Waste not want not? Well, Ginger Krieg Dosier, an assistant architecture professor at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, is making what some call waste into building materials. What if we could grow and cultivate architectural materials by employing natural minerals and microorganisms?
The built environment that we all know and sometime love consists as is a limited palette of traditional, static materials such as concrete, glass, steel, and wood. These materials embody high concentrations of energy, with most components of concrete and steel mined from non- renewable resources. Not that great for the sustaining the environment or leaving a minimal carbon foot print. (Though LEED and other associations will give you brownie points otherwise....) Did you know 40% of global carbon dioxide is linked to the construction industry, primarily due to material production and disposal? So why not "grow" bricks? Biologically grown materials can be pollution free (note can be- they might just have a lower production of waste until we figure out how to recycle it). These grown materials also have the potential to contain a low embodied energy and could be produced as part of a local ecosystem.
Dosier has been working on a new breed of biologically “grown” bricks that are durable, sustainably manufactured, and easily produced from readily available materials. These “Better Bricks,” can be “grown” from sand, common bacteria, calcium chloride, and urea. (There's the pee again!) Growing bricks instead of being baking them, which consumes a ton of energy, saves and produces a great amount of energy!
Something to think about. I know it has been a while- but I have just been occupied with settling down in my new home/city/etc. Inhabitable Organism is on the rise! And I have a feeling it will be a pissing good time....