There is an interesting development in the UK which could bode well for the use of wool in home and commercial insulation, not just there but also here in the US and Canada. We are watching these developments closely and hoping (dare we say expecting) they will presage good things for wool insulation.
The wool industry is significant in the UK and like many industries it has not been immune from the effects of the pandemic. With concerns about long term growth of the industry, local farming groups have sought to expand usage of wool and naturally a key end market is insulation. So a grassroots movement ensued to promote awareness of wool insulation and mandate its use in public buildings. The Welsh government agreed and now the movement has broadened to get English, Scottish and Northern Irish governments to follow suit.
UK Green Homes Grant
This mandate to use more wool could get an even more significant boost if it is included in the UK’s Green Homes Grant. In addition to creating new jobs to help meet the UK’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, this initiative provides grants to homeowners to improve the efficiency of their homes (similar to many state and municipal programs here in the US). Should wool get added as an approved insulation, consumer adoption will get a huge boost.
What does this mean for Havelock Wool?
To state the obvious, we understand why wool is healthy, high performance insulation. Odds are that if you are reading this, you understand too…. or you are at least open to learning more. But the fact is that we are all firstmovers in this regard. Indeed, even considering the human health and environmental impacts of building materials is still a new perspective. Extending this consideration specifically to insulation is even more niche. But things are changing and the gap between our hope and expectation narrows every day.
When we hear that the UK is making a collective push to use wool in home and commercial insulation we grow emboldened. We firmly believe that improving the health and sustainability of our built environment will be led by the people occupying these spaces. After all, we are the ones whose health is impacted. As we’ve written before, the analogy to the organic food movement is appropriate…. it was informed, forward thinking consumers, farmers and scientists that catalyzed the push for a healthier, more sustainable food. It was only when this then niche movement crossed into the mainstream that adoption rates increased dramatically.
We see the same progression happening in building materials, hence our excitement about news that the UK is moving to make wool insulation more widespread. To be fair, this is just one example and admittedly not even in our current market. But it shows the promise of broader adoption of using wool and it can hopefully pave the way for something similar here in the US. This will go a long way to increase not just use cases but also awareness around using alternative materials. Best of luck to all those involved.