One of our favorite green materials is Eco-Rock.
Kevin Surace, the president and chief executive of Serious Materials of Sunnyvale, Calif., says the product his company is focusing on — drywall — has essentially been produced the same way since its invention in 1917: gypsum is mined, then subjected to intense heat. A typical gypsum drywall plant consumes one trillion to two trillion B.T.U.’s of natural gas a year, according to Mr. Surace.
Later this year, his company — backed by $65 million in venture capital funding — plans to offer a zero-carbon drywall called EcoRock. It looks and performs like traditional drywall and will be priced comparably, but it uses no heat in its creation. Instead, the mix of ingredients, which Mr. Surace would not disclose but said were mainly materials diverted from landfills, are heated through a chemical reaction. “This is brand-new materials science,” he said.
He said that using EcoRock instead of gypsum drywall could reduce carbon dioxide emissions in nationwide by 25 billion pounds a year.
Beyond concrete and drywall, there is an explosion of promising new materials, from energy-harvesting glass to panels made from sorghum stalks and paint that cleans the air.