In attempts to better define what it really means to be green, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, in partnership with Make it Right, has selected products from ten companies as finalists in the Product Innovation Challenge. 144 applicants were screened by toxicologists and building professionals, proposing new alternatives from insulation grown from fungi and bricks from living organisms, to roofing made from waste limestone and recycled plastic. The ten finalists represent the shared values of practical sustainability and entrepreneurship, creating "a building product that is safe, healthy, affordable, effective and designed to be returned safely to nature or industry after use."
Three winners will ultimately be announced on November 15, 2013 at the Institute's Innovation Celebration in New York City, offering a $250,000 cash prize: $125,000 for first place, $75,000 for second and $50,000 for third. The jury members, who include executives from Google, US Green Building Council and the Schmidt Family Foundation, will judge each product based on five categories: material health, material reutilization, water stewardship, renewable energy and social fairness.
Without further ado, the 10 finalists are…
Ecovative: Mushroom Insulation
"A renewable, high-performance, and cost-effective replacement for plastic foams. Ecovative’s process combines agricultural byproducts with fungal mycelium, a natural, self-assembling binder, to literally grow structural rigid insulation."
Bellwether Materials: Softbatts Sheep's Wool Insulation
"Made from sheep's wool using little energy for manufacturing, safe for people, animals and the environment. Wool is known for its ability to absorb pollutants in the air, making interior spaces healthier. If a building catches on fire, wool insulation is difficult to burn and will delay the ignition of surrounding materials. If a building is demolished, the wool can easily be pulled out and reused, repurposed or recycled."
ROMA: Domus Mineral Paints
"Derived from natural materials, washable, free of toxic chemicals, free of asthmagens, hypoallergenic, and permeable, prohibit bacteria that form mold, and absorb CO2 (so no Sick Building Syndrome). They are ideal for use in commercial and residential areas: offices, schools, medical facilities, and homes."
StormWall Industries: StormWall Panels
"A structural wall, floor, and ceiling system with panels that supersede and replace the use of drywall. Based on the Composite Panel Associates Carbon Model, StormWall panels sequester more than 3X the CO2 emitted from the production process and supply chain."
GR GreenBuilding Products: GR Green Roofing and Siding
"Made from waste limestone and recycled plastic—milk bottles and grocery bags—GR Green Cedar and GR Green Slate look natural, cost less than the competition and can be completely recycled at the end of their 50+ years of use."
"Employs bacteria to produce a natural cement within a mix of aggregate. Inputs are globally abundant and may be extracted from waste streams. The cementation process is achieved in ambient temperatures. A hardened brick requires less than 5 days to form, and is comparable in cost and performance to traditional masonry."
Ecococon: Straw Panels
"Prefabricated load-bearing Straw Panels are made for cost-efficient and precise construction of super-insulated houses. The Ecococon modular building system is made from 99.4% rapidly renewable and mostly locally sourced materials (straw and wood). The panels have been successfully applied in several passive houses."
"Prefabricated modular building enclosure components assembled and connected on site. All materials are biodegradable or recyclable. The manufacture and assembly is simple, requiring few tools, little energy, and no water. Haploblocks can be disassembled and used again in new construction."
ECOR: Universal Construction Panels
"Utilizes a ubiquitous raw material, available worldwide: waste cellulose fiber. ECOR manufacturing includes a closed loop water system with 99.5% reutilization."
Dutch Design Initiative: Reinforced Wood Wool Cement Board
A versatile building material made from wood wool and cement. The wooden pole in the board results in a constructive element. It can be used for walls and roofs. Boards are fire-resistant, waterproof, rot-resistant, termite- and vermin-resistant, insulating, sound-absorbing, free of harmful emissions, and accept a wide range of finishes.