What comes to mind when you think of cork? Wine bottles? Fishing buoys? What about homebuilding?
For Daniel DeCesare, CEO of ARK Coatings, this was the mindset going into a partnership with a European manufacturer that has a global patent on Suber by Kolmer—a technology that can best be described as “projectable cork coating.”
In Europe, Suber has been widely used for more than 15 years in numerous applications such as the external coating of buildings in NATO encampments and the Italian government’s archives of the Marine industry.
“It is an extremely unique product,” says DeCesare, who notes that the specific cork within Suber only comes from this part of the world and consists of 96 percent raw cork. “In its end state, it is almost completely 99 percent organic in makeup.”
The Impressive Qualities of Cork
This organic nature makes the cork extremely low in toxins and chemicals, which allows it to be a renewable resource and zero-carbon-emitting material. It is also highly durable. DeCesare points to the most mainstream use of cork—in wine bottles—noting that the material is flexible, impervious to liquid penetration, yet still allows for breathability.
Even more impressive, cork cannot exceed 86 degrees, a fact that DeCesare says not many people are aware of. Actually, NASA used the material for years as cork-based heat shields for its rocket series, until it moved on to full ceramics.
“So, when you put that on a building, what we have is a very flexible, very durable, breathable, waterproof coating that resists cracking, but also it is extremely low in its thermal conductivity,” says DeCesare. “We’ve seen projects in Europe that have been 15 years old with no failure whatsoever.”
Cork Coating Meets Multifamily
This unique cork technology was recently used on a luxury renovation of a historic Hyde Park home, making it the first U.S. residential home to feature it.
Jeff Greenacre of Greenacre Construction was a builder on the project and will soon begin work on a 55+ multifamily community in Florida that will utilize this cork technology on an even wider scale.
The community is still searching for a location, and specific details cannot currently be shared. We do know Suber technology will play an important role in appealing to the 55+ demographic.
“One of the caveats to people of that demographic is that they don’t want to have to worry about maintaining the home. They don’t want to have to clean it or repair or restore it as they go forward,” says DeCesare.
Greenacre’s vision for the community combines the cork coating with other environmentally friendly technologies such as solar panels and LED lighting, which will create homes with Energy Star qualifying potential. He will also include on-site access to preventative health services within the community.
“It leaves them with a turnkey offering of a home where they won’t have to worry about a single thing,” says DeCesare.
Stay tuned for more details on Greenacre’s 55+ multifamily community in part two of this story.
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