Wool Insulation vs. Ecobatt

Disinformation. We received an interesting email recently and we wanted to share it here - see below. Intuitively there is nothing about this scenario that makes sense. Fortunately, the person receiving this information had the wherewithal to reach out and at least seek another opinion. 

It is unknown if we will have the opportunity to provide the healthiest most natural insulation available in this instance, but we sure do hope more people begin to question industry practitioners who’ve yet to figure out that big manufacturers are happy to promote toxic products at the expense of unwitting consumers. 

Yes, the game is rigged, but it can be right-sided one decision at a time.

Email excerpt, including our response below the original message:

From: XX

Sent: Monday, July 31, 2017 2:40 PM

To: Andrew Legge <awl@havelockwool.com>; Peter Blanchard <pb@havelockwool.com>

Subject: Q: Wool Insulation vs Ecobatt

Dear Andrew and Peter,

We read about your product a few months, and got interested in it as we are about to undertake a whole-house renovation, and are looking to use environmentally friendly / healthy products. 

We were seriously considering wool insulation, but our contractor has suggested that we use "Ecobatt" as a more cost-effective and equally (or more) environmentally friendly option. 

I'm not sure if you're familiar with the ecobatt product - it is here: http://www.ecobatt.us/

Can you provide a comparison of your wool insulation product vs Ecobatt, in terms of its environmentally friendly properties? Our contractor said his insulation supplier suggested that wool insulation has to be treated with things that make it actually less environmentally friendly than ecobatt.

We really like the idea of wool insulation, being a "naturally produced" product, and it sounds like it would be healthier to have in our home (including taking into consideration of the fact that we have two small children). 

But if ecobatt is cheaper, and actually MORE environmentally friendly... then the choice would seem obvious.

I wanted to reach out to you directly to get your feedback and your take on the wool insulation vs ecobatt comparison, rather than taking a 3rd-hand opinion on the matter.

Thanks,

 

Hi X,

Thanks for reaching out.

Disinformation is a continually interesting part of our industry. 

In our opinion, there is absolutely nothing environmentally friendly about fiberglass insulation. For starters check the video here.  The heat required in this process is excessive. The chemicals used as a binder are unknown, though purportedly no longer formaldehyde. The synthetic fiber is of low integrity and therefore subject to degradation when it inevitably comes in contact with moisture, which means stated r values are likely to fall off quickly over time. Also, fiberglass did well to change the aspect ratio of the ‘fiber’ and in turn shed the label as a carcinogen but we’d certainly like to avoid shards of glass in our respiratory tract, and those of children, whenever possible.

Wool is entirely renewable and sustainable in its creation. Sheep eat grass that is fueled by rainfall. We use 60 year old repurposed carding machines that run on VFD motors. There are no glues or bonding agents in our process, therefore no high-heat, as our batts are needle punched. Wool inherently manages moisture against 65% rh and the amino acids in wool will irreversibly bond with formaldehyde, NOx and SO2. So, rather than off gas unknown chemicals wool offers passive air filtration. Finally, should you ever repurpose the structure you can either reuse wool or compost it. There is no other form of insulation you can buy that offers these (inherent) characteristics. So you know, we add 8% boric acid as an insect repellent. It is natural, non-toxic and comes from the earth. There is nothing else in our products as we’ve nothing to hide in our process.

Please let your contractor know that his insulation supplier is wrong about wool and that we would be more than happy to assist in the education process so as to minimize the effects of consumers being continually misled. Alternatively, have a look at the attached and we’ll get you in touch with the folks at 475. They are the most intelligent group we’ve come across.

If you have further questions please reach out anytime.

Kind regards,

Andrew

Smart Wall Manifesto

Smart Wall Manifesto

The problem in today’s building materials market is not only large manufacturers, but consumer’s continually shocking inability to ask basic questions. By making low integrity products manufacturers have created a race to the bottom whereby the measure against alternatives is only one thing: cost. It may seem silly to say that you get what you pay for, except for one simple fact – it is often true.

Anyone interested in a solution to a huge problem?

We’ve spent enough time out of character – whinging and moaning about other forms of insulation. Admittedly, there was somewhat of a method to the madness as one must understand the problem before appreciating the solution. 

We sought to pique a tangent or two by asking intuitive questions and highlighting science that is often not part of the sales pitch for other forms of insulation. We’ve also yet to hone in on cellulose, which is a product that seems to be universally despised by installers. 

Today, however, we thought it would be much more inspiring to talk about a solution to this whole mess. It is called Smart Walls and the initial launch will focus on Smart Walls for Smart Kids. 

Indoor Air Pollution...This is Amazing

….if you know anything about formaldehyde, which apparently is not the case for most. Let’s solve that now: 

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is formed from parts of several different US government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The NTP lists formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen."

Who’s up for a few facts on insulation?

Who’s up for a few facts on insulation?

Ever had anyone invite you to check out his or her new fiberglass long underwear? We haven’t either!

The following is an effort to share what we have learned. It is fact based, which is to say we have made a grievous attempt to remove any/all bias.   As ever, there is no need to take our word for it, thus we hope this inspires continued individual research, if nothing else.

Waste, according to Yale or the EPA?

Waste, according to Yale or the EPA?

A Yale-led study reveals waste disposal rates are more than double EPA estimates.

Waste creation and disposal figures have historically been based on information provided by ‘industry participants’, versus actual waste-collectors, thus one might not be surprised to understand the facts are skewed. A 2010 change in the law (shockingly) no longer allows for landfill operational data to go unreported.