Rensselaer Team Wins $1.5 Million DOE Grant for Hemp-Based System

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has secured a $1.5 million DOE grant for a three-year project to create a hemp-based insulation system, aiming to boost residential energy efficiency and support sustainable economies in the U.S.

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Rensselaer Team Wins $1.5 Million DOE Grant for Hemp-Based System

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have been awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to develop an innovative hemp-based insulated siding system. The project aims to address the critical need for sustainable, energy-efficient retrofitting solutions in the residential building sector, as identified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The funding comes as part of the Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers and Innovation Technologies program offered by the DOE, which seeks to accelerate research and development of clean energy technologies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the country.
This novel Hemp Retrofit Structural Insulated Panel (HeRS) promises to not only enhance energy efficiency in homes but also contribute to the growth of regional circular economies based on renewable materials throughout the United States.

Pioneering Hemp-Based Solutions for Insulating Existing Buildings

Estimates suggest that residential structures constitute about 60% of the overall constructed area, predominantly comprising single-family dwellings. The U.S. Green Building Council underscores the urgent requirement for economical and effective retrofit solutions to enhance energy efficiency and reduce the effects of climate change in these buildings. In response, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s team is exploring the use of hemp, renowned for its sustainable properties and adaptability, to develop specialized structural insulated panels tailored for retrofitting purposes.

HeRS: Lower Costs, Easier Installation, and Reduced Carbon Footprint

The HeRS system is designed to provide homeowners with substantial savings on heating and cooling costs, thanks to its high-performance insulation properties. Moreover, it is intended to be easy for professionals to install, reducing retrofitting times and minimizing disruption to occupants.

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By making use of a renewable resource like hemp, the developers also aim to significantly lessen the carbon footprint associated with building materials, supporting America’s transition toward a more sustainable, environmentally friendly construction industry.

Design and Manufacturing Plans, Supply Chain Viability Study

As part of this ambitious project, Rensselaer researchers will develop detailed design and manufacturing processes for producing HeRS panels using domestically sourced hemp fibers. Emphasizing circularity across supply chains, the team will explore opportunities for integrating local, sustainably grown materials into production.

To maximize efficiency and offer practical blueprints for scalable implementation, they will also carry out a feasibility study focused on crucial supply chain aspects. This includes investigating various ways in which quantities of hemp fiber produced within the United States can be effectively integrated into the HeRS panel production process.

Paving the Way for Energy-Efficient Home Retrofitting and Green Job Opportunities

This groundbreaking research has far-reaching implications for the future of both residential energy efficiency and job creation within the green economy. The DOE’s financial support underlines the government’s commitment to fostering eco-friendly innovations and accelerating the country’s shift toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.

With this innovative hemp-based solution, the members of the project are poised to make significant strides in advancing sustainable retrofit practices while creating valuable economic opportunities for Americans through the growth of regional circular economies centered around renewable resources.

Rita Ferreira

Rita Ferreira

Rita is a seasoned writer with over five years of experience, having worked with globally renowned platforms, including Forbes and Miister CBD. Her deep knowledge of hemp-related businesses and passion for delivering accurate and concise information distinguish her in the industry. Rita's contributions empower individuals and companies to navigate the complexities of the cannabis world, and her work remains a valuable resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of its potential.

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