In Boston where our home offices are we’re having a heat wave. This has got us all thinking about ways to keep cool – with style of course and this got me thinking. What about wool?
We’ve said all along that wool like we use in our Sweater Rugs, Pure Rugs, and all of our designer wool rugs is a remarkable fiber with remarkable properties. Wool has been used for over 10,000 years and in very hot climates due to its temperature regulating properties and comfort. So what is it exactly that wool does to help keep us cool and warm?
A Little Wool History
Well for starters lets look at a little history to gain some perspective. According to Wikipedia, the oldest known European wool textile from around 1500 BC was found preserved in a Danish Bog. Wool fibers from wild goats found in a prehistoric cave dating as far back as 34,000 BC suggest that wool fabrics were made even earlier.
Wool experts believe that ancient civilizations living in Mesopotamia cultivated sheep for food and clothing 10,000 years ago. Because sheep are herd animals, this created a mobile resource for basic human needs. The warmth of wool clothing and the mobility of sheep allowed people to spread civilization beyond the warm climate of the Mesopotamian Valley.
Why Wool Rugs Are Cool
Wool’s ability to regulate temperature, insulate and even cool come from two very cool characteristics. The first actually has to do with air. Still air pockets are one of the best insulators in nature. The natural crimp in wool fibers make them stand apart from each other creating millions of tiny air pockets. The impact of laying a wool rug on your floor is like laying incredibly efficient and safe insulation on your floors.
Wool rugs reduce heating and cooling energy requirements by preventing heat loss and preventing heat rising through the floor keeping your room cool and comfortable. If you use air conditioners you will appreciate the insulation on the floors as the cooled air sinks to the floor where you don’t want it warmed by heat rising from the floor.
The other unique feature of wool which helps cool you down is its ability to absorb moisture. Wool fibers are hygroscopic, meaning they readily absorb moisture. Wool can absorb up to 40% of its own weight in moisture and still remain dry. Wool is also not susceptible to mold due to its unique structure.
As they absorb moisture, wool fibers warm up reducing humidity and condensation in the room. Conversely as moisture evaporates back into the air it cools down. This process means less energy is required to heat and cool a room.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say wool is very cool and that is part of why we love working with it. With its amazing room temperature and moisture regulating properties we shouldn’t overlook wool’s most obvious feature however, its soft and gorgeous and makes fantastic looking, durable rugs. In future posts we’ll explore some of wool’s other amazing characteristics such as safety, sustainability and ease of designing textiles with it.
Explore Merida Wool Rugs
Wool Carpet from The Pure Collection