I have decided that this year’s theme for building materials will be waste. Specifically, I will feature products made from waste material, products that produce little waste during manufacture, products that include recycled material and products that can be recycled at end of life. Of course, it goes without saying that first and foremost it has to be a functional and useful product.
In that vein, one product from Alex Wilson’s top ten list of green building products, 2013 is semi rigid cork insulation produced by Amorim, a Portuguese company. Amorim also happens to be a partner of Jelinek Cork, a Canadian company who distributes this product in Canada. I’ve written about Jelinek Cork before and many of the products they produce.
Cork is a fantastic building material. Not only is it a rapidly renewable material (the cork trees’ bark can be harvested every 9 years), it is highly resilient, a great sound dampener, a natural flame retarder and has a multitude of uses from floors to fabric to insulation.
Semi-Rigid Cork Insulation also meets all the criteria I described in my waste theme this year. This semi-rigid insulation is made from cork granules that are a by-product, or waste product, from the process of wine bottle cork making. The granules are treated with steam which expands the cork. The steam also activates the cork’s natural binder, suberin, which binds the expanded granules together. No other binder, glue or adhesive is necessary. At end of life, these cork boards are biodegradable, meaning zero waste to landfill.
Semi rigid cork insulation has an R value of 3.6/inch. There is a variety of uses for this cork, although it was developed primarily as an insulation material. It can also be used as a bulletin board to cover an entire wall, or for recording studios and other areas where dampening sound is important. It comes in packages of 1’x3′ sheets in thicknesses ranging from 0.5″ – 4″.
You can visit Jelinek’s website to find out more about Amorim semi rigid expanded cork board, as well as to buy it.