A two-year, $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy will support a team of researchers in designing and building carbon-negative homes to combat climate change in the growing energy sector. residential construction.
The project, a collaboration between Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Washington State University and Seattle-based company Green Canopy NODE, was one of 18 selected in the area of carbon storage structures. The goal of the DOE program is to support decarbonization through advanced construction processes.
“Society needs the built environment. It’s one of those things in the future that we can’t create less of, so we have to find a way to do it cleanly,” said Adam Phillips, assistant professor of civil engineering and co-principal investigator of the project.
The team will work to develop carbon-negative home designs using renewable resources that can be taken apart and reused for generations. The team’s research is based on the idea of circular design, a broad concept that, when applied to a house, accounts for its demolition before it is built.
“We think about the next house when we design the first house,” Phillips said.
Bio-based wood materials make up the components of the proposed houses, including the floor, wall and roof structures. At the end of their life, they are carefully dismantled and used in the next version of a new house. The carbon sequestered in a tree during its lifetime remains in the wood material throughout the production of the house components, thus maintaining a negative carbon status for each iteration of the house. Phillips estimates that the second iteration of the homes will avoid about 70% of the carbon emissions typically expected from a single-family residence.
The research team will develop and test seals that will allow reusable components to be structurally attached over the 50-year design life and detached without damaging the materials.
Research also has potential in the medium-density housing sector, which can provide more opportunities for living close to urban areas. The reusable single-family housing components are reconfigurable in a manner applicable to multi-family homes, increasing the availability of housing on a single lot of land.
“We’re reinventing how best to use land to meet the needs of a new generation, without having to generate new materials,” Phillips said.
As part of the grant, researchers will also study the economy, geographic placement, and energy consumption of homes.
In addition to Phillips, the team is led by lead researcher Chrissi Antonopoulos of PNNL and Darrin Griechen of Green Canopy NODE. It is funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere and includes WSU collaborators Karl Englund and Ji Yun Lee from Voiland College’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.