Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Is Fungus the Future of Green Building?

Fungus is often negatively associated with food, homes, and gardens, but could fungus be the building material of the future? Many scientists believe so as they are developing industrial-strength fungi that can be used in building for homes. Mycelium, the vegetative-part of fungi that helps transport nutrients, is found to be incredibly strong, non-toxic, fire-proof, and water-resistant when its dried. It also functions well as insulation and can be stronger than concrete when it is compressed, forming dense, foam-like building blocks.
fungus green building materials
Mycelium Insulation

Scientists and construction companies alike are now looking toward mycelium since it can be quickly and easily grown, can be molded and crafted into various shapes, and is eco-friendly. Unlike styrofoam and many other materials, the fungi can be disposed of and used in soil and gardens. 

Philip Ross has worked with Far West Fungi to create this super strong material out of the wasted part of mushrooms. The mycelium is thin, floss-like but extremely durable and strong. It can be used for insulation, car bumpers, laptop cases, and various other products. And while many worry that we will soon be living in Smurf-like mushroom houses, it's not that unrealistic as these fibers can be used as wooden beams for houses. Transforming waste fungi into green building material wastes less money and resources and promotes eco-friendly living, and we are just starting to see the potential that fungi has to offer. 

Learn more about green building materials through our online continuing education courses at www.greenedu.com/leed-continuing-education!