Researchers will use 3D printing in this project to create building designs that achieve structural and energy performance to comply with modern design codes. | Image: Courtesy of Petros Sideris

By Alyson Chapman

A plan from Texas A&M University researchers to 3D print new resilient buildings using hempcrete has the potential to lower the environmental impact of traditional construction methods and make housing more affordable and available.

The project will be funded by a $3.74 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA) program.

Dr. Petros Sideris, assistant professor in the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will lead the project as principal investigator to develop residential and potential commercial construction designs. His team consists of assistant professor Dr. Maria Koliou, department head and professor Dr. Zachary Grasley, and professor Dr. Anand Puppala from the department, and associate professor Dr. Manish Dixit and professor Dr. Wei Yan from the Texas A&M College of Architecture.

Hempcrete is made by mixing hemp powder, fibers or shives with lime and water, creating a lightweight, green building material.

“While production of conventional construction materials such as concrete requires large amounts of energy and releases large amounts of CO2 (carbon dioxide), hempcrete is a net carbon-negative material, which can provide major environmental benefits,” Sideris said.

Sustainability will be further promoted by designing hempcrete structures more resilient to natural hazards than commonly used lightweight wood frame construction.

“Resilience to natural hazards is intertwined with environmental sustainability because building damage and subsequent repairs due to extreme events such as hurricanes result in major environmental impacts,” Sideris said.

Dr. Petros Sideris will lead the research to develop residential and potential construction designs using hempcrete. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

READ MORE at Texas A & M

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Originally published June 21, 2022 on Hemp Building Mag