At Ecomerchant we are proud to stock an incredible range of STEICO wood fibre boards - sarking and sheathing - for their quality, sustainability, effectiveness and value for money. They are also highly respected products that come with a number of certifications.
As you search our online store for environmentally friendly building materials, know that we have made every effort to ensure our stock is from the best manufacturers in the industry.
Here, we look at the role of wood based insulation in properties, and the benefits of choosing STEICO products for your build or renovation works. If you have any questions on any of our STEICO range, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team on 01793 847444.
Wood based insulation – Inhibits moisture and stores energy
Among its many great characteristics, wood:
- has a long life
- is highly durable
- is easy to work with
It is also hygroscopic, which means that it has the capacity to absorb and release a moderate amount of moisture without being damaged. It is this property that also makes wood an excellent insulation material.
Inhibiting and storing is how one might sum up the function of insulation made from wood fibre. A life cycle analysis (LCA) of wood products makes the advantages of the material even clearer. Wood is an important raw material, a socioeconomic treasure.
It is a renewable resource, as long as the raw material is managed according to a consciously sustainable harvesting plan with responsibility for future growth, as is the case in European forestry. This is usually evidenced through certification either FSC the Forest Stewardship Council or PEFC the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, or both.
The role of wood insulation in properties
Buildings should be ventilated in a controlled way for the sake of the structure, the indoor environment, and for the building’s energy performance. Many homes do not suit our lifestyle every day functions like showering, cooking, central heating and laundry produce significant quantities of water vapour so where the building has gaps (compounded by poor ventilation) letting air escape through the building envelope there is a risk of condensation subsequent damage or mould growth.
Older (leakier) homes were built for a very different way of living and often from locally sourced complementary materials. Naturally well ventilated they were colder and damper in the winter and dryer and warmer in the summer, but importantly often constructed from natural materials that had an inherent buffering capacity to deal with such moisture fluctuations without the threat to their structural integrity.
Synthetic materials are simply less effective
It has been the advent of synthetic and petrochemical materials that have removed the natural capacity of the building fabric to buffer moisture with a 100% reliance on ventilation to do all the work. Obviously this requires buildings to be both designed and built to a high standard and for them to be maintained as such in perpetuity, but it also needs to accommodate the different ways in which occupants behave. In short it’s not a very forgiving way to build.
No one wants to live in a hermetically sealed plastic bag, and we all want our lifestyles to be accommodated by our homes without the threat of damage to the building fabric. Older homes have intrinsic appeal to many; often draughty, but nonetheless a pleasant house one can trust.
Yet, those houses are also no good for today’s modern lifestyle:
- letting damp, warm air pass out through the building envelope may not be good for the building shell or the indoor environment
- the operating cost, comfort and environmental impact of heating a draughty house is generally problematic
The need for materials to absorb and release moisture
A negative experience of the indoor environment also comes down to the same issue, the inability of the constituent materials to absorb and release moisture. We simply don’t feel as well in houses that lack the ability to buffer and release a healthy amount of moisture into our living environment.
Our mucous membranes, but also our skin, need moisture – a relative humidity figure (RH) of between 40 and 60 percent is optimal – to protect the body and the immune system against unwelcome attack.
The benefits of STEICO fibre boards
Wood is, by its very nature, a particularly energy-efficient building material. Even as a solid beam it insulates around 10 times better than concrete and 350 times better than steel.
Wood processed into STEICO wood fibre insulating materials delivers truly outstanding performance. The wood fibres create tiny air pockets within the insulation boards providing proven excellent insulation performance wood fibre insulation is ideal for the construction of state-of-the-art energy-saving buildings or for energy saving renovations.
Reduction in CO2
Using wood fibre insulation means you are making a significant contribution to reducing CO2. 1 m3 of wood binds up to 1 t CO2 this CO2, which has been removed from the atmosphere, remains ‘locked up’ within the material (and the building fabric) over the entire lifetime of the building. Using wood fibre as the insulation material on an average size single-family home, for example, binds as much CO2 as a small car releases over 50,000 km.
No harmful additives
All of STEICO’s insulating materials are manufactured without any harmful additives. Wood fibre insulating materials thus provide the best conditions for a living climate that is perfectly compatible with building biology. The excellent quality of STEICO’s products is also regularly confirmed by independent experts such as the Öko-Test-Verlag. This allows you to be sure that STEICO products will serve you and the environment well not only today, but also for many years to come.
