Natural insulation materials respect both the environment and your health, and are becoming increasingly popular. A further reason for their popularity is that their efficiency is comparable to industrial materials.
There are three types of natural insulation:
Since they do not contain irritating fibres, natural materials are generally not harmful to health. They are also easy to install, as no particular precautions need to be taken.
The environmental impact they produce is also much smaller than that of synthetic insulation, even though it is not completely non-existent. Indeed:
If you live in Brussels and use natural insulation materials made from plant and animal fibres, you are entitled to a bonus grant of €10/m2 in 2019.
There is one condition: more than 85% of the layer(s) of insulation must be made from renewable materials, and the material's thermal conductivity must be 0.055 W/mK or below.
In addition to the benefits that all natural insulation share, each natural material can boast its own advantageous characteristics. Some are more flexible and can fit perfectly into unusually-shaped spaces, while others come in rigid forms, making them perfect for insulating vertical surfaces.
Hemp is sold as blocks, rolls and also granules, and is a useful material for a number of reasons:
Sheep wool is most frequently purchased washed and treated against mites. However, you can also buy it in untreated form, directly from farmers. It is packaged into rolls of different thicknesses.
Cork is made from tree bark (the cork oak) which is reduced into granules, then heated and agglomerated. It is sold as tiles or granules. Avoid boards which have been reinforced with synthetic adhesives, which give off toxic substances!
Cellulose wadding is made from recycled paper and is sold loose (which is less expensive) or as boards.
Coconut wool comes from the fibres surrounding coconuts. It is sold as flexible rolls, semi-rigid boards, and also loose.
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