Top 10 Green Advances in Commercial Building


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Mycoform Technology
Mycelia spores: They're not just fun guys; they're also eco-friendly building material.
Mycelia spores: They're not just fun guys; they're also eco-friendly building material.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Let's get back to nature with our final item on the list. We've talked about living walls, modular panels inside and outside of commercial buildings that contain live plants. We also touched on using plant materials like hemp and straw for insulation. But what if the very walls themselves were made of plant material? More than one journalist has compared mycoform technology to the Smurfs' mushroom houses and with good reason. This tech involves actually growing building materials using mycelium, a type of fungal spore.

Researchers have found that they could fill a form, such as a large block, with an agricultural product that would otherwise be waste material, such as buckwheat husks. The mycelium feed off the husks, growing to fill up the empty space in the form, and then it's heat-treated to kill the spore and stop its growth. The result is a strong, solid brick or plate of "mushroom" material, in whatever shape you want. They're inexpensive and require no toxic chemicals or a lot of energy to make. The downside is that they're also totally biodegradable, but if the molds for the bricks are made out of recycled aluminum, or the material is used as insulation between other non-biodegradable materials, you can avoid it breaking down. Unlike the other items on our list, this one is still in the experimental stages (although it's currently being used for packaging), but who knows what the future holds in green construction?

Related Articles

Sources

  • Benfield, Kaid. "Green 'living walls' come indoors." National Resources Defense Council Blog. Sept. 23, 2011. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kbenfield/green_living_walls_come_indoor.html
  • Burgess, Pricilla. "LEEDing Your Office." Sustainable Industries. Feb. 6, 2012. (Feb. 19, 2012) http://sustainableindustries.com/articles/2012/02/leeding-your-office?page=1
  • Ecovative Design. "Building Products." 2011. (Feb. 19. 2012) http://www.ecovativedesign.com/applications/building-products-greensulate/
  • Fosdick, Judy. "Passive Solar Heating." Whole Building Design Guide. Aug. 30, 2010. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.wbdg.org/resources/psheating.php
  • Harris, Alex. "Recycled Water." Irvine Ranch Water District. 2011. (Feb. 20, 2012)http://www.irwd.com/your-water/recycled-water.html
  • Jensen, Mads. "Sefaira Concept." 2012. Sefaira. (Feb. 19, 2012)http://www.sefaira.com/products/sefaira-concept/#sefaira-concept
  • Joachim, Mitchell, et al. "Mycoform: Mycelia Amalgamation Methods for Urban Growth." Terreform ONE. 2008. (Feb.19, 2012) http://www.terreform.org/projects_habitat_mycoform.html
  • Ledwith, Sara. "Green energy demand sparks new life in direct current power." Vancouver Sun. Dec. 21, 2011. (Feb. 19, 2012)http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Green+energy+demand+sparks+life+direct+current+power/5891185/story.html
  • Melton, Paula. "A Surge of Popularity for Efficient DC Power." Environmental Building News. May 1, 2011. (Feb. 19, 2012) http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2011/4/29/A-Surge-of-Popularity-for-Efficient-DC-Power/
  • Meryn, Richard. "Commercial Buildings are Going Green." Industry Leaders Magazine. Nov. 28, 2011. (Feb. 19, 2012)http://www.industryleadersmagazine.com/commercial-buildings-are-going-green/
  • Sefaira. "Green Building HVAC." 2010. (Feb. 19, 2012)http://www.sefaira.com/products/sefaira-concept/#sefaira-concept
  • Seville, Carl. "Eco-bling: get out of my grill and seal up your ducts." Fox News. Feb. 14, 2012. (Feb. 19, 2012) http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/02/14/eco-bling-get-out-my-grill-and-seal-up-your-ducts/
  • Strong, Steven. "Building Integrated Photovoltaics." Whole Building Design Guide. Dec. 27, 2011. (Feb. 19, 2012) http://www.wbdg.org/resources/bipv.php
  • Sustainable Industries. "Top 10 Green Building Products 2011." 2011. (Feb. 19, 2012) http://top10greenbuildingproducts.com/
  • Sustainable Sources. "Passive Solar Design." 2012. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://passivesolar.sustainablesources.com/
  • U.S. Department of Energy. "Energy Basics: Homes and Buildings." May 31, 2011. (Feb. 19, 2012) http://www.eere.energy.gov/basics/buildings/
  • Walton, John. "LEEDing the Way: Green Innovators." Digital Construction. Dec. 2, 2011. (Feb. 19, 2012) http://www.constructiondigital.com/innovations/leeding-the-way-green-innovators
  • Yudelson Associates. "Ten Green Building Trends for 2012." 2012. (Feb. 19, 2012) http://www.greenbuildconsult.com/blog/info/ten-green-building-megatrends-for-2012/

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