Mushroom Insulation

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While a lot of us today look at mushrooms as a source of food, many designers have begun to experiment with fungi in order to create various new and innovative purposes for the organic matter. Some of the various purposes for the biomaterial include clothing, packaging and one of the most hyped about product today with building material is insulation. Within the last few years mushroom insulation is seen as a prime competitor and more earth friendly alternative to plastic foam boards used in building construction/These mushroom boards are composed of mycelium that are packed together in between the walls. Within the duration of three days the mycelium fibers will grow and solidifies the once loose particles into a tightly sealed insulation and after a month the mushroom insulation will naturally dry out and becomes dormant to the boards that it adheres to. These boards not only help out with replacing a lot of the environmentally-harmful material that are used in typical insulations but aid in better indoor air quality. Mycelium is in its own a natural adhesive component for these mushroom boards and therefore unhealthy volatile organic compounds used in typical insulation are not need resulting in better indoor air quality.

Mushroom insulation have a strong potential to one day completely replace regular insulation methods used today. These boards are innovative products that not only beneficial to the environment but the health of the people that occupy the buildings that these insulations are used in.

Article and Image Source:

Bailes, Allison. “Is Mushroom Insulation the World’s Greenest Insulating Material?” Is Mushroom Insulation the World’s Greenest Insulating Material? ArchDaily, 09 Feb. 2014. Web. 09 Sept. 2016

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One comment

  1. ktowberman

    The use of mycelium as an insulator seems like a very eco friendly alternative to the current foam boards or fiberglass insulation methods as you outlined above. I have a few concerns regarding this advancement however.
    First, mushrooms release millions of spores at a single time. Mushrooms also thrive in cold dark places. I assume that the mushroom caps would be removed from the boards before sale, but what steps would be taken to kill off any spores that still reside on the boards? In other words, how would they prevent mushrooms from growing in my walls?
    Second, along the same lines, mycelium is organic material, and as an organic material, it is prone to rot. One advantage of Styrofoam and fiberglass is that neither will “rot”, (fiberglass gets weird if it gets wet, but lets ignore that). I feel like the smell of rotting organic material would defeat the argument that it would increase air quality. So how will they prevent this from happening? One option I can think of would be to add some sort of preservative, but that would definitely make it much less eco friendly.
    And my last concern/comment is about its use as a replacement for blown-in insulation. I have aided in the construction of a few homes, and have blown and laid insulation many times. One point where i believe the mycelium boards would fail to compete with fiberglass insulation is its flexibility or its ability to get into tight spaces. This is really only an issue that I could see occurring when it comes time to insulate hard to reach places or places that can not easily be insulated with standard Styrofoam boards (hence the use of blown-in insulation). The instance that comes immediately to mind for me is specifically the insulation near the roofline.
    I believe that in the future organic materials will be at the forefront of material technology, but I am not sure if that day is here quite yet.

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