Guernsey-based alternative energy investor Low Carbon Accelerator invested £500,000 in the Ochre Natural Insulation Company (ONIC) in return for a 23 per cent equity stake.
The investment was part of an overall £1.5m seed funding round. ONIC will use the investment to establish the first dedicated manufacturing facility in the UK to produce natural insulation products manufactured from sheep’s wool, for sale initially in the UK and Ireland. ONIC plans to expand its product range to include other natural insulation products.
Currently, products made from melted rock or fibreglass dominate the insulation market. These products tend to settle during their lifespan with a consequent reduction in performance. They also use a lot of energy in their production and some have associated health concerns in terms of ‘off-gassing’, the release of gas into the air from products treated with chemicals during their manufacture. The release of fibres into the atmosphere can cause respiratory and skin irritation at installation and throughout the lifetime of the building.
ONIC’s sheep wool insulation is said to exceed the required building regulations standards and has a higher thermal performance than many synthetic products. It is also safe to handle, cut and work with, requiring no protective clothing to be worn.
It is renewable, biodegradable and requires only a fraction of the embodied energy of mineral wool to produce an equivalent quantity of insulation materials, so it will more quickly replace its carbon cost of production. Government initiatives on sustainable homes give emphasis to building products manufactured from sustainable resources.