Newswise – Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) will use hemp to develop a commercially viable, long-lasting, low-carbon insulated facade product to address what the U.S. Green Building Council says is “a critical need for building renovations to improve energy efficiency.” increase and reduce CO2 emissions.”

The three-year, $1.5 million prize is awarded as part of the Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers and Innovation Technologies initiative (TO USE) A funding opportunity from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will support RPI faculty and industry partners in the development of Hemp Retrofit Structural Insulated Panel (HeRS), a hemp-based insulated siding system designed to reduce heating and cooling costs for homeowners. Installation is for professionals simple and reduces the carbon footprint of the built environment.

“Hemp can revolutionize manufacturing in the United States,” he said Alexandros Tsamisthe deputy director of the Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology (CASE) at RPI and the lead primary investigator (PI) of this project. “By using this versatile and renewable crop in building materials, we can create a building renovation product that is not only beneficial to homeowners and the environment, but also has the potential to stimulate regional circular economies based on renewable materials in the United States.”

Residential buildings make up 60% of the total built-up area, over two thirds of which are single-family homes. To address the need to find a sustainable, cost-effective and long-lasting facade solution to insulate existing buildings, researchers will develop a hemp-based structural insulated panel (SIP) for retrofit applications. HeRS will use a dense mat made from hemp wool fibers bonded to a recycled binder and have a similar form factor and attachment method to existing cladding materials to encourage adoption by builders. It has a minimum thermal rating of R-5 to reduce heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) energy consumption by 15-25%.

part of seeds to the city Hemp initiative at RPI, the hemp cladding comes from previous research by Tsamis and Daniel WalczykProfessor of mechanical engineering, on the use of natural fibers as a resource for sustainable construction, for example hemp in reinforcing bars.

In addition to creating the design and manufacturing plans for HeRS, Hakan Hekimoglu, Ed PalermoWalczyk and Arta Yazdansetaall Rensselaer faculty members and co-PIs on the project, will also analyze the embodied carbon footprint of hemp cladding and conduct a supply chain feasibility study that will demonstrate how quantities of hemp fiber produced in the United States can be effectively integrated into HeRS’ production line.

HeRS will also leverage the expertise of industry leaders Durasip, HempitectureAnd Introba Drive innovation and advance the cost-effective deployment of this clean energy technology.

DOE’s BENEFIT funding opportunity supports the whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis by helping buildings improve their energy efficiency and demand flexibility in a cost-effective and equitable manner. The winning projects were selected through a competitive selection process in which applications were assessed strictly on their technical merit.

The prize is awarded by the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energywhose mission is to accelerate the research, development, demonstration and deployment of technologies and solutions to move America toward a just transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the economy by no later than 2050 and to ensure that the clean energy economy benefits everyone Benefiting Americans, creating good-paying jobs for the American people – especially for workers and communities affected by the energy transition and for those historically underserved by the energy system and overburdened by pollution.

Media contact:

Jeanne Gallagher, Communications Director
[email protected] 323-314-4057

About CASE: The Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology at Rensselaer advances innovation in the built environment through a unique collaboration of faculty, research teams, students and professional firms. CASE takes an integrated approach, inspired by science, engineering and technology startups, to advance building capabilities in architecture, construction, technology and product supply chains with the aim of creating sustainable, resilient and healthy environments of the future. By partnering with the City of New York and leading the state at the forefront of domestic climate policy, CASE is well positioned to establish RPI as a leader in built environment research, education and industry development.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technical research university. Rensselaer includes five schools, more than 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs, including 25 new programs, and a vibrant community of more than 6,800 students and 110,000 living alumni. Rensselaer’s faculty and alumni include more than 155 members of the National Academy, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, six National Medal of Science winners and one Nobel Prize winner in physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with ingenuity and collaboration. To find out more please visit

DOE Acknowledgment and Disclaimer: This material is based on work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under Building Technologies Office (BTO) Award Number DE-EE0010920. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Energy or the United States Government.

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