If you want to wind up a building scientist, you might mention the topic of insulation.  Better yet, mention the advent of expanded cork insulation in the United States from Portugal-based Amorim Isolamentos.  The insulation is made from leftover material from cork bottle stopper production which is heated and sliced into boards, according to Alex Wilson of BuildingGreen.  Thus, the insulation is rapidly renewable and entirely natural.

Cork insulation is typically installed by wrapping exterior walls with several inches of the material.

Amorim Isolamentos is setting up business in North America, but Wilson estimates that the price for R19 of material could be roughly $5.50 per square foot.  Wilson also indicates that the material has good sound-control properties, insulates to R3.6 per inch, and could be “one of the greenest building materials anywhere.”  Sounds fascinating!

[+] The Greenest Insulation Material — Expanded Cork? by BuildingGreen.

Credits: Amorim Isolamentos.