A brick that is "grown" instead of fired in a kiln. Insulation made from mushroom "roots." Construction panels fashioned from discarded paper and cardboard. A line of paints that are free of toxic chemicals.
These sustainable building materials were selected from 144 entrants and announced as winners of the inaugural Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge at an event in New York City on November 15.
Ecovative of Green Island, New York, was awarded second prize for its Mushroom Insulation, which is made from agricultural waste that is bound together with fungal mycelium, a naturally fire-resistant material that obviates the need for toxic flame retardants. And unlike extruded polystyrene, a key component of rigid board insulation, Mushroom Insulation is free of gasses that seep out over time, contributing to climate change.
Tied for fourth place were ECOR and ROMA Eco-Sustainable Building Technologies.
ECOR, of San Diego, was singled out for its E-Home system of durable construction panels made from discarded paper, cardboard, agricultural fibers, and other so-called cellulose waste fiber, much of which would end up taking up valuable real estate in landfills. ROMA, of Atlanta, was honored for its Domus Mineral Paints, which are made from natural materials and are free of toxic chemicals and asthmagens. The company says a gallon of its mineral paint covers twice the area of a gallon of acrylic paint, reducing waste as well as gasoline use and emissions from transporting it when it leaves the plant.
The winners will share $250,000 in prize money. The competition was sponsored by the Schmidt Family Foundation and the Dutch Postcode Lottery. The jury that selected the winners included executives of Make It Right, the U.S. Green Building Council, Google, First Community Housing, the Honest Company, the Schmidt Family Foundation, Delta Development Group in the Netherlands, and CIGA in China.
Will Lamb is a writer and editor based in Jersey City, New Jersey. He served as a senior editor at Dwell from 2013 to 2015.