Knauf Insulation is making a dramatic difference to the lives of Birdsville’s 80 residents by insulating every viable building in town for free.

The election weekend is a busy one for the 80 residents of Birdsville - the most isolated town in Australia - as its population grows to 7000 visitors, flocking there for the iconic Birdsville Races. This year however, the houses, the Bakery, the Police Station and Birdsville Hotel, were all a little cooler than last year, thanks to the free insulation.

Birdsville made international news headlines this summer as temperatures reached over 40 degrees for 29 days straight and thermometers peaked at 49 degrees on the hottest day. As a result many houses in Birdsville have up to seven air conditioners, and power bills are staggering, with the Birdsville Bakery spending up to $30,000 a year. During winter, the town can reach temperatures as low as zero degrees at night. 

Knauf Insulation realised it could make a dramatic difference to the lives of the locals, simply by insulating every house in Birdsville for free. The company trucked 8000m² of Earthwool insulation in August this year over 1500km across the outback by road-train from Brisbane to Birdsville as part of a DIY community project. 

Earthwool, a glasswool type of insulation that doesn’t catch fire and won’t conduct electricity, was installed with the help of locals, into the ceilings and underfloors of every viable home, commercial business and community building. 

Geoff Morton, Mayor of Diamantina Shire, thanked Knauf Insulation for coming out to Birdsville and making the town a better place to live.

Kate McDonald, Birdsville Hotel manager, adds that the insulation has already made a difference to the hotel accommodation areas. 

Insulation has been a prominent issue within the political debate; according to industry research, approximately one in three homeowners is concerned about using insulation due to the unfortunate accidents that occurred during the Federal Government’s failed 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. 

Following the cancellation of the Federal Government’s Home Insulation Program, there are still currently over one million Australian homes without any insulation. 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. 

Stuart Dunbar, managing director of Knauf Insulation (Australia and New Zealand), hopes the Birdsville community project will help restore confidence in the insulation industry. Having seen the extremes of temperature in Birdsville, the company realised that they could make a dramatic difference to people’s daily lives here, simply by helping them install house insulation. 

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 added formaldehyde, which means it is softer and safer 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 its website.