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Confessions of an Insulation Installer: What I Love About Wool

Posted by Travis Weeks on September 27, 2016
Confessions of an Insulation Installer: What I Love About Wool
Travis Weeks, General Manager, Performance Insulation

Last month, we (the crew at Performance Insulation) completed a project on Bainbridge Island, about a 30-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle. What stood out about the project was the insulation type: wool.

Even though I hadn’t worked with wool all that much before, I’d worked with it enough to know it’s not just easy to work with, it’s also kind of fun—especially since I don’t have to wear protective clothing to install it. For that reason and others (such as the many all-natural qualities wool possesses and I personally value, including an ability to control moisture and resist fire), I’d been looking for opportunities to partner with wool insulation providers.

That opportunity came along a few months ago when I met Andrew Legge. Andrew is the founder of Havelock Wool, which is pioneering the use of wool in the United States as a natural building material. Forging a relationship with Andrew is what led to this job on Bainbridge. And the job itself couldn’t have played out better. 

New products need the support of the manufacturer to be successful, and Havelock Wool delivered. They were there to support us from answering basic questions to providing extra material as needed. Sure, we may have blown a bit too much wool as we were getting used to our machines and their product(!), but otherwise it was a successful undertaking.

Now that we have a wool insulation manufacturer that can deliver consistently and scale to our demand, our sales team is getting more comfortable talking about the product’s attributes. Wool is fairly well-known in the Pacific Northwest but only minimally understood as an option for insulation. I think that will change though as more Americans become active participants in the environmental movement. If we really want to be better stewards for the planet, then these are the types of products we need to embrace and use.

After all, it’s practically the only kind of insulation that can be composted—if not reused—when a dwelling is repurposed. And to think: it’s basically been right under our noses—on the backs and bellies of sheep—for thousands of years.

 

Travis Weeks is the General Manager of Performance Insulation’s Seattle operation. If you have questions, email him at travisw@performinsulation.com.

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