Greensulate, green insulation made of mushroom mycellium

January 24, 2009 § 17 Comments

Greensulate, mushroom put to work

In a world where expenses on heating houses are growing and sustainable issues of buildings loosing heat and thus requiring more energy, a dual major in mechanical engineering and product design, Eben Bayer, hopes to solve some of those growing issues — by growing… mushrooms.

Eben Bayer developed a novel method of bonding insulating minerals in a matrix of  pleurotus ostreatus mycelium in a certain growth stage. “The insulation is created by pouring a mixture of insulating particles, hydrogen peroxide, starch, and water into a panel mold”, he sais. Mushroom cells are then injected into the mold, where they digest the starch producing a tightly meshed network of insulating particles and mycelium.

Here’s how it works: A mixture of water, mineral particles, starch and hydrogen peroxide are poured into 7-by-7-inch molds and then injected with living mushroom cells. The hydrogen peroxide is used to prevent the growth of other specimens within the material.

Placed in a dark environment, the cells start to grow, digesting the starch as food and sprouting thousands of root-like cellular strands. A within two weeks, a 1-inch-thick panel of insulation is fully grown. It’s then dried to prevent fungal growth, making it unlikely to trigger mold and fungus allergies. The finished product resembles a giant cracker in texture.

This green insulation could replace traditional synthetic insulators such as foam and fiberglass, especially as it has a very competitive R-factor, could also acts as a firewall thanks to its very good flammable properties. Inexpensive and using little energy to make its footprint on the environment is small and could be produced locally by farmers or specialized cooperatives…. if only the care for environment would be more appealing than monetizing the product and it would be open-sourced. (Read on an updated article on Greensulate and SIPswhat are SIPs?)

(sources: press release , ecovative , science buzz)

Samples of Greensulate's mycelium panels

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§ 17 Responses to Greensulate, green insulation made of mushroom mycellium

  • […] Because of all controversy of liquid soy foam insulation and reduced R-value of straw SIPs I would put my polystyrene alternative bet on Greensulate, which I covered already in a previous post: […]

  • realthor says:

    It would be quite interesting learning user’s feedback but aside self promotion 😛 what are you interested in this article? What missing bits are you looking for? I might help you.

  • lance says:

    is there any way that i can buy this insulator for my science project

  • David Cain says:

    As a Senior Manufacturing Engineer with 20 years Aerostuctures experience, I applaud you for thinking outside the Box. I strongly believe, Greensulate Insulation and its attributes are and will be known as s one of the most unique, innovative and revolutionary inventions since the wheel or the plane. Aiding in the reawakening of an era of consciousness around the World, I honestly believe it will prove itself to be an invaluable asset in transforming the United States and the World. Redirecting our path of self destruction caused by our forefather’s ignorance and greed of money and power through whatever means necessary. And know a driving undeniable force, “Self Preservation” instinctively warning us of trouble, calling to and instructing the insightful and brightest to act now! Begin the reversal process to the damage that has been caused upon the earth, and once again make this planet habitable for our children’s children and generations to come!

    Job well done Gentlemen, keep up the good work and fight the Good fight!

    David Cain, CMfgE

    • realthor says:

      Thank you for your kind words. These greetings should go straight to Greensulate creators, I am just another militant fighting the eco war, spreading the good news and adding to the critical mass needed for the movement to get strength.

  • I live in Alaska,retired, planning to move to Arizona, a place with some extra land, if I could get some detailed building plans to build a small building with flat green (growing) roof, would be much apreciated, it would be in a area with very low income people. I would like to think this would give them hope. Also the mushroom insulation, I would like to try growing this in the home on a small scale also with more detailed information where to get the mushroom seeds,all details especially exactly how much proportions of water, peroxide, minerals etc. How much money is this going to cost? I get a lot of junk e-mail every day. Could You please put in subject “mushroom insulation”

    • realthor says:

      Greensulate is a patented product and I doubt they will open source its formula any time soon. Perhaps mushroom growers and mycologists could make some research to try and reproduce it but for these guys it took many years of study and experimentation. As the price is similar to polystyrene panels I also doubt you can save much money on this part of your housing project. Polystyrene is cheap and even if you would have the exact formula and aren’t an experimented mushroom grower the success of the whole project would be questionable.
      As about house plans I am not an architect but for a cheap, green and comfortable house I would choose a pile foundation (some engineering paper here) and a house built of Structural Insulated Panels (the main product Greensulate will be used for). Have a read on planetgreen for some green building tips and more and perhaps you could apply all these on a free plan provided by freegreen.

  • william james says:


    i grow mushrooms and have a few Q’s about this insulation.
    i at one time wound up with an infestation of mycelium flies. it was bad for a while but i got rid of them with fly paper.
    i am wondering if this stuff will have some sort of insecticide in it to keep such things from eating it. as i understand it the board has a protein content that could provide a refuge for any sort of what i would call infection or a source of food for other More advanced organisms.

    i am wondering if this has been addressed and if so what sort of fix has come of it.

    thank you so much in advance.

    • realthor says:

      On their website FAQ they say:

      Pests and vermin are not an issue for Greensulate™. We use non-nutritional feedstocks that can’t be fed to livestock and won’t interest critters that might find their way into your building.

      As about how they do it so it’s pests-proof send them an email. Until then I’ll try to find an answer myself. If they answer please post a comment here for the world to know.


  • […] found this response to an article about them David Cain […]

  • julmaass says:

    This isn’t a DYI thing I don’t think. For safety reasons. What prevents someone from accidentally growing several other mushrooms , mold/fungi, that could be very harmful to the occupant and attack the structural integrity of the building? I’m sure they grown their shrooms in really clean facilities and d’ont have that problem

    • realthor says:

      I agree with you, I just wish they license their technology so one such facility can serve many locations without involving dirty petrol-transportation.

  • james says:

    I am a spray foam insulation contractor and would be very interested to license the formula to make this. spray foam materials keep getting more expensive so this seems very cool

  • Bill Worthington says:

    Could this technology/material be used to make:
    A cardboard substitute?
    A hard plastic substitute?
    If so could it be recyclable?

  • Chandhana says:

    Hi I am a research student in sustainable architecture and want to know about the product specifications like the U value, porosity, whether it is dampness protected etc. Finding this product very futuristic and
    sustainable.Awaiting for your response.

  • BCrane says:

    so where can I get it?

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