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The end of summer is near so we have to take advantage of last minute beach time!
Our lovely home during the week! @greenfestival #asheville
Check out this lending library/book exchange! Created out of an old phone booth, people are allowed to simply take a book, if they drop one off! How great is that! #SharingIsCaring #Recycle #Ecofriendly #BookShare #CreativeThinking
@littlemittenvintage growing some greens in an old bed frame. _____________________________ Grow something and share with us what you are growing using #growsomethinggreen
Lots of special things this week :) for those of you that saw our mechanical cufflinks in the Sun Herald on the weekend here are some very limited edition versions, made by our amazing Sydney artisans Juan & Olivia, they're pretty amazing! These ones definitely won't make it online before fathers day so if youre interested email us on sales@upcyclestudio.com.au Silver ones are $199 and the gold ones are $299, we still have a few sets of the Sun Herald ones available too, these ones are $149 #reclaimed #watchparts #upcycle #upcycled #cufflinks #fathersday #upcyclestudio
Irish whiskey barrel bottle openers, for the dad that has everything, comes with a personalised number to track the history of the barrel. Limited qty available, $49 each, not online yet so email us on sales@upcyclestudio.com.au to claim one #upcycle #recycled #upcycled #reclaimed #whiskey #barrel #fathersday #upcyclestudio
Looks what arrived in time for Fathers day!! Cufflinks made from reclaimed Irish whiskey barrel timber :) complete with barrel number to research the history of where they came from! $49 per set, not online yet so email sales@upcyclestudio.com.au if you want to secure a pair in time for Dad! #upcycle #upcycled #Irish #whiskey #barrel #reclaimed #timber #cufflinks #fathersday #upcyclestudio

Your Walls Could Be Filled With Mushrooms

As New York green contractors, we’re always interested in emerging innovations, but take special interest in locally-developed technologies because we believe that green solutions should have a local focus.  An effective way to build green is to ensure that each building make the best use of the environment in which it’s located.

In New York state, for example, we have hot summers and cool to cold winters.  Insulation is important for keeping homes at a comfortable temperature while minimizing energy costs.  We also have farmland and woodland…which means mushrooms.

Ecovative Design started out as two RPI students’ mutual fascination with mushrooms. A class project resulted in growing a mushroom-based composite that could replace synthetic materials like Styrofoam.  Rather than lessening the impact of traditional synthetics, Ecovative is introducing radical materials in un-heard of ways.  The innovative start-up is currently growing into one of the most promising manufacturers of green building and packing materials.

We’re mostly interested in their mushroom insulation.

starta 01 Your Walls Could Be Filled With Mushrooms

It’s not quite the same as the mushrooms we buy at the supermarket: Ecovative makes their materials out of a mycelium composite.  Mycelium is the thready part underground; fruiting bodies are the parts we see and eat.

Filling your walls with fungus might not sound like such a great idea, but let me tell you why it’s amazing.

Mushroom materials are as safe and sturdy as traditional insulation.  They won’t melt in the rain.  They achieve a class 1 fire rating without needing toxic fire retardants and have very few volatile organic compounds or none at all.  There is no need for toxic adhesives like formaldehyde.  They can be touched and handled with no special protective gear.   There are no spore or allergen concerns, since materials are heat-treated after growing.

howitsgrown 02 Your Walls Could Be Filled With Mushrooms

That’s right, growing.  Ecovative grows their materials out of farm junk and mushrooms, an upcycling process that reduces waste.  They start with agricultural byproducts, which are then inoculated with mycelium and grown to the exact shape needed by the client.  They’re basically made from an unappreciated waste product (seed hulls, husks, etc) and a renewable resource (live mushrooms).  When you’re done, they can be composted like any other organic material, leaving behind neither chemicals nor waste.

The humble mushroom is a powerhouse.  In Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Save the World, Paul Stamets describes the potential for “mushroom ecoremediation,” in which we take advantage of mushrooms’ natural digestive abilities to clean up organic pollution.  Mushrooms can eat through all kinds of trees and houses like nobody’s business, but they can also digest complex organic particles found in petroleum and other messy contaminants.  Stamets describes an experiment where he watched oyster mushroom mycelia absorb brown gunk, slowly return to its original white, and send up robust fruiting bodies.  In other words, the mycelium ate our garbage, and made extra big mushrooms–more food for us!

But back to mushroom as a building material.  Mushroom materials can benefit builders, clients, and the environment.  They’re efficient by building and safety standards.  They become increasingly cost-effective as petroleum and plastic prices rise with oil prices.  Their production, use, and recycling leave no mark on the environment.

The major downside to mushroom insulation is that you can’t have it yet.  Ecovative’s building materials are currently under development and are not yet for sale.  As green builders, we eagerly anticipate the debut of a locally-developed material that offers homeowners an affordable, safe, and eco-friendly alternative to current methods.

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