Why Wood Fiber?

To us at TimberHP, that question sounds a bit like “why breathe air?” or “what good are flowers anyway?”

Ok, maybe you aren’t aware of the merits of wood fiber insulation. If that’s the case, here are a few reasons why we’re so crazy about it.

Wood fiber insulation is, above all, natural and safe—renewable, recyclable, carbon sequestering and made from sustainably harvested softwood chips. It’s high performing, provides great R-values and delays heat gains longer than any other conventional insulation on the market. It’s vapor openmoisture resistant, resilient, and inexpensive, saving you money over the long run.

Most of us think of insulation in terms of performance, comfort and energy savings (aka spending less money!). A question naturally follows—what is the best insulation?  There are many different products on the market.  How do you choose?  Is the best insulation the one with the highest r value?  Take synthetic foams that are sprayed on site or made into panels. They have some of the highest r values out there, but they’re expensive and risky to install.  Spray foam installed on site requires protective equipment and respirators for the crew due to all the off gassing, which requires everyone else to clear out.  Operator or equipment failures can leave behind a toxic mess that won’t cure properly or potentially ignite on site. 

Closed cell spray foam and foam board also shut down moisture movement, but it’s a little like wrapping your home in a big plastic bag. I’d rather have a jacket on that can breathe.

Besides the health risks associated with foams, there’s also an environmental cost. Manufacturers have been required to shift to blowing agents that reduce global warming potential, and the chemicals used to produce the board products are toxic.

Wood fiber insulation, by contrast,  is made from trees, which do a great job capturing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in their cell structure. Using wood fiber instead of spray foam, mineral wool or fiberglass, allows us to keep that carbon locked away for  the lifetime of the home.  Here’s to a long life!

Wood fiber is also great at absorbing summertime heat and delaying its passage into the building unlike any other insulation. We’ll get into this in a later blog post, but trust us, it’s impressive. This means when it’s hot out, it stays cooler longer inside, oftentimes long enough to wait out the heat of the day in comfort, with less need for air conditioning.

Good building envelopes are vapor open and wood fiber really shines here as well.  Moisture is managed not by trying to exclude it but allowing it to pass through.  That helps with comfort inside the home by regulating humidity and temperature swings.

Yes, it’s true, all good things come to an end and wood fiber wins here as well! How much plastic do we throw away and where does it go? We actually end up eating it in some cases as much as a credit card’s worth a week!  Wood fiber insulation can be reused when it’s no longer needed, recycled into new materials, composted or used as a biofuel. 

TimberHP’s TimberBoard, TimberBatt, and TimberFill—renewable; carbon negative; dynamic thermal protection, moisture management and resilience. Insulate better, live better!