Replacing drywall with EcoRock

May 9, 2008 7:43:49 PM PDT
It's easy to visualize the carbon footprint of your car spewing out pollution, but it's your home that is probably a much bigger offender. To fix that, a Silicon Valley company is on the cutting edge of green building.

Serious Materials in Sunnyvale is a high tech kitchen. The chef's are really scientists, dedicated to creating new recipes for green building products. The innovative menu includes a revolutionary drywall material and an ultra energy efficient window. The company mission is aimed at reducing global warming.

"Fifty-two percent of C02 worldwide is tied to the built environment. 12 percent to make our buildings annually and 40 percent to actually operate our buildings. Only nine percent is cars" says Kevin Surace, the Serious Materials CEO.

The process for making traditional drywall was developed in 1917 and is extremely energy intensive. It's estimated the cooking of drywall material accounts for one percent of all industrial energy use in the United States.

Serious Materials is developing a drywall replacement called EcoRock. The secret ingredients literally cook themselves in four minutes. The company recently raised $50 million in venture capital and will start pilot production later this year.

Paul Holland of Foundation Capital is a key investor. His firm has dedicated $400 million to clean tech.

"If you go back over time and look at some of the great early stage venture markets, semiconductors in the late 70's early 80's, the internet and software in the mid 90's, this is that type of marketplace opening up in front of us today" says Holland.

Just like semiconductors and the internet, no one believes green building is a fad. Serious Materials recently got national attention in Fortune and Time Magazines. Contractors say customers are demanding the latest the industry can offer, even if costs are initially higher.

"That's the future, you either have to get on that program or you're not going to be able to survive long term," says Steve Murphy from Bloch Construction.

"The pore size is much smaller on these," said Surace to a coworker.

The CEO of Serious Materials hopes his EcoRock and thermoproof high insulating windows will not only be a part of the green building movement, but part of the solution to global warming.

"If climate change is our emergency and buildings are our major problems, someone has to address this," says Surace.


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