Wool insulation manufactured in Reno

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 4:56 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Monday through Friday machines are working full bore on Edison Way in Reno. Taking wool shipped in from New Zealand and processing it into home insulation.

Havelock Wool has been here in Reno for 10 years, and finds itself shipping to builders all across North America. The wool is shipped to customers as blow-in or bat and is used just like traditional insulation.

But ask Andrew Legge he says his product is even more traditional--dating back hundreds if not thousands of years.

But which is now being discovered by a new generation.

“Younger people who are thinking a lot more about living in smaller spaces, that are designed better,” says Legge. “That have better materials that are not toxic in them. Because that’s the air they want to breath. So I would say those are our clients The people that are thinking about those things and building accordingly.”

The factory floor has a frame on it which shows how the insulation is used. At first glance you’d think it was traditional insulation, until Legge pulls it from the wall. The wool packs beautifully he says it’s breathable and water resistant. It takes less energy to produce wool insulation when compared to that made from plastic material.

One pile of cut wool wasn’t good enough for the customer. But you won’t find it in a landfill. Instead, it goes to producers of other wool based manufactured products.

“Where does this product go when this house gets destroyed? Is it foam that ends ups in the ocean for thousands of years? Is it adding to land fill?” asks Legge.

The answer is “No” when it comes to wool insulation.

The cost is about two times as much as conventional insulation. Which is why he says his wool won’t completely replace it.

But he says he might just change some attitudes towards sustainability one building at a time.

Havelock Wool ships out 100,000 pounds of product every month. But there are expansion plans to add an additional 17,000 square feet which means they’ll be shipping out 400,000 pounds of product a month by the end of the year.