I have become fascinated by mycelium - the network of vegetative threads that aid fungi to decompose organic compounds.
It is becoming apparent that mycelium could have a huge part to play in decarbonising construction, regenerating waste, and reaching a circular economy. I hope we will see a bio-revolution of mycelium materials, and have been talking with a pioneering biomanufacturing company called Biohm about using their mycelium insulation in our flat-pack tiny home system Bayhous, as well as my own home.
Biohm won the Index Award for
"harnessing the unique and regenerative properties of fungi in developing carbon-negative, energy-efficient, naturally self-extinguishing and superior thermally insulating mycelium panels."
According to Biohm, their mycelium insulation panels are able to achieve
a thermal conductivity of 0.024W/m.K., surpassing the values that can be achieved by market leading but unsustainable materials such as glass fibre (0.032-0.044W/m.K.), mineral wool (0.032-0.044W/m.K), expanded polystyrene (0.036W/m.K) and extruded polystyrene (0.029-0.036W/m.K). Furthermore, as a natural materials, it is also safer and healthier as it does not contain the synthetic materials that cause the harmful toxic smoke and quick spread of flames during a fire.
At present, Biohm is on the cusp of having the world’s first accredited mycelium insulation and will soon be ready to start integrating them into houses, with the aim of insulating around 120 homes a month once the accreditation is in place. There are other companies all over the globe investigating how mycelium can be used in construction, as well as for furniture, clothes, packaging and regeneration schemes to name a few.
Although in construction the use of mycelium is still experimental, its development indicates a desire for “cradle to cradle” processes, reduced embodied energy and zero waste. We desperately need to change they way we build, and I believe mycelium will show us the way. Interesting times are ahead!
Ilvy Bonnefin (2017). Emerging materials: Mycelium Brick - Certified Energy. Available at: https://www.certifiedenergy.com.au/emerging-materials/emerging-materials-mycelium-brick
Biohm (2021). Home. Available at: https://www.biohm.co.uk/
Biohm (2021) Biohm wins prestigious “Index Award” for design. Available at: https://www.biohm.co.uk/single-post/biohm-wins-prestigious-index-award-for-design
Jennifer Hahn (2021). Stella McCartney creates clothes from mycelium leather to foster a "kinder fashion industry" - Dezeen. Available at https://www.dezeen.com/2021/03/24/mylo-stella-mccartney-mycelium-leather-fashion/
Mushroom packaging (2021). Available at: https://mushroompackaging.com/
Carly Nairn (2021). Mycoremediation brings the fungi to waste disposal and ecosystem restoration - Mongabay. Available at: https://news.mongabay.com/2021/09/mycoremediation-brings-the-fungi-to-waste-disposal-and-ecosystem-restoration/
Stella McCartney (2021) The world’s first Mylo™️ garments created from vegan mushroom leather. Available at: https://www.stellamccartney.com/gb/en/stellas-world/the-worlds-first-mylo-garments-created-from-vegan-mushroom-leather.html
Study (2021) What is Mycelium? - Definition & Function. Available at: https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-mycelium-definition-function.html