FPInnovations in collaboration with 475 High Performance Building Supply and the Canadian Wood Council (CWC) engaged in a project to introduce wood fibre insulation products into Canadian construction through a series of high profile demonstration buildings. Dry process wood fibre insulation products have been in use in a variety of structures throughout Europe for more than 25 years. While the market for wood fibre insulation in Europe is both developed and growing, very little is used in Canada and the United States. The goal of this project is to demonstrate the use of wood fibre insulation products in a range of building types with target market areas in the Pacific Region, the Prairie Provinces, and Eastern Canada.
Wood fibre insulation was installed into three different buildings in three different climate regions of Canada, a single family residence near Collingwood, ON, a co-op multi-family housing project in Saskatoon, SK, and a laneway house in Gibsons, BC. All three buildings were designed to meet or approach Passive House standards. Two of the buildings were originally designed to use rigid polymer foam insulation. The third building was designed from inception to use wood fibre insulation. In all cases, 475 High Performance Building Supply provided expertise in design and construction using wood fibre insulation. Adapting the building design and construction practices to use wood fibre insulation as exterior insulation was straightforward and easy. Performance monitoring instrumentation was installed in each building. Performance monitoring of each building is to be carried out for at least one year.
Wood fibre insulation seems to fit well into Canadian residential construction practices. In these demonstration buildings wood fibre insulation products were readily adapted into wall and roof systems that had originally called for other insulation products.
Based on experience in Europe and FPInnovations testing of wood fibre insulation products, wood fibre insulation products would be expected to perform well under Canadian and other North American conditions. The principal challenges to seeing wood fibre insulation products used more widely in Canada and across North America will be the establishment of manufacturing facilities here, along with educating architects, engineers, builders and owners of the advantages these products bring.
The objective of this work was to expose wood fibre insulation products through these demonstration buildings to accelerate their acceptance into Canadian and other North American markets. The project team intends to publicize the results of this demonstration building program to architects, engineers, builders and other potential users through selected websites and other publications.