Economic assessment of mycelia-based composite in the built environment


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Resource depletion and environmental pollution are becoming worse due to rapid global population growth. Numerous conventional products have been produced to satisfy consumer demand in the building industry. However, most of these products are environmentally unfriendly, costly, and not locally accessible. In order to make headway in solving these issues, it is necessary to implement cost-effective, environmentally friendly technologies and locally accessible resources in the built environment. Mycelium-based composites are the recently introduced technology that has drawn more attention in the built environment because of their contribution to the advancement of environmentally friendly and sustainable building materials. We assess the economic feasibility of mycelia as a competitive composite building material against traditional building materials such as concrete and lumber. The cost of building a 2000 sq ft house with each type of building material was estimated and used as the base cost of building for our analysis. The economic feasibility was analyzed based on the assumption that the difference in building cost between mycelium composite and any other material is invested at a given interest rate and the consumer price index is applied to the building cost in year t. We found that a mycelium composite house is relatively cheaper to build compared to concrete and lumber if the mycelium price is less than $0.83/ft³, however, it is less durable than concrete and lumber houses. The study concludes that if the current consumer price index (inflation rate) remains the same and the interest rate is 8.50% or greater, assuming the price of mycelia is $0.83/ft³, then mycelia building is economically feasible and competitive as a composite building material against concrete and lumber. That is, for any given year t, the interest rate on investment should at least be greater than the prevailing inflation rate by 2%.



Mycelia, Economic, Feasibility

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Master of Science


Department of Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Vincent Amanor-Boadu