Lazar, Katherine

Project title: Encouragement of Cork as a Sustainable Building Material

Department: Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

Faculty supervisor: Prof. Komal Kalra

"As Portugal produces 60% of the world’s cork, it is an essential industry to the Portuguese economy and environment. Cork harvesting is known to be a sustainable practice, and has many beneficial uses in various industries, but it’s uses have barely been taken outside of wine corks and fashion. In my research paper I will look to explore the sustainable benefits of cork as a building material, and what government and companies can do to encourage the use of cork in buildings. While there are many other sustainable uses for cork, I am choosing to focus on the housing industry (more specifically for use in flooring and house paneling) as I find it to be the most prolific opportunity. More specifically I will to explore the benefits of utilizing cork as a building material (heat regulation, cleanliness and lifetime), the benefits of supporting the cork industry (carbon absorption and protection against desertification), and what governments and companies can do to encourage the use of cork as a materials in buildings. The goal of this study is to contextualize the benefits and downfalls of the cork industry (both cork farming and cork as a building material) to establish if it is a sustainable material, and examine the methods that governments have at their disposal to encourage the use of cork in building materials."