Healthy alternatives

Cellulose: from the recycling of undistributed newspapers, to being resistant to mould, corrosion and fire, it is a material widely available in Canada (Bénolec, Igloo Cellulose, Quecel Canada, etc.) and inexpensive. This material is recyclable, biodegradable and healthy (see eco home).

Hemp: natural fungicidal and antibacterial material. It is widely available in Canada and has an affordable production cost. It is an ecological and healthy material and a good thermal insulator.

Gramitherm – grass fibre-based insulation: abundant, durable, biodegradable, efficient and healthy biomaterial insulation. It is an untreated product against flammability (does not produce toxic gases), resistant to heat, mould and insects (see eco home).

Cellulose nanocrystals (CNC): mixed with wood pulp and polyvinyl alcohol, they are a durable and high-performance insulation. This rigid foam has a low environmental impact because it is made from abundant, renewable, recyclable and environmentally friendly raw materials. In addition, this insulating foam uses water instead of toxic solvents. At the end of its life, this material degrades without releasing toxic or polluting substances.

Straw: a natural and abundant material, straw is a very effective local insulator, non-toxic, fire-resistant and biodegradable. Straw can however be an allergenic material and is not resistant to water (see eco home).

STEICO wood fibre panels: renewable and ethical materials certified FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes). These wood fibre panels are also high performance, waterproof and durable. Eco home tells you more about the installation of these wood fiber panels.

Pisé (gravelly and clayey raw earth): natural, local, healthy and recyclable material. Mud walls are an ancestral solution that is very efficient, insulating and durable. They are resistant to fire, mould, cold, soil movement and efficiently distribute energy and humidity.


Eco home invites us to learn about the different techniques and materials available, in order to find the right one for our project.

For insulation using straw, it is recommended not to choose it in bulk, but rather in bales. Be careful not to leave any gaps between the installation of your bales, in order to avoid thermal bridges.

For more tips on mud walls, consult eco home.


Rock Wood


Lambs Wool

Straw Bales




John Manville

Avoid the following chemicals in regular products

Extruded polystyrene (composed of plastics and air)

Solvents: irritants, neurotoxic, may contain carcinogenic benzene, toluene, xylene


Most insulations are made of polluting material — from binders in fiberglass to the plastic of foam boards and spray foams.

Some natural insulators exist but often don’t have some of the construction advantages of carefully chosen compromises.
All natural insulations need to be free of polluting binders or other polluting additives.