Baa baa Bodleian - sheep wool insulates roof

9 April 2008

Sheep_and_fleeceThe job to insulate the roof of the Old Bodleian Library has just been completed – using the fleece of over 2,000 sheep. A giant quilt comprised of lengths of 250 mm thick fleece is now lying on top of the roof space, an area of nearly 500 metres square, above the Upper Reading Room of the library.

The fleece of British hill sheep, primarily the Herdwick and Swaledale breeds, is increasingly being used as an insulation material because it is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Wool is a perfect insulation material for the building as it is naturally breathable and absorbs water vapour without compromising thermal performance.

The project is partly funded by the University’s new Energy Conservation Fund, which was set up to pay for building-related energy saving projects. The whole roofing project, which involves the replacement of the copper roof and external stone repairs, should be complete by the end of May.

Kate Aydin, the University’s Sustainable Development Officer, said: ‘This is an excellent example of environmental building best practice. By using a natural product produced in the UK, the University is increasing energy efficiency, reducing waste and using non-toxic materials. At the same time, we are helping to boost UK agribusiness as farmers diversify into new green products.’ 

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