2023-2024 Challenge 3rd Place – The University of Texas at Austin

Team Members:

Rohaan Saripella – Undergraduate in Architecture and Architectural Engineering

Mason Sirianni – Undergraduate in Environmental Engineering

School: The University of Texas at Austin

Challenge: You and Me, Carbon Free!

Problem Definition: The objective of this challenge is to develop an innovative solution that will reduce carbon emissions from U.S. buildings (residential or commercial, new or existing). Problem statements can address embodied carbon emissions and/or operational carbon emissions. Innovative solutions should lead to significant reductions in carbon emissions and increased affordability for identified stakeholder groups to obtain new technologies.

Project Title: Decarbonizing Interior Construction Using Mycelium Based Assemblies

Solution: Mycelium-based wall assemblies provide a greener alternative to typical interior partition wall assemblies for new commercial construction. Mycelium-based walls are made from the vegetative portions of fungi and propagate through a mixture of agricultural waste, recycled paper products, and fungal specimens. A transition to this biogenic wall involves the introduction of a new assembly that sequesters CO2 as opposed to carrying embodied carbon as part of its manufacturing process. The manufacturing of this new process involves a further transition from in-situ construction to pre-fabricated assembly which provides safer conditions for workers. The end result is a construction element that provides fewer biohazards, reduces carbon emissions, and reorients labor within the building industry.