Novel uses of wool

    Custom Woollen Mill in Carstairs Alberta has turned wool into insulation for log homes for quite some time now. It looks as if using it for standard insulation purposes is being taken on by a US firm.

    Also being tried as one of the composites in clay bricks.

    Turning Sheep's Wool into High-Quality Insulation

    There is a portion of the U.S. wool clip that is too coarse for the textile industry. Bellwether Materials, a San Francisco-based startup company, has figured out that this coarser wool makes for high-quality home insulation.

    Priscilla Burgess, Bellwether Materials founder, was at the West Coast Green conference where she encouraged folks to touch the new insulation.

    "It's just as effective as fiberglass, but you don't need a respirator and it's cheaper to install," she says.

    There are other advantages, too. Wool is allergen-free and naturally pest, fire and mold resistant. Bellwether isn't the first company to use sheep's wool for insulation, but competitors all use plastic additives.

    Bellwether's product is ready to go, and customers have been lined up. Now the company just has to start its manufacturing process, which should be ready for commercial production by January. Instead of outsourcing the supply chain to China, Bellwether is hiring professional millers from the milling-reliant town of Adamstown, Pa.

    "We're hoping to support one whole town that was going to turn into a ghost town," Burgess explains.

    Reprinted in part from

    Bricks Made with Wool are Stronger

    Spanish and Scottish researchers have added wool fiber to the clay material used to make bricks and combined these with an alginate, a natural polymer extracted from seaweed. The result is a stronger more environmentally friendly brick, according to the study published recently in the journal Construction and Building Materials.

    "The objective was to produce bricks reinforced with wool and to obtain a composite that was more sustainable and non-toxic using abundant local materials and that would mechanically improve the bricks' strength," said Carmen Galán and Carlos Rivera, authors of the study.

    The mechanical tests carried out showed the compound to be 37-percent stronger than other bricks made using unfired stabilized earth.

    This piece of research is one of the initiatives involved in efforts to promote the development of increasingly sustainable construction materials. These kinds of bricks can be manufactured without firing, which contributes to energy savings.

    According to the authors, "This is a more sustainable and healthy alternative to conventional building materials such as baked earth bricks and concrete blocks."

    Reprinted in part from
    Comments1 Comment
    1. Firhill's Avatar
      Wool can also be used to make absorbent batts for oil spills (from American Sheep Assn)

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