October 8, 2010
There is a portion of the U.S. wool clip that is too coarse for the textile industry. Bellwether Materials, a San Francisco-based startup company, has figured out that this coarser wool makes for high-quality home insulation.
Priscilla Burgess, Bellwether Materials founder, was at the West Coast Green conference where she encouraged folks to touch the new insulation.
"It's just as effective as fiberglass, but you don't need a respirator and it's cheaper to install," she says.
There are other advantages, too. Wool is allergen-free and naturally pest, fire and mold resistant. Bellwether isn't the first company to use sheep's wool for insulation, but competitors all use plastic additives.
Bellwether's product is ready to go, and customers have been lined up. Now the company just has to start its manufacturing process, which should be ready for commercial production by January. Instead of outsourcing the supply chain to China, Bellwether is hiring professional millers from the milling-reliant town of Adamstown, Pa.
"We're hoping to support one whole town that was going to turn into a ghost town," Burgess explains.
Reprinted in part from fastcompany.com