Published on May 24th, 2011 | by Beth Buczynski1
Like Mushrooms? You Could Grow Your Own House
All smurf jokes aside, a new fungi-based building material could revolutionize the construction industry.
A lot of people talk about building “green homes,” but what does that really mean? In most cases, an eco-friendly home is simply built with materials and fixtures that make it more energy efficient. This fails to address the hazardous nature of many traditional home building materials and the manufacturing process used to make them.
A truly green home should use materials that are benign, from the factory to the 30th year of habitation. Impossible you say? Planetary ONE begs to differ.
A unique collaborative effort of designers and scientists, Planetary ONE partners are pioneers in progressive urbanism through design, ecology and technology. The collective’s most impressive creation to date is Mycoform: a completely organic building material that can be grown by combining fungal mycelia with varying types of organic substrates and carefully controlling their expansion within prefabricated molds.
In just over a week at 80 degrees, the spores grow to fill the form, resulting in a light yet solid structure. The result? Mushroom bricks.
In addition to construction materials, Mycoform can be used to make acoustic tiles, insulation, shelters for disaster-stricken areas, and temporary structures such as street fair booths, reports TechCrunch.
Although Mycoform by itself is sun, mold and water resistant, biodegradability makes it a poor solution for longer-term structures. To address this, the team makes brick molds out of recycled aluminum sheets. When grown inside this aluminum casing, the bricks are expected to last between 25 and 30 years. Each brick can withstand about 2000psi, equivalent to the strength of a regular brick.
The best part (besides being able to say you grew a mushroom house) is that unlike traditional bricks production,which produces up to 1.3 pounds of carbon dioxide per unit, the act of making Mycofoam pollution free.
Would you live in a house made of mushrooms?
Image Credit: Flickr CC – LadyDragonflyCC