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Product, Service & Design Innovation
C2C Product Innovation Challenge Winners Bring Breakthroughs in Sustainable Building Materials

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and Make It Right have announced four winners of its second annual Innovation Challenge, that have designed building products that have the potential to revolutionize the affordable housing industry, redefine product beauty, and embrace the highest standards of environmental and human safety.

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and Make It Right have announced four winners of its second annual Innovation Challenge, that have designed building products that have the potential to revolutionize the affordable housing industry, redefine product beauty, and embrace the highest standards of environmental and human safety.

In response to the growing demand for healthier, more affordable building products, The Institute in partnership with Make It Right inaugurated the Product Innovation Challenge in November 2012. Entrants were asked to create a building product that is safe, healthy, affordable, effective and designed to be returned safely to nature or industry after use. Winners met the basic criteria of the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Product Standard, optimizing for material health, material reutilization, renewable energy & carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness.

Through the Challenge, building product manufacturers are showing what’s next for the affordable housing market, where they have the opportunity to provide solutions to human and environmental health around the world.

“Our biggest hurdle was picking only four winners - we had a number of great products for the affordable housing market,” said Institute president Bridgett Luther. “All of these winning products are good for the bottom line and the planet.”

The Challenge winners will be sharing a cash prize of $250,000 and they are:

  • 1st place: bioMASON presents a brick that is “grown” instead of fired. A bacterial byproduct cements sand particles together to form a durable matrix. Because high heat is not required, these bricks have a much lower embodied energy and emissions profile while still having the positive environmental attributes of conventional bricks.
  • 2nd place: Ecovative Mushroom® Insulation is made from agricultural wastes bound together with a fungal material that is naturally fire-resistant and does not require added, toxic flame retardants or blowing agents that contribute to climate change. The insulation is also compostable and can return to nature after use.
  • 3rd place tie: ECOR® is a sustainable alternative to wood, composites, aluminum and plastic. ECOR® advanced environmental composites present an expanded family of innovative natural building materials that are strong, lightweight, flexible and environmentally friendly. ROMA's naturally derived Domus Mineral Paints are washable, non-toxic, free of asthmagens and hypoallergenic, absorb CO2 and prohibit bacteria that form mold.

"Make It Right is always looking for innovative products that can help us increase the sustainability and affordability of our homes," said Tom Darden, Make It Right's executive director. "We're excited that the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation prize winners are creating products that address some of today's most important challenges facing designers and builders."

Winners were honored at the Institute’s Innovation Celebration in New York City. The event recognized leaders in product design and innovation for their efforts to create better products for our world using the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM program principles. Leading global brands such as Puma, Shaw and Herman Miller were also honored for their leadership and achievement in innovation and design for the circular economy.

It’s been a big week for green building: In response to market demand and the release of LEED v4, LCA software pioneer Sustainable Minds launched SM Transparency ReportsTM, a new alternative to environmental product declarations (EPD) — with equivalent credibility and superior distillation of technical information for end users. And architecture firm KieranTimberlake released a new software application that allows designers to measure the environmental impact of building materials directly in a Revit model. The application, called Tally, puts LCA information in the hands of design teams, enabling life cycle-based product decisions at the same pace and within the same working environment as building designs are generated.

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