Jennifer MacKenzie is an agricultural photo journalist with almost 30 year's experience. Operating from her base in Cumbria, Jennifer undertakes mainly industry-related freelance writing and photography.

NFU backs Thermafleece

Second Nature, the UK’s leading supplier of natural wool insulation, has recently won the opportunity to supply its Thermafleece insulation for the prestigious development of the new NFU Headquarters building at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

The NFU plans to re-locate from its central London headquarters to the new building when construction is complete this autumn. The new two-storey office block was designed to minimise energy consumption and maximise the use of sustainable building materials. The designers were looking for an insulation material that was friendly to the environment and felt that Thermafleece was a natural choice to use in the roof.

Thermafleece is natural thermal insulation made from the wool of British hill sheep. This type of wool is coarse and has limited uses. Using the wool to manufacture Thermafleece will add value to a natural renewable resource and will offer a sustainable outlet for material which may otherwise go to waste. The NFU headquarters totalled an area of 1,400m2 of Thermafleece, which is the equivalent of 3,000 sheep’s fleeces.

On the roof of the prestigious NFU building with Thermafleece insulation, Second Nature managing director Christine Armstrong, with roofer Martin Footman, left, and Scott Marsh, project manager for contractors HBG.

From their base near Penrith in Cumbria, Second Nature is at the forefront of developing natural, sustainable products and plans to launch a new insulating material later this year. Recently, their committed team were awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Sustainable Category.

Christine Armstrong, Managing Director said: “Demand for sustainable building products will continue to grow as organisations and individuals understand the true impact of the materials they use. Wool is a prime example: it is an excellent insulating material, which is safe to handle without protection. Wool absorbs many indoor air pollutants and is not a burden to the environment”.

Tim Bennett, President of the NFU quoted "This new building is central to our ethos at the NFU. It is vital that the building be energy efficient and use environmentally sustainable materials. The NFU chose Second Nature UK because its innovative product, Thermafleece, not only met our environmental criteria, but it is a by-product of agriculture itself - a perfect match."

Scott Marsh, project manager for contractors HBG, who has worked with Thermafleece for the first time on the NFU building, said: “It is refreshing to work for a client who is prepared to use quality materials from a sustainable source which takes the environment into consideration.”

Christine Armstrong added: “The NFU must be congratulated on the use of environmentally friendly, sustainable materials in its new building. This is a perfect example of how industries can complement each other and it is particularly pleasing to see the use of products from our own agricultural industry being used by the NFU in its flagship building.”

Christine Armstrong founded Second Nature in 2001. The company now employs five people and currently buys up to 20,000kg of coarse wool each month from the British Wool Marketing Board auctions in Bradford.

Thermafleece was developed following extensive research in co-operation with experts at Leeds University. The product can be installed in roofs and walls and is used by customers countrywide. Thermafleece is suitable for many types of construction including new build, refurbishment and restoration of historic properties.

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