The Walls Are Alive

The cover story of our Winter 2009 issue, “The Mushroom Messiah,” lays out five ways in which mushrooms could solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Since we ran the story, the list of mushroom miracles continues to grow. Now, from the company that brought you mycelium-based packaging (see “Repacking the Future,” Summer 2012), comes mushroom insulation.

Ecovative unveiled its fungus-based insulation in June. To make these ecofriendly building materials, the developers fill wooden walls with agricultural byproducts (such as rice hulls) seeded with mushroom mycelium. Over the course of a few days, the mycelium grows up around the substrate to form an airtight seal. Then it’s left to dry. The company reports that the insulation doesn’t settle, is fire-resistant, and contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Next up from Ecovative: structural insulating panels and acoustic ceiling tiles. Time to embrace the fungus among us.

Photo: Mushroom Materials ©Ecovative

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