Whether for new buildings or in the course of renovating existing properties, the right insulation for the house is a complex issue. This is because, in addition to the widely used insulating materials Styropor and mineral wool, there are also a number of ecological alternatives made from renewable raw materials, such as cotton or cork, to choose from. But beware - not every natural insulating material is actually environmentally friendly.
The Sustainable Building Research Group at HTWK Leipzig compares the life cycle assessment of common natural insulation materials: Basically, tamped, loose-fill or blown-in insulation is energetically more favorable than insulation boards. In addition, chemical binders make for a poor life cycle assessment of insulation boards. Cotton performs worse than sheep's wool due to its extremely high water, pesticide and fertilizer consumption. Insulation made from cork and coconut is also possible, but these insulation materials have long transportation distances and incur costs. Domestic alternatives are hemp and cellulose. Wood in particular has such good insulating properties that usually no further insulation is needed to keep the house warm.
One disadvantage of natural insulating materials is their higher price. Mineral wool offers a cost-effective and ecologically sensible alternative, because it can be manufactured, deconstructed and recycled again with a relatively low energy input. In any case, the following applies in principle: any insulation makes ecological sense, since the energy expenditure in production is amortized after a short time by the heating expenditure saved.
Source: Immowelt AG