by , 07/03/07
filed under: Green Materials, Innovation

mushroom insulation, insulation, eco-friendly, environmentally friendly, sustainable, building product, building insulation, organic insulation

Just when you thought mushrooms were only useful as culinary garnishes (or maybe hallucinogenics as well), Gavin McIntyre and Eben Bayer, two students from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found a more noble purpose for the functional fungi- building insulation made from oyster mushrooms.

Greensulate is a fire-retardant board made out of water, flour, perlite, and mushroom spores. The idea came from an assignment which asked that they produce a form of sustainable insulation. The insulation material is grown by pouring the ingredients into 7 by 7 inch molds with hydrogen peroxide. When this mixture is placed in a dark environment, the mushroom oyster cells start to grow into a 1 inch thick panel, which is then dried to prevent fungus from growing. The pair have a working prototype, which in true college fashion, was grown under their beds.

“I think it has a lot of potential, and it could make a big difference in people’s lives,” said RPI Professor Burt Swersy, whose Inventor’s Studio course inspired the product’s creation. “It’s sustainable, and enviro-friendly, it’s not based on petrochemicals and doesn’t require much energy or cost to make it.”

+ Mushrooms Become Source for Eco-Building

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  1. governmentinsulationgrants October 22, 2010 at 5:11 am

    This appears to be a brilliant product, let’s hope we see it being adopted in the main stream with grants being made available.

  2. Packaging the Future: A... September 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    […] Mushrooms are amazing. Not only do they tasty-up pizza, pasta, soup and salads; not only are edible ’shrooms pretty much calorie-free and full of minerals (which ones depend on the variety) and immune-supporting compounds; not only can they engender transcendental trips, but they soak up chemicals from toxic environments (including BPA), don’t need pesticides or herbicides to grow, and many are gorgeous (or at least interesting-looking) to boot! And now we can add another really impressive thing that ’shrooms can do for us: packaging! […]

  3. mopieo February 26, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Fungi, like mushrooms, sporelate from a fruiting body. Fruiting mushrooms are about 90% water, and if the mycelium is dried out (mycelium is what makes the insulation in the photo white), then there is next to no chance the culture will produce a fruiting body and drop new spores. If the house was flooded or the insulation was saturated, and the fungi was also exposed to any kind of light, then you might have a basement full of delicious mushrooms. This would be great, as we should be eating localy anyways.

  4. Erik van Lennep July 5, 2007 at 5:44 am

    Do the spores remain active, question 2:

    I know that commercial growers of oyster mushrooms go to great lengths to protect workers from airborn spores which are a serious health hazard. So, we need to be sure the insulation is going to be quite inert. If that can be certified, cool! Anyway that we can develop this kind of living technology is a big step forward.

  5. D July 3, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Do the spores remain active? If so, what keeps them from colonizing the wood structure of the house and weakening it?

  6. Bob Ellenberg July 3, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    I can assure you that if I could buy Oyster mushrooms for the price of pink fiberglass I would be eating them often but I can only afford to eat them occassionally. If they can get the cost of these down my taste buds will rejoice.

  7. Jim July 3, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    2.9 R value per Inch is really really good. How much?

  8. Bill Beck July 3, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    I talked about this the other day as well in a new inventions post I was doing. This looks to be some really amazing stuff. The guys say it’s just as good as anything on the market today and maybe even better than some of your lower grade insulations.

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