Given the mounting interest in green building, it should come as no surprise to learn that non-profits such as the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institution are sponsoring the push to create better building materials. One of the exciting building materials to receive encouragement from its efforts is self-repairing concrete.
In short, the self-repairing concrete is normal concrete that has been mixed with bacteria that has been engineered to be capable of surviving in arid conditions. As the bacteria run through their biological processes, their bodies expel calcium carbonate as a waste product, which is the same substance seen in limestone. Over time, the calcium carbonate serves to fill in the cracks that can open up in concrete, thus extending its period of usefulness far past its normal length.
However, the same challenge that led to self-repairing concrete has also produced a number of other interesting possibilities. Examples include both bacteria-made bricks that use minimal inputs and mushroom-based insulation that can be cultivated right into the spaces between walls. Although some of these building materials are still in their earliest stages, their current performance carries much promise for the future.
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