Tiny House Made of Cork

Ecobubo, a Portuguese startup, has recently completed a tiny dwelling of the same name that’s made of cork. The primary function of this tiny house is to serve as a nature escape for two, since the home is located in the woods and lacks the space and amenities, which would make it suitable as a full-time home.

The Ecobubo measures a very modest 96 sq ft (9 sq m) and has been in development since 2015. This recently completed version is the new and improved prototype, and takes only about 2 weeks to construct. It is raised off the ground on stilts and features a deck that does a lot to extend the livable space. The façade is made of cork panels, which slot together to build the home and can be freely customized with each model of the home. The structure of the home and its interior is made of wood.

The interior features a tiny kitchen, and a sitting area that’s fitted with a sofa. The latter pulls out into a bed for two. The home also features a bathroom that is equipped with a composting toilet and a shower. The other furnishings include cupboards, a table, and stools with storage integrated into them.

Cork was used primarily because it is a very abundant material in Portugal, but also because it is impermeable, elastic, buoyant, and fire retardant. The aesthetics of it also played a role, while cork has good insulation qualities and is produced sustainably.

The home can get its power from the grid, but it is also possible to take it off the grid by utilizing solar or wind power. Since cork is such a good insulator, air-conditioning is not needed in the summer months, nor is heating in the winter. Though they did install a small heater just in case of extremely low temperatures.

The primary function of this home right now is to serve as a camping alternative, otherwise known as glamping. But the company does have plans to develop a more permanent type of dwelling too. It would make a great guesthouse, cabin or even a full-time home with some adjustments.

The home is selling for between $11,700 – $17,550 at the moment, which does not include taxes and transportation.

PostGreen Homes Are Using Cork as Cladding and Insulation

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PostGreen Homes are using cork as cladding in their newest project in Fishtown, Philadelphia. They are working in collaboration with Orange Concept on this project, and the finished home will be simple and minimalistic, which will make it fit right in with the other buildings in the area.

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The builders decided to use cork for cladding even though the material costs about three times more than, for example, expanded polystyrene. But the upside is that, when using cork as cladding, there is no need for additional exterior cladding to be added, since the cork cladding is also the insulation layer. This works to bring down the building cost. The cork for this project was supplied by Thermacork, a company that offers a variety of choices of façade cork. Cork cladding is available in panels measuring one meter by half a meter (39″ x 19-5/8″) and can be up to six inches thick. The insulation value is about R-3.6 per inch, and it is one of the most eco-friendly insulation materials currently available. Cork is also naturally fire resistant, and hydrophobic.

Cork is a very renewable material, and it is also sustainably harvested every 8 years or so. Cork forests in Portugal and the rest of Europe also have the ability to reverse environmental damage. They protect soil from desertification by protecting against wind erosion and also act as a natural fire barrier in case of forest fires. These forests are also able to act as “carbon sinks.” The cork forests of Portugal are able to trap 4.8 million tons of CO2 emissions a year, which is about 5% of the country’s emissions. However, since the decline of cork use, these forests are not being cared for properly anymore. So, a revival of cork use for cladding and insulation would certainly have far reaching benefits.

Cork cladding has been a popular choice in Europe for a while now, but the PostGreen home in Philadelphia is the first US home to be built using it.

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Homes Existing as One With Nature
Tiny House That Was Grown and Not Built