Our friends over at Ecovative have a fantastic new R&D project involving their mycelium based process used as insulation for a house. For those that might not know, mycelium is fungal network of threadlike cells that can be liked to the “roots” of mushrooms. The Ecovative team uses this fungi along with agricultural byproducts to make protective packaging and shipping products. The mycelium acts as a “glue” or binder to the agricultural byproducts to create a product that is biodegradable. With their success in the industry of shipping, they are now setting their sights on the building industry, in particularly insulation.
Check out the blurb below from the Ecovative team on this new project:
The Ecovative team is not just building a tiny house, they’re literally growing it. That’s right, the walls are made of a material called Mushroom® Insulation, and they’re alive. This is a test of some of Ecovative’s most radical building concepts.
Ecovative uses mycelium (mushroom “roots”) to bond together agricultural byproducts like corn stalks into a material that can replace plastic foam. They’ve been selling it for a few years as protective packaging, helping big companies replace thousands of Styrofoam (EPS), EPE and other plastic foam packaging parts. Ecovative is now working to develop new products for building materials. This is an exciting, radical and innovative approach to try a bunch of ideas, learn a lot, and grow something really awesome.
Here’s how it works. Mushroom Insulation grows into wood forms over the course of a few days, forming an airtight seal. It dries over the next month (kind of like how concrete cures) and you are left with an airtight wall that is extremely strong. Best yet, it saves on material costs, as you don’t need any studs in the wall, and it gives you great thermal performance since it’s one continuous insulated wall assembly. The finished Mushroom® Insulation is also fire resistant and very environmentally friendly.
Will it work? Will it hold up to the weather? Will it avoid any pest problems? All of Ecovative’s early testing says yes. But there’s no better way to know for sure than to build a house and try it out. Check out their site and stay tuned!