of Maine. And I’m very familiar with Rockwool and obviously like it better than fiberglass and most foams, but still see the possibility of other products (wood fiber, hemp, or wool) performing similarly and having a carbon neutral or negative impact.
Anyone have experience with using sheep wool insulation of any kind (batt or loose fill), and/or have any insight into the performance? I’ve seen in on various social media platforms being used in campervan build outs, mostly sourced from Havelock Wool, and know that 475 supplies it. Most of the time I see it in pictures, the batts seem to be installed in varied depth and fluff, which seems negative, given you usually want an consistent installation depth and fluff of whatever insulation you choose. Or is that not the case when it comes to sheep wool?
Similarly in regards to Hemp fiber insulation, does anyone have experience or performance insights? It seems like Hempitecture is one brand making batt and loose fill hemp fiber insulation out of Ketchum, ID. Are there others making hemp fiber insulation? Thanks

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  1. maxwell_mcgee | | #1

    Seems like no one had a strong POV on this two years ago.

    How about now? I'm curious about these products too and wondering if anyone had any real-world experience with them?

  2. Jeremiah_Sommer | | #2

    We have install both, we used hemp batts as wall cavity insulation and sheep's wool as loose fill in the attic. Aside from the hemp being more difficult to cut then Rockwool or fibreglass it was great to install, not itchy and the process it the same as any batt. the Sheep's wool from Havelock is a promising material and we would use it again, the main challenge is the blowing process. we couldn't find a loose fill installer willing to run it through their machine and I'm not sure it would have worked anyway. We ended up having to open all of the bags of wool and create a large pile on the floor then use and vacuum that would typically be used for sucking insulation out of an attic and essentially reverse the process. It took considerable time to blow in a 2000ft/2 attic compared to loose FG or cellulose. If the machinery becomes available to blow SW as quickly as standard materials it could be a game changer.

  3. Expert Member
    DCcontrarian | | #3

    Havelock is now renting their recommended blower:

  4. GBA Editor
    Kiley Jacques | | #4

    I can't speak to real-world experience but I am very excited about a story I am working on with Matt O'Malia (founder of GoLogic/Lab and TimberHP ). There seem to be so many reasons to go in the direction of wood-fiber products but domestic availability needs to be hammered out to make them a feasible option, which is exactly what Matt and his team are planning to do.

    1. maxwell_mcgee | | #5

      Great! One request...might you be able to work in a Canadian angle to the story too? Seems there's a lot of Canadian members here who would be keen to know more about availability in this market also.

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