Bacteria: The Future of Building?

March 11, 2014 at 3:01 pm  •  Posted in News  •  0 Comments

Innovations such as brick, concrete and insulation composed of bacterial and agricultural waste may be the key to green construction going forward, say entrepreneurs. Today, up to 40 percent of landfill waste is due to residential and commercial building, and 40 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions are linked to the construction industry, according to the EPA.

Scientists and entrepreneurs are looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of building, and to show how renewable biological resources can give buildings a whole new shade of green.

Two recent innovations include bricks made from bacterial byproducts that cement sand particles together in a matrix that’s strong enough to use for homes, and mushroom insulation material that uses agricultural waste products like plant stalks and seed husks bound together with mycelium, a fungal material. The brick takes about five days for the bacteria to form into a natural cement.

The mushroom insulation, which uses agricultural waste, is fire-resistant and fully compostable. It can be grown inside a wall cavity or in a mold. The insulation does not contain formaldehyde or other potentially harmful volatile organic compounds. It can also be used as compostable packaging.

Both of these innovations were results of the recent “Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge,” designed to show how renewable biological resources can help buildings become even greener.

Other renewable biological resources building products are in the works as well.

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