For quiet comfortable floors, one of the most appealing choices out there is cork flooring. It is also a very renewable and natural resource.
Cork has also been used in Europe for years for a very different purpose—insulation.
Cork is green
What is so cool about cork as wall, floor, or roof insulation is how environmentally friendly it is, especially compared to all the foam insulation alternatives. Alex Wilson, at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com says:
The material is 100% natural and rapidly renewable as defined by the LEED Rating System. It is durable yet ultimately biodegradable, produced from sustainable forestry operations, and a byproduct from the cork bottle-stopper industry. Though there is significant shipping energy required to bring it here, shipping by ocean-going vessel is relatively energy-efficient. It’s hard to imagine a greener building material.
Lots of green
If I were to say there was a downside, you could probably guess what it is. Price. The final price isn’t set yet for North America, but Wilson estimates it will be around four times that of common foam board insulation. Ouch!
It’s a niche product, for those willing to spend to be “greener” than thou. Cork is also fire resistant, long-lasting, biodegradable, and supports maintaining the beautiful trees it is harvested from around the Mediterranean.
photo by Glen Scott