One way to up materials’ energy-saving potential is to make them biologically driven.
Reducing the embodied energy of building materials is a sustainability approach that has received serious attention recently, resulting in a few extreme examples of materials that are “grown” rather than manufactured—thus virtually eliminating the energy that would typically be used in the process. Although material production is a critical point of potential energy savings, long-term maintenance can account for even greater energy consumption over a material’s life cycle. So why not grow materials with a view to that as well, making them self-reparable-and thus longer lasting? [...]