Cradle to Cradle finalists show what's next in green building (photos)

Cradle to Cradle finalists show what's next in green building (photos)

Products from ten companies have been selected as finalists for the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge sponsored by the Schmidt Family Foundation and the Dutch Postcode Lottery. Three winners will be selected from this group and will share a cash prize of $250,000.

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, in partnership with Make It Right, launched its first ever Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge in November 2012. By June, more than 100 products had been entered in the Challenge.

The Challenge: Create a building product that is safe, healthy, affordable, effective, and designed to be returned safely to nature or industry after use.

"We are delighted at the response to the challenge and the quality of the submissions,” said Bridgett Luther, president of the Institute. “These innovations embody shared values of practical sustainability and entrepreneurship."

The finalist include:

Ecovative – Mushroom Insulation

Mushroom Materials, inspired by the woods of Vermont, are a replacement for plastic foams. Evocative's patented process combines agricultural byproducts with fungal mycelium, a natural, self- assembling binder, to literally grow high performance insulation.

Bellwether Materials – Softbatts Sheep’s Wool Insulation

Wool is known for its ability to insulate under any conditions and for its ability to absorb pollutants in the air, making interior spaces healthier. Bellwether Materials' award-winning insulation can be used in any building. It looks like fiberglass, but unlike fiberglass, it uses minimal energy to produce it and the product is safe at every step of its lifecycle.

ROMA – Domus Mineral Paints

Roma redeveloped ancient paint formulas by combining ancient with modern technologies and eliminated a vast majority of the toxins used in acrylic paints, while providing a simple and cost-effective material that permits anyone to use our products on any building, new or pre-existing. ROMA products also reduce the carbon footprint by 30%-50% for both manufacturing and transport.

StormWall Industries – StormWall panels

Drywall contributes approximately 20-30 billion pounds of CO2 annually. StormWall has developed a wall and ceiling panel system that is engineered to withstand earthquakes and wind speeds in excess of 250 mph. StormWall is produced with a carbon neutral process and the environmentally friendly composite panel delivers 300 percent better R-Value than 1⁄2-inch drywall and significantly reduces on-site construction times. StormWall is manufactured from 100% recyclable material.

GR GreenBuilding Products – GR Green Roofing and Siding

GR Green recycles waste limestone, plastic bags, and milk bottles to make roofing and siding products that look natural, are affordable, easy to install, last over 50 years and are totally recyclable at the end of their lives.

bioMASON – Biobrick

bioMASON developed a technology that utilizes bacteria to produce durable cements in between grains of aggregate as a market-viable, green alternative to cement-based masonry products. Bacteria, which provide a precise environment to form in combination with a nutrient, nitrogen and calcium source allow for the formation of natural cement in ambient temperatures, taking less than 5 days to produce a pre-cast material, currently in masonry form. Over 40 percent of the cost of manufacturing traditional brick is in the fuel for kiln firing, and manufacturers are seeking alternative solutions to harden final product while reducing commodity-driven fuel dependency.

Ecococon  – Straw Panels

Ecococon panels consist of 99 percent rapidly renewable materials, and very little energy is necessary for production and no water is used for production, except for growing wheat or rye for food. The Ecococon Wall Panels are ideal for clay plaster on the inside, another material in abundance all over the world. Beautiful naturally colored plasters can be directly applied to the straw surface. On the outside, the walls are usually covered with wood-fiber boards and a ventilated wooden siding. The construction layers of the final wall can be varied to achieve optimal insulation and vapor diffusion for cold and hot climates.

HaploBuilt – HaploBlocks

Haplobuilt's structural assembly process reverses construction's normal critical path: finished cladded components first, the positioned sustainer member next, and mechanical connection of the frame assembly last. Haploblocks are interconnected on site, allowing complete access for inspection and easy installation of mechanical services. By reducing skill and knowledge overhead, shortening completion times for construction tasks, and lessening the disruptive consequences of construction sequence deviation, an assembled home will be able to enter the marketplace 25% below other code- compliant wood-frame construction.

ECOR – Universal Construction Panels

ECOR is a sustainable material technology that utilizes a ubiquitous raw material, available worldwide: waste cellulose fiber. ECOR manufacturing includes a closed loop water system with 99.5 percent reutilization. The system can be run by alternative energy. Factories can be located locally, in all communities, as a resource for waste reduction and supply of needed material.

Dutch Design Initiative – Reinforced Wood Wool Cement Board

The wood frame-embedded Wood Wool Cement Board is a Swedish invention, where it is used mainly as roofing board. Wood Wool Cement (WWC) as a material has a longstanding reputation for fire resistant acoustic ceilings in Europe, all non-loadbearing. By integrating wooden poles, the Swedish producer of these boards added the loadbearing capacity that opened a whole new world of applications with substantial potential for affordable housing in all climates and geological zones. As the main ingredients of the product are PEFC/FSC grown wood and Portland cement, it can be produced wherever these ingredients are available.

To win the Challenge, products must emulate the criteria of the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Product Standard: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy & carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.

Winning products must also be accessible for the affordable housing market, where health impacts from conventional building materials are rising at an alarming rate.

Taylor Royle of Make it Right explains the significance of the Innovation Challenge for the future of affordable, green homes, “At Make It Right, we are trying to revolutionize the affordable home industry. We believe that well designed, sustainable, Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes can be built for the same price as conventional homes. If this is true, we have no excuse to build any other way. We are constantly looking for new products that would make our homes more sustainable, more affordable or, ideally, both.”

Winners will be announced Nov. 15, 2013 at the Institute’s Innovation Celebration in New York City. The event will recognize leaders in product design and innovation for their efforts to create better products for our world using the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM program principles. Some of the biggest brands in the world will be honored along with stories of emerging technologies and a look into the future of sustainable design.

Read more about Building Green.

Topics: Building Green, Exteriors, Insulation, Paint | Low VOC and No VOC, Roofing, Sustainability Trends & Statistics, Sustainable Products, Trends / Statistics

Companies: ROMA

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