The Product All of our insulation products are made from 100% natural recycled sheep wool. Our wool can be used in exactly the same way as traditional insulation products, providing excellent warming and cooling properties for walls, floors, ceiling and roofs of homes, commercial and industrial buildings. Our batting is designed to fit between vertical timber framing, or lay in a blanket form. The batting comes in a variety of widths, thicknesses and R values to suit most building construction.
Health and Safety Oregon Shepherd wool insulation also contains naturally-occurring Boron salts, giving it excellent resistance to pests and improving wool’s inherent resistance to fire. Oregon Shepherd’s proprietary bonding system uses natural proteins to chemically bond the borate molecules to the wool protein chain; this assures the end-user of a lifetime of fire and vermin resistance. Our insulation is easy to handle, requiring no special protective clothing or equipment during installation or throughout the serviceable life of the building.
Resistance to mold and fungus Wool naturally resists mold and fungus due to its natural moisture transfer properties. Wool Insulation allows your home to breathe by absorbing moisture, chemical, and/or odor laden air and transferring it outside as temperatures change. A permeable house wrap applied over exterior subsiding provides for this passive exchange.
Formaldehyde absorption Tests carried out by the Central Testing Facility in Tokyo, Japan found that when formaldehyde was released into a chamber, wool was able to absorb 96% of the formaldehyde within several hours. This capability is unique to natural fibers.
Acoustic Wool Insulation products naturally enhance the acoustic properties of a building.
The Environment Oregon Shepherd wool insulation is energy efficient, using approximately 10% of the embodied energy it takes to manufacture fiberglass insulation. Our products are 100% sustainable, biodegradable, and renewable.
1. Product Types
PermaLoft® – Natural Wool Blown-In Insulation Our loose or blown-in insulation called PermaLoft® is terrific for horizontal spaces such as attics or under flooring.
PermaBatt® Natural Insulation for walls and other framing Can be hand placed or can be blown into vertical cavities between framing members in walls. It is ideal for the remodel/retrofit project.
This process allows for a simple, trouble-free methodology to insulate walls and ceiling. Our ultra thin netting is simply stapled over the framing members and the insulation is blown or hand placed in the framing cavities. Our exclusive PermaNet stapled over the framing members retains the insulation while the wall coverings are being placed and finished.
2. Product Comparison
Compare Wool to Synthetics
Whether you’re building to LEED Platinum standards, or simply trying to reduce your carbon footprint on your home remodel, Oregon Shepherd’s blown-in wool or wool batting products will help keep your project clean and green. To prove it, we’ve compiled this handy comparison chart showing the benefits of all natural wool over traditional synthetics/fiberglass:
Not currently; can be reused, but there are no facilities for recycling
No (but some brands use portions of recycled glass)
Low embodied energy
Safe to install
Requires protective clothing
High natural content
Manufacturing process can emit chlorides and fluorides, as well as various particulates and solvents; burning insulation emits toxic fumes
Wool actively absorbs and desorbs moisture, preventing condensation
Synthetic fibers do not absorb/desorb moisture.
Yes, but may emit harmful gases at high temperatures
Yes (various levels of approval depending on product)
Yes, but relies on toxic petrochemical additives
Yes, but relies on toxic petrochemical additives
3. Technical Information
Technically the Best
Wool, with its unique fiber qualities, is naturally fire resistant. Untreated wool fiber will not support open flame. Oregon Shepherd’s loose fill insulation is treated, just as most insulation products, with a chemical solution to make it even more fire resistant. The difference is that our treatments are not petrochemicals; they are natural chemicals from the earth. Petrochemicals emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s); things like formaldehyde, benzene, and methane; not materials you would like to inhale on a daily basis.
Our chemical treatments do not emit VOC’s, neither in the production process, nor in your home. EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s “Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study” (Volumes I through IV, completed in 1985) found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. TEAM studies indicated that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.
Many consumer products found around the house, such as cleaning solvents, paints, insulation, and wood preservatives from certain furniture all emit VOC compounds, which may contribute to sick building syndrome and other effects such as allergic sensitization or asthmatic symptoms. Due to the high abundant use of VOC-containing products indoors and the high vapor pressure of VOCs, these compounds can easily off-gas into the indoor environment. They also occur in, and are released from, most common indoor materials from natural sources such as trees, animals, and plants as well as from synthetic sources such as petroleum derivatives.
Another unique attribute of wool fiber is what’s referred to as its pliable memory. Other loose insulation products, even other natural materials, will settle over time. This results in a lower insulating section. So while your initial 10 inches of fibrous insulation will provide a value of R-38, it settles to an actual depth of only 8-9 inches, lowering efficiency by up to 20%. Wool fibers’ unique attributes actually cause it to increase in depth over a several month period.
Another benefit of this unique quality is that all spaces remain filled, even the tiny cracks and crevices always found in the building materials. The expansion of the material in place will affect a total seal. This total seal is almost impossible to overestimate. Most of the heat loss in the walls and ceiling of the home have more to do with the air seal, rather than the insulation.
Here are just a few comments from some of our satisfied clients?
I was looking for an alternative to fiberglass insulation, because it’s itchy and bad for your lungs. I did my homework and chose wool because:
It’s fun and easy to work with
I heard that wool is the best for sound insulation
Wool Fibers are hollow and they work much better in this damp climate than recycled cotton or paper
There are a lot of sheep in Oregon
Gerry & Christine Tunstall
Support Oregon farmers, keep Oregon Green, and reduce your energy bills! Would you prefer using wool to keep your home warm in winter, or fill your attic with shredded glass? When I called OS, they calculated the number of batts necessary to insulate our attic. OS made the delivery to our Oregon coast vacation house soon after our order. I appreciate that the wool was safer than hauling fiberglass batts up the stairs, and through the sleeping loft. An added bonus; wool acts as a filter to improve air quality. We have seen an immediate savings and increase in comfort. Thanks to Oregon Shepherd, our beach house is cozy even if we are not there! Evan and Gabriel Coulson
Things we like about using wool insulation:
A natural, renewable resource.
Provides comparable R-value ratings to standard insulation materials.
Naturally fire-resistant (we’ve been learning about fire retardant chemicals commonly used in households, and are pretty wigged out to say the least!).
Is, by the nature of wool, effective at dealing with the condensation challenges fiberglass or pulp insulation would face from a tiny house.
Expands over time instead of clumping.
You don’t need to wear a hazmat suit and respirator to install your insulation. It won’t hurt you. (The fact that other insulation requires safety equipment to install really says it all right there, right?).
SMELLS LIKE SHEEP! (a light, yet pleasant smell if you put your face into it…).
Things we like about Oregon Shepherd:
Staff was available on his personal cell phone, after hours, from the beginning to answer all of our questions about their product.
They use local (Western United States, anyway) wool instead of importing European wool.
The do not use petroleum products in their wool to bind the insulation as some makers do (they use a protein they developed to bind borax to the fibers).
Impeccable customer service. They literally bent over backwards for us.
They’re located in Oregon. Having had the extreme privilege to grow up on the Southern Oregon Coast, it is personally rewarding to have a little Oregon with us wherever this tiny house may take us.
Wayah gave his immediate approval of the use of Sheep’s Wool for insulation!