A US biotechnology startup has developed new technology to create insulation in buildings. Ecovative Mushroom Insulation is a grown insulation derived from agricultural byproducts. It is changing the way we inviolate our homes and structures and is comparable to plastic foam insulators.
The problems with our current solutions to insulation are their properties that release toxic gases into our atmosphere over time, and their tendency to settle over time which lowers their effectiveness. Rigid board insulation, such as extruded polystyrene, an example of what is in our walls now, are coated with harsh flame retardant chemicals to meet fire safety codes. The health code violations to our own bodies as well as our planet here are endless.
Ecovative’s insulation solves almost all of these issues with mushrooms. These mushrooms are completely compo stable at the end of their lives and is made from crop waste. Part of the root of the mushroom produces an agent called Mycelium which Ecovative uses to grow synthetic materials. Mycelium works like a glue that grows and solidifies loose particles into air-sealed insulation, creating a sandwich like insulating panel. It does not settle or lose its function, it is completely natural, and renewable making it a persuasive material for architects.
Creating a space for replicating natures natural process of recycling is what these scientists and engineers are doing to invent this material. The mushrooms they are using break down old crop waste such as corn husks to create a new material manipulable to create fire, moisture and vapor resistant as well as giving the new material insulation properties. Solving all of our previous problems with one solution.