In order to make planning of buildings and passive houses with natural materials easier, detailed planning documents are available, e.g. the Passive House Certification Report with all construction details.
Summer heat protection
STEICO insulating materials are heavier than many conventional insulating materials. This additional weight (higher gross density) is the key to the summer heat protection. STEICO insulating materials dampen the daily temperature fluctuations through this higher resistance. So the building remains cooler inside.
Owing to the fibrous structure and the higher gross density of STEICO insulating materials, they are able to make an important contribution to the acoustic performance of the structure. Not only reducing external airborne sound (for example road noise) but also that within the building. With STEICO systems it is possible to reduce the effects of impact sound transferred through the structure
Water vapour open
STEICO insulating materials function as the clothing for the house. Excessive water vapour (e.g. from cooking or showering) can permeate through the structure. This vapour permeability prevents mould and construction damage.
At the same time, wax additives create a water resisting (hydrophobic) nature to STEICO products providing effective protection from the elements. STEICO sarking and sheathing may be exposed for up to 8 weeks as a temporary building covering.
Energy saving and property value increases
With STEICO you will find a comprehensive assortment of insulating materials for roofs, floors, walls and facades in a new building or redevelopment projects. With STEICO products, you can dramatically reduce energy consumption while at the same time, increase the value of your property. Example calculations show that during a redevelopment with STEICO products, savings of up to 80% are possible.
Sustainable and certified products
STEICO Wood fibre insulating materials are manufactured entirely from timber or hemp. The timber is sourced from forest thinnings or as a sawmill by-product. The independent FSC® certification (Forest Stewardship Council®) guarantees that the timber used for STEICO products originates from managed forestry.
During production, no harmful additives are used. Any additives used are naturally sourced and their use minimised. All our insulation materials rely on the 'Lignin' inherent in the timber as a bonding agent, rather than artificially introduced resins.
With the use of STEICO products you not only reduce the impact on the environment but also improve the environment in your property.
Why STEICO as the environmentally friendly option?
STEICO wood fibre insulating materials can do even more than provide protection against the cold, they are multi-purpose and multi-functional. They improve well-being, occupant health and comfort by contributing towards a healthy internal environment.
The fact is our climate is changing. The number of the so-called tropical days have multiplied in the last few years. Insulating materials from natural wood fibres help the interior of your property remain pleasantly cool, without the need for an expensive air conditioning system.
Stay cool during hotter days
Attic rooms tend to suffer from overheating in the summer as a result of sun bearing directly on the roof surface. Here the high density of natural wood fibre insulation materials offers considerable advantages.
Characterised by a higher weight than fibre glass, petro-chemical based or mineral insulations wood fibre insulation resist the transfer of heat for substantially more time. This stored heat can then be released back into the cooler evening and night time air without impacting the indoor temperature, it is insulation in the most literal of definitions.
Independent investigations show that using wood fibre insulating materials, the number of days with unpleasantly high internal temperatures can be almost halved.
Efficient wood insulation
The vapour open structure of the wood fibre insulation locks in air and offers efficient insulation against a typically cold winter. Whether used in timber or masonry construction, in existing buildings or meeting passive house requirements in a new build, STEICO insulating materials are the ecological solution for a wide range of applications.
Sustainability - ‘climate neutral’
The STEICO Group currently produces about 2.7 million m3 ecological insulating materials. Assuming a quantity of about 75 m3 of insulating material required for state-of-the-art insulation for a single-family house in timber construction, more than 36,000 single-family houses can be insulated per year. 75m3 wood fibre insulation permanently stores 28 tons of CO2.
According to the German federal office for Environment (Umweltbundesamt), the average annual CO2 emissions per person are 11,6 tons. Thanks to the carbon stored in its insulation, a house owner can offset their carbon footprint for over two years. Moreover, the energy saved thanks to the insulation also reduces CO2 emissions, the quantities depending on the house. STEICO is thus making a contribution to the energy revolution and to a climate-neutral building stock.
