Fungus could be the ultimate sustainable form of home insulation

Updated Jun 27, 2013
Insulation formed by mycelium, a component of a fungus. Credit: DesignBuildSourceInsulation formed by mycelium, a component of a fungus. Credit: DesignBuildSource

“We see a future where Mushroom Materials are found in the bumper of your car, the walls of your home and inside your desk.”

That quote comes from Sam Harrington who works for a company called Ecovative out of upstate New York. DesignBuildSource recently did an article on the company and its ambition to use fungus as a sustainable building material.

The company grows a material called mycelium, which as DesignBuildSource explains, is “the wispy, floss-like, vegetative component of a fungus.” Apparently the stuff grows rapidly, which makes it fit for large-scale production, and it’s also extremely adhesive and easy to mold into complex shapes. The company can even control the growth process in order to determine density of the final product.

That means you can use mycelium for a number of different purposes. And right now Ecovative is experimenting with using mycelium for various building materials, particularly insulation.

The company has already gained some traction with the shipping materials industry. Sealed Air Corporation, the company that invented bubble wrap, has decided to partner with Ecovative to open a factory in Iowa that will produce mycelium-based packing materials.