Havelock Wool garnered attention in the building industry last year for its innovative use of natural sheep's wool for home insulation. The company has now partnered with 475 High Performance Building Supply to launch a new product, the Smart Wall enclosure system.
The Smart Wall enclosure system is made from durable and sustainable products for a healthy home, including Havelock Wool sheep’s wool insulation, Pro Clima membranes and Gutex insulation board. The companies say the insulation is constructed using non-toxic materials, and uses existing and new technology to generate an airtight and energy efficient building envelope that delivers comfort and healthier air without the risk of rot, mold or other maintenance and health concerns.
Along with the natural wool insulation, the wall system places Pro Clima membranes on either side of the wall cavity to provide an air-tight vapor open to the outside (up to 36 perms); while the Intello Plus, a reinforced membrane that replaces standard blow-in insulation, provides the air tight vapor barrier to the inside (0.17-13.2 perms). Made of wood, Gutex fiberboards also allow diffusion as they regulate the interior relative humidity to absorb and release up to 15 % of their weight in moisture – without the loss of insulation capacity.
Natural wool is a renewable material that's readily available and has a number of inherent, eco-friendly properties that make it a viable contender for building insulation. It can absorb moisture up to 35% of its net weight against 65% of relative humidity, which Andrew Legge, founder of Havelock Wool, cites as one of the standout properties of the material.
“Most walls are built with toxic materials and end up being vapor retarded or, in many cases, what we refer to as ‘vapor-closed,’” adds Lucas Johnson, a Seattle-based consultant for 475 High Performance Building Supply. “These walls trap moisture and are almost impossible to dry out. This can cause accelerated structural decay, and cultivation of mold and contaminants, which can lead to costly repairs and recurrent respiratory and flu-like symptoms."
“With the Smart Wall, we’re talking about material that is not only able to manage moisture naturally, but is void of chemicals, is fire resistant and is earth-friendly," continues Johnson. "At the same time, it solves many of the problems builders and installers encounter when installing insulation – for example, moisture-riddled studs popping the foam in wall cavities.”