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Biobased insulation materials are safe, calculable and sustainable. They score high with a controllable fire behaviour and a large storage capacity that can buffer moisture, cold and heat.
Editorial office / Gülzow

This is reported by the Renewable Resources Agency (Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe, FNR), part of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. It refers to an interdisciplinary study entitled “More than insulation alone”, in which 12 partners from the research world and numerous industrial companies and associations were involved.

Until now, German building regulations and standards have not taken into account the use of sustainable renewable insulation materials. When they were used, they often required extensive and costly individual testing. The material data and calculation methods that have now been established are suitable for inclusion in regulations. This will make it easier to build with bio-based insulation materials and will make it possible to standardise their use.

The research team led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut (WKI), examined bio-based insulation materials in six areas: fire protection and glow behaviour, sound insulation, thermal insulation, moisture protection, sustainability analyses and emissions.

Predictable and controllable

It is interesting to note that bio-based insulation materials score very well on fire safety aspects. Whereas petroleum-based rigid foams, for example, burn extremely fast, with very strong, dark smoke production and melting, the biobased insulation materials investigated burn relatively slowly, with little smoke development and no dripping. Fires in buildings with these materials are more predictable and controllable, especially in the initial phase.

Natural insulation materials are also able to buffer short-term moisture fluctuations much better than mineral materials and fossil hard foams. This has a positive effect on the protection against heat, cold and moisture. These properties make wood constructions and roof extensions in particular safer.

The full final report of the study is now available as a pdf, see the link below.

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