Do Rocks Make Good Insulation?

Roxul Corporation’s answer is “yes.” Roxul manufactures stone wool insulation, aka mineral wool, “locally” in Ontario and also in Europe. They sponsored Joe Lstiburek ( the “L” is silent) of Building Science Corporation for a one day lecture on wall enclosure design and (as you might expect) rock wool.

Dr.-Joe-Lstiburek-4-537x368

Here’s why this is exciting (really!): Joe Lstibureck is also known as the founder of building science.  Many of the sustainable, thermo and hydrodynamic practices used in homes and buildings today are based on techniques and building science that Joe has developed. And the “Joe Show,” as many in the industry call it, is both highly informative and highly entertaining. Imagine the agony and interjected comments of this Canadian-born PhD mechanical engineer as both his Maple Leafs and his Canadiens were losing in the hockey playoffs.

The course syllabus read: Fundamentals of Enclosure Design, High Performance Enclosures, Hygrothermal Wall Performance, Fire and Sustainability, and “Research” (or how they come up with all this stuff). Although I did know most of the subject, it was a great “booster shot” and I did learn some new stuff as well.

The best part of the day was the shmooz hour(s) at Joe’s home/test lab. Many of the scientific principles of Joe’s work have been tested and borne out on his home and attached barn. Joe has built, torn apart, observed, and adjusted his research here over many years. He also throws a great after-party!

Oh and by the way, mineral wool makes great insulation because it doesn’t burn or off-gas,repels water, doesn’t grow mold or mildew. And like most rocks, it’s pretty much all natural.