As wood grows, the climate-damaging gas carbon dioxide (CO2) is extracted from the atmosphere. During photosynthesis, trees split CO2 into carbon (C) and oxygen (O2). Carbon is stored in the wood and oxygen is released into the atmosphere. One cubic metre (m3) of wood therefore contains around 1 tonne (t) of CO2. This CO2 also remains bound in processed wood products, e.g. in STEICO wood fibre insulating materials.
Significant CO2 removal from the atmosphere
Assuming that around 100 m3 of wood is used for a single-family house built using timber construction, this corresponds to around 100 t CO2 which is removed from the atmosphere (this substantial carbon saving does NOT include the positive effects of wood fibre insulating materials on the reduction of heating/cooling energy which further improve the contribution constructing with timber provides).
When wood is used as a building material, CO2 is removed from the atmosphere for a particularly long time - namely during the entire service life of the building, e.g. around 60 to 100 years for a single-family house. Only at the end of the building's life is the CO2 released back into the atmosphere when the wood decomposes or is burned.
The use of wood products in construction is not a panacea for climate change - but it is an essential contribution for gaining time for the climate-friendly transformation of society. In 2019, the STEICO Group processed around 1,023,026 m3 of fresh wood from sustainable forestry. This means that almost a million tons of CO2 are stored and removed from the atmosphere in STEICO’s annual production.
FSC & PEFC
All STEICO products are certified to FSC or PEFC standards with full chain of custody paperwork. This process provides the assurance that the raw material for all STEICO products originates from sustainable forestry
Environmental Product Declaration:
All STEICO insulation materials have an EPD, (Environmental Product Declaration) which is an independently verified and registered document that communicates transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products. EPD’s have largely replaced older Declaration of Performance and Declaration of Conformity certificates.
Certified Passive Component:
PassivHaus approved component products that carry the Certified Passive House Component seal have been tested according to uniform criteria; they are comparable in terms of their specific values and are of excellent quality regarding energy efficiency.
The Passive House Standard is characterised by very high energy savings compared with conventional new builds. This is achieved by means of highly efficient building systems, careful planning and highly efficient components. As a rule, these components are two to three times more efficient than the corresponding commonly used products. This high level of efficiency is critical to achieving the Passive House Standard.
However, for the designer, it is often very difficult to assess the energy-efficiency, durability and the necessary energy parameters of a component as the available standard parameters are frequently unrealistic or are not accurate enough; reliable project planning using manufacturers’ information alone is often not possible.
As an independent authority, the Passive House Institute tests and certifies products in respect of their suitability for use in Passive Houses. Their use facilitates the designer’s task and contributes significantly to ensuring the faultless functioning of the resultant Passive House.
Human health – Seal of Approval:
Wood fibre can also have the IBR seal of approval which was created by the Institut für Baubiologie Rosenheim GmbH in 1982 to enable consumers with awareness of health and ecological matters to protect themselves against health hazards caused by building materials and furniture in the built environment.
The seal of approval is awarded to products which ensure healthy living with respect to building biology and at the same time protect the environment.
Based on scientific and technical analytical methods
When awarding the seal of approval, the Institut für Baubiologie (IBR) only uses scientific and technical analytical methods based on normative regulations as well as the current state-of-the-art of laboratory analytics so that they should be understood both by third-party experts and by end users.
The aim of awarding the seal of approval “TESTED AND RECOMMENDED BY THE IBR” to as many products as possible is to enable an increasing number of consumers and end users to make criteria related to building biology a critical part of their decision when purchasing products for building and furnishing their homes.
The tests listed in the IBR expert reports are not supposed to supersede the requirements in terms of building physics, supervision, legal regulations, or safety. They are merely a complementary set of tests related to health, physiology, building biology, and ecology aspects which have been neglected.
A holistic perspective
The seal of approval “TESTED AND APPROVED BY THE IBR” is based on a holistic perspective. Besides its focus on the tests that determine the potential physiological impact of the products on human beings and/or the environment, the expert report associated with granting the seal also honours any product whose production, processing, use, and ecological recycling have no or only a limited, tolerable adverse effect on the environment.
The emission of harmful substances, e.g. with a carcinogenic and/or mutagenic potential, is always to be considered as a criterion for exclusion. The seal of approval will under no circumstances be awarded to such products.
For more information on STEICO, please visit their website.
Contact us for more information
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re unsure about which insulation material is right for your project. Our expert team can help advise on energy saving solutions for new builds and renovations, as well as discuss bulk buying options.