This week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $45 million to support the development of technologies that can transform buildings into net carbon storage structures. With carbon-storing building materials often being scarce, expensive and geographically limited, DOE is pioneering technologies that overcome these barriers to lower or eliminate emissions associated with their production. This will also increase the total amount of carbon stored in buildings to make them net carbon negative and contribute to President Biden’s goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Building materials and construction techniques offer huge promise as carbon sinks,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “As it has done in so many other sectors of our economy, DOE’s ARPA-E is going to try to change the game yet again.”
The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the material manufacturing and construction, renovation and disposal of buildings at the end of their service life, accounts for about 10% of total annual emissions in the United States. These embodied emissions are concentrated at the start of a building’s lifetime, making them essential to address given the urgency of meeting national energy and environmental challenges. More importantly, these emissions are making up an increasing percentage of total building life cycle emissions as operational emissions decline due to factors like efficiency improvements and the decarbonization of the electric grid.
DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will provide up to $41 million in funding to Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA), for the development and demonstration of building materials and whole-building designs that are net carbon negative by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the production process and storing carbon in the finished product. DOE is also funding $4 million to develop the building life cycle analysis tools and frameworks associated with carbon drawdown and storage in building construction.
Successful HESTIA proposals will reduce the environmental footprint from the production, and use of, domestic resources, along with using building materials and designs that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store carbon in the finished product.
To find out additional information on the HESTIA funding opportunity, visit ARPA-E’s website.