Each year, CNN profiles a select group of young people who are rocking the world. Former NCIIA E-Team Ecovative Design, who has developed a green replacement for styrofoam and building insulation, was recently featured.
Household energy use accounts for one-fifth of the total energy consumed annually in the US. Better insulation would lead to a reduction in energy consumption, but today's most popular forms of insulation have significant drawbacks in the form of health risks, high cost, and large environmental footprints.
This E-Team developed Greensulate, an environmentally friendly home insulation material. Greensulate is a composite board made up of insulating particles suspended in a matrix of mycelium-growth-stage mushroom cells. This mushroom-based insulation is biodegradable, low cost, produces no pollution in the manufacturing process, and insulates as well as competing products.
They've since focused on developing and selling Ecocradle, a green alternative to polystyrene/Styrofoam packaging.
Update: the team is now incorporated as Ecovative Design. The company won 500,000 euros at Picnic Green Challenge 2008, the world's premier green ideas conference, in Amsterdam, received SBIR Phase I funding from the EPA, and won the DoE's Renewable Energy Laboratory's Clean Energy Venture Awards. Click here to visit their website.
Last year, Venture Well cohort member and NCIIA E-Team grantee Ecovative Design won €500,000 (about US$700,000) in the PostalCode Lottery Green Challenge. Deadline for submissions for this year is July 31.