Expanded Cork Insulation Arrives in USA

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.

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  • transsupply

    I wonder if this type of insulation would work like styrofoam insulation. I’ve seen a few houses that have styrofoam because it acts as a protective barrier for tornado debris. I saw a thing on TV where they would shoot a 2×4 out of a cannon into a styrofoam wall an it would shatter. I bet the cork would do the same.

    • http://twitter.com/OkUncut Oklahoma UnCut

      it should but both would need kevlar to stop the projectile

  • Jared Bybee

    Out of the very few that COULD pay that much for insulation, I would guess that only a fraction WOULD. I just don’t get manufacturers that I assume (because they have a sustainable product) want to have some effect on the world push a luxury product with no chance for widespread use. Most people don’t even pay $5.50 per square foot for flooring.

    • http://twitter.com/OkUncut Oklahoma UnCut

      if we all start using it the price will drop just like it does on all new product to dismiss it at first cost is not forward thinking

      • steelsil

        How many will fit in a container? How much money and how much fuel does it take to ship this ‘eco’ product half-way around the world? Google, LCA, aka ‘life cycle analysis.’

        • Matt Berk

          There is much more carbon in the “drayage” from the port to the destination on land than there is on the water. Something domestic can be much more energy intensive when it comes to transport. Cork upstream and downstream is hard to beat when it comes to LCA.

  • steelsil

    It’s green, in Portugal. Ship it half way around the world, and not so much any more.

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