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Plant Fiber: Winter Insulation

As winter approaches, we bundle up and spend more time indoors. Adjusting the thermostat to keep warm would not work well without insulation to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. We now have numerous applications in jute-nonwoven insulation. This fiber is a great insulator of both heat and sound. By adding low-grade wool and cotton to the fabric, it improves on its thermal qualities as it increases in bulk.

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To maintain the comfort and warmth of our homes, we add this barrier within the walls of buildings to protect us from outdoor temperatures, which can vary greatly as we change seasons depending on the local climate. The fibers trap air within the insulation to prevent the transfer of heat from going in or out while still allowing ventilation.

There is considerable energy burned to maintain interior temperatures. Insulation made of jute and other plant fibers is considered a sustainable solution that provides energy savings. They can also be molded into virtually any shape or pattern, are easily installed and can be treated or modified to enhance their best characteristics like fire resistance and soundproofing.

Natural fibers are made of cellulose – the primary structural component of plant cell walls. They are structurally strong and resistant to chemical attacks, require little energy to produce, take in carbon dioxide, and release oxygen. Types of thermal and acoustic insulation include:

  • Flax Insulation – slabs made from flax and a polyester binding agent, then treated for fire resistance. It is used in wall construction, pitched roofs, and in floors and ceilings.
  • Hempcrete – developed in France and manufactured in the UK, it is precast, cast on site, or sprayed as a mixture of lime, cement and hemp insulation.
  • Hemp Insulation – slabs made from hemp, sometimes combined with recycled cotton or wood fibers using a polyester binding agent, and treated for fire resistance. It is used in wall construction, pitched roofs, and in floors and ceilings.
  • Wood Fiber Insulation – made from tree material left over from thinning forests and sawmill debris, then bound by a resin-based agent and enhanced with the fire retardant. It is used in wall construction, pitched roofs, and in floors and ceilings.
  • Cork Insulation – made from cork bark. Cork granules are expanded and formed into blocks by high-temperature heating and pressing. Applications include flat roofs and exterior building insulation.
  • Cellulose Insulation – made from recycled and hammer milled newspaper. It is usually treated to provide fire resistance and to repel insects and fungus. It is used in between rafters and joists in wall construction. It can be applied by pouring, spraying, or in a slab format to fit between metal or wood frames.blog1-2

All of these plant fiber insulations will keep us warm and safe throughout the winter season while saving on energy costs and helping to sustain the environment. It was discovered that it also works well as filler in winter coats and jackets. Bring on the cold weather!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 at 9:50 am and is filed under Go Green, Jute, Plant Fiber.

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