Cork – now the greenest building material?

Hand-harvested cork s now being turned into expanded cork for green building insulation

Cork has been around for centuries. Most of us became familiar with it through those cork stoppers on wine bottles which, unfortunately, are rapidly being replaced by plastic. But we’re seeing a growing variety of products made from the bark of this fascinating species of oak tree – grown mainly in the western Mediterranean region of Europe and North Africa.

And none is perhaps more promising and exciting than the expanded cork boardstock insulation made by the Portuguese company Amorim Isolamentos that’s just now being introduced into the North American market.

As a fan of cork, I’m impressed with its versatility – that and the fact that this is one of the materials that is really and truly sustainable. It’s harvested by hand, as it has been for several thousand years. And the more it’s (sustainably) harvested, the healthier the cork-oak forest. So the more diverse markets for this amazing material, the longer these forests will be around.

To learn more about expanded cork insulation – a new-to-the-States building product – check out

3 Responses

  1. LOVE!!! Had no idea cork was sustainable.

    • From the several sources I’ve talked to over the past year, there’s been a big concern with the reduction of cork use for wine stoppers. That’s meant less demand for cork and THAT”S meant less need to harvest the cork, which isn’t healthy for the trees.

      Fascinating how the threads intertwine, isn’t it?

      Nice to see these new markets opening up for it.

  2. Hi! I am happy to see another fan of cork! No doubt the most sustainable material. Still plastic industry seems to want to vanish with it. There are many arguments for replacing many of its utilities. Well among many of it usages, I still believe that a good wine is always in a bottle with a cork stopper…
    There was a very funny campaign about “Save Miguel”, Rob Schneider at his best, have a look!

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