Building Insulation Materials - Natural Fiber

Natural Fiber

Natural fiber insulations (similar to mineral fiber and fiberglass insulation at 0.04 W/mK), treated as necessary with low toxicity fire and insect retardants, are available in Europe : Natural fiber insulations can be used loose as granulats or formed into flexible or semi-rigid panels and rigid panels using a binder (mostly synthetic such as polyester, polyurethane or polyolefin). The binder material can be new or recycled.

Examples include cork, cotton, recycled tissue/clothes, hemp, flax, coco, wool, lightweight wood fiber, cellulose, seaweed, etc. Similarly, many plant-based waste materials can be used as insulation such as nut shells, the cob of corns, most straws including lavender straw, recycled wine bottle corks (granulated), etc. They may have a little less thermal performance than industrial products which can re-gained with a little more thickness. They may or may not require fire retardants or anti-insect/pest treatments. Clay coating is a nontoxic additive which often meets these requirements.

Traditional clay-impregnated light straw insulation has been used for centuries in the northern climates of Europe. The clay coating gives the insulation a half hour fire rating according to DIN (German) standards.

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