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Growing Greener Affordable Housing

Friday, November 22, 2013

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Bricks that are grown instead of fired, fire-resistant insulation from fungal waste, and other novel bio-inspired products for the affordable-housing market shared the winners' circle this week at the second annual Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Challenge in New York.

The winning products "have the potential to revolutionize the affordable-housing industry, redefine product beauty, and embrace the highest standards of environmental and human safety," according to a release by challenge co-sponsors Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Products Innovation Institute and Make It Right.

C2C is a nonprodfit organization that rates and certifies products in five categories: social fairness, material health, material reutilization, renewable energy, and water stewardship. Make it Right, founded in 2007 by actor Brad Pitt, builds LEED Platiunum-certified homes, buildings and communities for people in need.

The Challenge

MakeItRight MakeitRight
Make it Right

Make it Right, a co-sponsor of the Cradle to Cradle Innovation Challenge, builds LEED-certified affordable housing.

The contest challenges manufacturers to create a building product that is safe, healthy, affordable, effective, and designed to be returned safely to nature or industry after use. This year, the institute announced four winners, with two sharing third-place honors.

“Our biggest hurdle was picking only four winners," said Institute President Bridgett Luther. "We had a number of great products for the affordable housing market.

“All of these winning products are good for the bottom line and the planet.”

The Challenge winners, who were honored Monday (Nov. 18) at C2C's Innovation Celebration, will share a $250,000 cash prize.

The winners follow.

1st Place: bioMASON Brick

bioMASON, a biotech startup founded in 2012 by architect Ginger Dosier, produces a brick that is “grown” instead of fired.

bioMASON Bricks
bioMASON

"A bacterial byproduct cements sand particles together to form a durable matrix," C2C explains. "Because high heat is not required, these bricks have a much lower embodied energy and emissions profile while still having the positive environmental attributes of conventional bricks."

bioMASON says the product was inspired by a study of coral structure: "a very hard cementitious material created by nature in ambient sea temperatures with low energy and material inputs."

The process has since been refined and continually optimized for increased performance and reduced production costs, the company says.

2nd Place: Ecovative Mushroom Insulation

This product is "made from agricultural wastes bound together with a fungal material which is naturally fire-resistant and does not require added, toxic flame retardants or blowing agents that contribute to climate change," according to C2C. "Additionally, the insulation is compostable and can return to nature after use."

Ecovative
Ecovative Design

Developer Ecovative Design describes itself as a "material science company developing a new class of home-compostable bioplastics based on mycelium, a living organism. Mushroom materials are high-performance, environmentally responsible alternatives to traditional plastic foam packaging, insulation, and other synthetic materials."

3rd Place (Tie): ECOR Composites

ECOR, a product of San Diego-based Noble Environmental Technologies, is a sustainable alternative to wood, composites, aluminum and plastic.

ECOR
Noble Environmental Technologies

ECOR composites are used in containers, packaging and construction among other applications.

"ECOR advanced environmental composites present an expanded family of innovative natural building materials that are strong, lightweight, flexible, and environmentally friendly," C2C reports.

ECOR materials have a wide range of applications, including containers and packaging, displays, decorative items, consumer products and construction.

3rd Place (Tie): ROMA Domus Mineral Paints

Manufacturer ROMA Eco-Sustainable Building Technologies says its architectural products "go beyond the scope of just low- or zero-VOC products."

DOMUS Mineral Paints
ROMA Eco-Sustainable Building Technologies

"Our products are manufactured without chemicals that contribute to [Sick Building Syndrome] or cause asthma," the company says. C2C says Domus Mineral Paints "are derived from natural materials, washable, free of toxic chemicals, free of asthmagens, hypoallergenic, prohibit bacteria that form mold, and absorb CO2."

   

Tagged categories: Architecture; Awards and honors; Brick; Building materials; Commercial Construction; Green building; Housing; Recycled building materials; Residential Construction; Sustainability

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