Industrially produced wood fibre insulation was introduced around twenty years ago after engineers from the timber producing areas of Europe devised new ways of transforming timber waste from thinnings and factories into insulation boarding.
The success of wood fibre insulation derives from an attractive environmental profile combined with a whole bag of functions including rigid insulation, sheathing and sarking for timber frames, roofs and flooring as well as flexible insulation for studs and rafters.
Wood of course is renewable, it sequesters carbon during its growth and product production is relatively free from pollution. The insulation value of wood fibre boards is not as dimensionally efficient as some of the orthodox petro-chemical materials - but it's no slouch either - typically coming in with a 'k value' range of between 0.038-0.043 W/mK depending on format. That high u-values are obtainable can be seen from such as an example as the 'Larch House', the social housing prototype designed by Bere Architects which won Passivhaus certification - achieved, in part, using wood fibre insulation.
Other features include 'breathability' that helps moisture to be regulated as well as a material density suffice to add a degree of decrement delay that will be useful for all those hotter summer days ahead of us in the south of England.
Worth pointing out is that manufacturers tend to market wall or roof 'systems' that include the insulation as well as other elemental components. The advantage of considering the use of these is that the construction types have already been 'tried and tested'.
Wood fibre insulation can be designed to deliver a range of functions through varying to some degree both manufacturing technique and board ingredients.
Application: Friction mounted between studs / rafters
Other common ranges: 'Universal', usually applied in conjunction with other wood fibre insulation types. Most manufacturers will supply more than one type of 'Universal' board, each providing for different performance characteristics.
+ / - for wood fibre insulation
Typically contains high percentage of post-industrial waste material
Manufactured from renewable resources
Reusable if in a suitable condition
Compostable or can be used in energy recovery
Sequesters CO2 during tree growth
Hygroscopic – provides a degree of humidity control
Paraffin wax water repellent is a petrochemical derivative
High embodied energy
Usually imported from the continent which adds to embodied energy
Rigid boards can be fragile and difficult to use on site
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