By Alex Wilson
Cork harvesting in Portugal has been done by hand in virtually the same way for more than 2,000 years.
Cork is natural, it sequesters carbon, and it is produced through a sustainable silviculture process with a 2,000-year tradition. The material regenerates itself and can be harvested every nine years. It insulates well, absorbs sound, and is durable in use but ultimately biodegradable.
In building applications, cork is best known as a floor-tile product and a sound-control underlayment, but it’s a good insulator as well. Rigid cork boardstock insulation has been available in Europe for several decades and is just being introduced into the North American market (again).