This is one that has been rattling around in the back of the "old cage" for a while, and really came to fruition about ten years ago when I had but another "remodel" to help with that of course involved 2x materials, pink insulation, tyvek house wrap, and OSB Sheathing. Well, suffice it to say the interstitial zones of the walls where a mess and the modern gypsum plaster reeked of mold and other "nasties." When I got to the OSB (forget the pink insulation...it was simply gross!!) it had exfoliated so badly it didn't really look normal...It was "puffy." I thought, at that time...
"Ya know, if we could get mycelium to grow in a similar matrix of material we could use it as a natural polymer adhesive...We just have to figure out how to treat it with Borates (or other nitrates) and some additional fire suppressants and we could...grow insulation."
Well I have been tracking such concepts ever sense (I know...like many of my "ideas," I should patent one of them and retire...) to see who else had such thoughts. One of them I have been tracking for a while. They probably are the top ones in the world for this research and good works. I am...as readers know...not a big fan...of BIG INDUSTRY. Nevertheless, I am seeing a positive shift in many of these "start up companies" that actually have "eco sense" and a positive relationship with the environment around them. Here is one to watch for in the future...I think they could be one of the best "eco companies" out there!! They are Ecovocative.
Yeah Jay, I seen the mushroom house a while ago but forgot about it. I sent them an email below and subscribed to be notified when they publish,
How far away are you from having a sheathing and insulation?. We don't have an Energy code here just burn rates per 2012 IRC/IBC.
Form what I understood Mycelium is a bio-polymer binder or glue that binds forest floors together, added to crop or wood waste heats it by inoculating micro-cells and organisms through and around these wood and plant particles transporting them into a composite. He referred to it as a "fungus" so perhaps they are testing borax as an anti-fungi and fire retardant often used in cellulose insulation and wood treatments. I'm trying to understand borax or sodium tetraborate better, not to be confused with sodium borate or boric acid. The difference between the two is: Boric acid is produced when borax is reacted with another acid (like sulfuric or hydrochloric acid) . Roxul insulation reacts with hydrochloric acid so perhaps you create boric acid when borax and Roxul are mixed which can be corrosive to aluminum and some plastics like electrical boxes and plumbing hardware, just as is cellulose insulation when borax is used. That would create an acid PH level, not alkaline. You remember Bill pulled some Roxul and found mold against OSB this may explain why. I imagine these are some of the hurdles, and fire, I'll ask.
I have been ideating this technology for the last couple year as well. In concert with my concerns about electromagnetic pollution in the modern world, and the ability of certain fungi to metabolize conductive metals into linear strands within their mycelial structure, I am particularly interested in using agricultural byproducts mixed with cheap conductive metal inoculated with Pleurotus Ostreatus to create a tight, yet breathable insulative layer that also act as a electromagnetic shield. Jay, I'd love your thoughts on this possibility.
"Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup." - Wendell Berry
Interesting, though if you want a faraday cage, chickenwire is cheap, effective, and doesn't require amounts of heavy metals in the growing medium sufficient to toxify any living space.
Mushroom insulation is brilliant. Growing mycelial packing materials is genius. I would love to see mushrooms made to grow into living structures that would detoxify our environment and sequester pollutants within itself. I recently found this article on the theoretical use of fungi to grow habitation structures on Mars.
It would require a building paradigm shift, as most of the materials we use for building would be consumed by said fungus, unless it was harvested and made sterile before it was used as a building component. To me, that's less engaging a concept than using substrate-filled forms to grow a building.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
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