New Zealand has led the way in terms of making environmentally-oriented consumer decisions. The country’s complete ban on single-use plastic bags has set an example that much of the world has yet to follow. Another rising trend that forms part of the country’s bid to replace plastic with natural products is the move towards woollen carpets. Other countries, such as Canada are following suit. The International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) looks at the reasons why this important change in home decorating is long overdue.
The Benefits of Wool Carpets
In the past year, carpet manufacturers in New Zealand, such as Bremworth and Maxwell Rodgers Fabrics, have begun to market quality woollen carpets. Similar initiatives in other countries, such as Canada’s Campaign for Wool, has helped to bring the benefits of wool to the attention of carpet buyers around the world. In addition to its natural beauty and design possibilities, wool offer health and environmental benefits that make it a perfect material for carpets and other elements of interior decorating.
Roger Green, founder of New Zealand-based Maxwell Rodgers Fabrics, says the private sector is embracing the true significance of choosing wool over synthetics. “Many progressive and community-minded companies are instructing their architects to select Maxwell Rodgers fabric for the benefit of their employees as well as Kiwi consumers,” he says.
IWTO highlights the main reasons why consumers and business owners are making this transition.
1. Fire Protection
Unlike conventional carpeting, wool is naturally flame retardant, thanks to its high water and nitrogen content. It does not melt, unlike polyester and acrylic, both of which have been known to cause severe skin burns when exposed to extreme heat. When wool does burn, it produces less smoke and toxic fumes than other fibres. This makes wool one of the safest fabrics for interior decorating.
2. Better Indoor Air Quality
Wool does not produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These gases are produced by many other materials used in the manufacture of furniture and carpets. VOCs are inhaled by a building’s inhabitants, causing general ill health which is often referred to as sick building syndrome (SBS). By opting for wool carpets, home occupants are prioritising their overall health.
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3. Better Acoustics
Wool is extremely effective at creating insulation against sound waves. Woollen carpets thus have the ability to dampen or absorb both high and low-frequency sounds, making them far better for theatres, offices or guesthouses, as opposed to those made from polyester or other common synthetic materials.
4. Better Humidity Control
Wool carpets and furnishings have been shown to have a significant buffering effect on changes in humidity. Moisture from human breath and perspiration can cause condensation problems in a building. High indoor humidity can cause the growth of moulds, promote the presence of dust mites and result in the deterioration of decorations. With wool carpets, the condensation that is naturally found in our living spaces is significantly reduced.
All of these qualities make wool a natural choice for carpeting and interior décor. Rochelle Flint, GM of Marketing and International Operations at Bremworth, says that choosing wool is part of the company’s efforts to create a better place in the world, by designing products that tick all the boxes: sustainability, desirability, safety and high performance. Wool enables the company to build on its heritage by meeting the changing needs of its customers and reducing its impact on the planet, she says.
Learn More About the Benefits of High-Quality Wool
Find out more about how wool can help improve your overall health and home interior by checking out our Wool Fact Sheets here. Invest in this sustainable material today and reap the benefits.
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