In recent years, there has been a global upward trend in favor of rehabilitation and more sustainable construction solutions. In this context, a natural 100% material such as cork becomes ideal for contributing to the construction of more ecological, sustainable and energy efficient buildings. In fact, construction solutions with cork are currently the second most important destination in the cork sector.
It is in this scenario that used and crushed corks become an interesting asset, not only because they are an example of a circular economy that allows a second life through recycling to a natural and renewable product that would otherwise be destined for composting , but because they offer services that are highly appreciated in the construction field. So for example, according to the article Cork as a building material, a review (Knapic, S. et al 2016) thanks to its chemical, physical and biological stability, cork is a great thermal and acoustic insulator for exterior walls, offering results similar to those of polyurethane foams, so frequently used. In addition, it offers other features highly appreciated by architects, engineers or designers who work with green buildings such as resistance to wear or guarantee of durability.
As we find in Miniguide New Applications of Cork coordinated by the Catalan Institute of Cork Foundation within the framework of the project GO Upload, floors, expansion joints, air chambers and external cladding are the most common uses of cork in buildings. In this field, one of the main products used is agglomerated cork or agglomerated cork panels, which are made by means of a process of agglutination of cork granules through a specific action of compression, temperature and binding agent, creating different types of agglomerate.
Thanks to the positive environmental impact of the cork sector, which has a negative carbon footprint and consequently retains more carbon dioxide than it emits, constructive solutions that incorporate crushed corks allow CO2 to be stored for a long period of time and its use is therefore a commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly construction.
PHOTO: Image provided to the ICSuro of a work on a house in Vilamaniscle (Alt Empordà)