TimberHP celebrates the beginning of wood fiber insulation production in North America

TimberHP welcomed a crowd of 350 to its mill in Madison on Friday to mark the successful startup and operation of its first wood fiber construction insulation production line in a former paper mill shuttered in 2016. The line manufactures TimberFill, a loose fill insulation for attics, wall cavities, floors, and ceilings. Two more lines, making the company’s TimberBatt and TimberBoard products, will be operational by year’s end.

Governor Janet Mills, Senator Susan Collins, Congressman Jared Golden, Assistant to the President and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaid and Brian Brashaw with the USDA Forest Service joined TimberHP co-founders Joshua Henry and Matthew O’Malia in delivering remarks to a crowd of 350 TimberHP staff and investors, state and local supporters, and friends.

Wood-fiber insulation is a renewable, high-performing, sustainable building product that reduces greenhouse gas emissions through its ability to store carbon and reduce energy loss in the built environment.

“I believe our strongest motivation in life is to do something that matters,” said TimberHP co-founder and CEO Joshua Henry. “And what we’re celebrating here today—a renovated mill, making renewable, nontoxic, carbon-storing insulation products—matters. Hiring talented local people—and paying them well to master a new wood products manufacturing process—that matters too. A lot.”

TimberHP already employs nearly 70 people in Madison. Startup of the TimberFill line comes after more than a year of renovation work inside the mill by Cianbro Corporation—a $150m construction project to prepare the facility for wood fiber insulation manufacturing.

“My Administration has been proud to partner with TimberHP to bring manufacturing back to Madison. Today, Maine becomes home to North America’s first manufacturer of wood fiber insulation – an historic achievement that will strengthen our economy and send the unmistakable message that Maine is on the cutting-edge of innovation,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This extraordinary milestone is an example of how public-private collaboration can create good-paying jobs, advance our clean energy goals, and bring new life to our old mills. I congratulate TimberHP and the people of Madison on this accomplishment.”

All three TimberHP insulations—TimberFill, TimberBatt and TimberBoard—are true byproducts of Maine’s existing forestry sector, made from softwood chips—the residuals from milling lumber—and from low-value pulpwood removed from stands of timber throughout the state to improve forest health.

“Coming from a six-generation forest-products family, I know there is no other industry that requires more respect for the past and faith in the future,” said US Senator Susan Collins. “The possibilities are endless when new technology is combined with Maine’s traditional values of hard work and ingenuity.  Congratulations on this great accomplishment, and I look forward to our continued work together.”

When the Madison mill closed in 2016, more than 200 people lost their jobs. The impact of the shutdown, though, reverberated out, hurting loggers, truck drivers, Madison’s tax base and the business owners in the town and beyond. Over the next few years, the TimberHP team is expected to grow to as many as 140 employees. Among the company’s core group are several longtime veterans of UPM paper who returned to the mill to help revitalize it.

“What I see here is so much more than a business making a new kind of insulation. It’s a mill that was once shuttered and empty now back in production,” said Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02). “A business headquartered in Maine—majority owned by Mainers, 100% American-owned—using Maine wood, cut by Maine loggers, hauled by Maine drivers, to make a product in Maine, by Mainers—for Mainers, lowering the cost of heating their homes and businesses. The wood fiber that comes to this mill will not go to Canada or China to support jobs in those places but instead creates jobs here. The product you make here may someday be exported to them, instead of the other way around.”

A diverse coalition of largely Maine-based investors helped TimberHP raise enough equity to sell an $85m solid waste and recycling green bond to finance buildout of the facility. In TimberHP’s early days, the company relied on state and federal grants and loans to get the business off the ground. One program that was especially helpful early on was the USDA Forest Service’s Wood Innovations Grant program. TimberHP has received three separate grants through Wood Innovations, the most recent just last month for $1.5m.

“The Forest Service is investing in markets for wood products and wood energy because they reduce wildfire risk, benefit our climate, promote sustainable forest management and spur economic development in rural communities,” said Jaelith Hall-Rivera, USDA Forest Service Deputy Chief for State, Private and Tribal Forestry

TimberHP wood fiber insulation offers superior building envelope, thermal, and acoustic performance. A comprehensive, above-grade product line to create wind-tight, vapor-open assemblies offering stable, long-term R-values, improved temperature stability, and premium sound protection—priced for mainstream adoption.

By the end of 2023, TimberHP will be selling all three of its products, TimberFIll, TimberBatt and TimberBoard, into the U.S. market through its national network of distribution partners.

“Wood fiber insulation limits operational carbon emissions through energy savings, but also stores carbon when installed in a building,” said TimberHP co-founder Matt O’Malia. “It can be used in new construction. And even more importantly, as a retrofit solution for the 97 million square feet of commercial buildings and 244 billion square feet of housing stock that must be upgraded to effectively reduce building emissions. With our successful launch here in Madison, we believe we must scale TimberHP and manufacture our products in other parts of the country to offer these solutions in as many markets as possible.” TimberHP is actively looking at opportunities to scale its business and operate in other wood basket regions across the nation, especially those seeking outlets for wood waste.