First Flight client BioMason once again snagged top honors at  the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge in NYC last week for manufacturing its brick products, which have a lower emissions profile because they are grown instead of fired.

BioMason uses bacterial byproducts to cement sand particles together to form a durable matrix, a method that uses less energy and has a smaller carbon footprint than convention bricks. Traditional bricks are made using clay from the ground and then firing them at high temperatures for hardening.

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute partnered with Make It Right in 2012 to launch the competition. Winners of the competition met the basic criteria of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard.

The Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge was sponsored by the Schmidt Family Foundation and the Dutch Postcode Lottery and gave awards to companies that designed building products that have the potential to revolutionize the affordable housing industry, redefine product beauty and still incorporate the highest environmental and safety standards. Winners share a cash prize of $250,000.

In July, the US Green Building Council adopted LEED v4, an update to the green building rating system that integrates the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products program. LEED v4 took effect in November.

The Cradle to Cradle program is a circular economy system in which manufacturers and designers create products with technical materials that can be used in continuous cycles or biological ones that can be disposed of in any natural environment and decompose into the soil.