Insulating Australia’s most isolated town from the extremes

By Anonymous
August 01, 2013

Next week, the most isolated town in Australia is set to become the most insulated. Over 8,000m² of Earthwool® insulation (the size of a football field) is travelling 1500kms across the outback by road-train from Brisbane to the iconic town of Birdsville, to be installed into the ceilings of every home, business and community building.

The houses in Birdsville, like many in Australia, are subject to extreme temperatures; hot during the summer and cold during winter nights. Birdsville has recorded temperatures below freezing in winter but famously last summer the town made international news headlines by breaking record heat temperatures as thermometers reached 49 degrees. For 29 consecutive days it was 40 degrees or more in Birdsville. The weathermen were forced to invent a new colour for the temperaturecharts as the heat was predicted to break record temperatures.

Inspired by Birdsville’s story, the team at Knauf Insulation realised they could dramatically transform the comfort of living for residents in this remote town, whilst reducing energy consumption, simply by providing ceiling and underfloor insulation. Earthwool, Knauf Insulation’s new generation of high performance insulation keeps the heat out in summer and warmth in during winter, which will mean a happier Birdsville all year round.

Birdsville is an iconic Australian town and adventurous travellers flock there in 4x4s across the Simpson Desert and to celebrate the famous Birdsville races each September, when the town population increases from 120 to 7,000 people in a matter of days. A well insulated Birdsville Hotel and Birdsville Bakery are going to be a welcome change this year.

Australian homes are amongst the largest in the world but have comparatively low levels of energy efficiency. There are still currently over one million Australian homes without any insulation and a recent study showed that ceiling insulation alone could save the average Australian home $299* each year in energy costs based on last year’s energy prices.

Unfortunately, according to industry research, approximately 1 in 3 homeowners have been left feeling anxious about using insulation due to confusion created by the Federal Government’s Home Insulation Program. This means that many homes will continue to incur expensive energy bills and unnecessarily endure cold winters and hot summers with costly air conditioning. With electricity prices having risen by 70% in the last five years and Australian families finding it even harder to make endsmeet, it has never been so important for buildings to use less energy. Knauf Insulation is working with the Diamantina Shire Council and local residents of Birdsville to spearhead a campaign to restore public confidence in DIY home insulation and educate people about how to save on energy costs, stay safe and enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle at home.

Modern insulation products, such as Knauf Insulation’s Earthwool, are extremely safe because they can’t catch fire and don’t conduct electricity. Unlike traditional glasswool products, Earthwool is made without the use of added formaldehyde which means it is softer and safe to install if basic safety steps are followed. These include switching the power off at the mains, wearing the right clothing and being careful to only step on the joists in the loft. Knauf Insulation has produced a range of DIY training videos that are available on their website here.

For more information about Earthwool and updates on the Birdsville project please visit

*Insulation Council of Australia report by Energy Efficient Strategies