Would You Live in a House made of Fungus?
Living in a house made of fungi is a distinct possibility in the future. Fungi are the key to a new low carbon, fire and insect resistant building material called a mycelium composite.
Agricultural and Industrial waste is combined with the Trametes versicolor fungus to make lightweight strong bricks. It's considerably cheaper than synthetic plastics or engineered wood and reduces the amount of waste that would be incinerated or dumped in a landfill.
(A Rice Hulls, B, Glass Fines, C Rice Hulls and Glass Fines combined with Trametes versicolor prior to baking)
Fungus is used to bind rice hulls (the indigestible part of rice) and glass fines (discarded, small or contaminated glass), it is then baked to produce a new, natural building material. Producing these bricks is a low energy and zero carbon process, they can be molded into many shapes and are ideal for the construction and packaging industries.
Rice is a staple crop for more than half the world, it has an annual global consumption of more than 480 million metric tonnes and 20% comprises rice hulls which are discarded. In Australia alone over 600,000 tonnes of glass waste is produced a year. Every metric tonne (1000kg) of recycled glass saves 315kg (694lb) of Carbon Dioxide being released during the creation of new glass.
(Rice, Glass and Fungi Bricks)
Fungi Bricks are highly fire resistant, the material is more thermally stable than synthetic polystyrene and particleboard (derived from petroleum or natural gas). Fungal Bricks burn more slowly, with a lower heat and release less smoke and CO2 than their synthetic counterparts. Thousands and thousands of fires occur annually and the main causes of fatalities are smoke inhalation and Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Using Fungal Bricks in construction means that people would have more time to escape/get rescued in the event of a fire, so more lives could be saved.
The silica content of rice and glass deters termites - in Australia termites cost homeowners more than A$1.5 Billion a year for repairs and pest eradication
The mycelium composite bricks/panels are also considerably cheaper than the highly flammable petroleum and natural gas synthetic polymers and engineered woods used in insulation, furniture and paneling. Some of the composites tested were up to 31 times cheaper!
The Fungal Bricks/Paneling are also weather resistant...
"Our construction material could provide a solution for combating infestations, as the silica content of rice and glass would make buildings less appetising to termites. The use of these fire-and-termite-resistant materials could simultaneously revolutionise the building industry and improve waste recycling." (Michell Jones, Tanmay Bhat, Tien Huynh, Everson Kandare, Richard Yuen, Chun H. Wang & Sabu John - Fire & Materials Journal)
Using Mycelium Composites for construction is highly sustainable. Low amounts of energy are required to make them, they can replace fossil fuel derived building products and recycle the waste from glass production/recycling and rice processing.
“The findings of this study show that mycelium composites are a very economical alternative to highly flammable petroleum-derived and natural gas-derived synthetic polymers and engineering words for applications including insulation, furniture and paneling,” (Michell Jones, Tanmay Bhat, Tien Huynh, Everson Kandare, Richard Yuen, Chun H. Wang & Sabu John - Fire & Materials Journal)
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I love Architecture. I think it's vital to talk about all aspects of Architecture - whether it be planning, construction, design or green building. I have written 3 E-Books & over 110 articles. Please feel free to let me know if you have any queries regarding architecture, planning & construction & I will assist you.
I am originally from the UK and moved to South Africa in 1999. I started Blue Designs in 2004 after working as a driver for Avalon Construction on a luxury home in the Featherbrook Estate. In my spare time I am an artist and writer.
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