Sunday, July 14, 2024

Grass to build energy-efficient building panels

With housing shortages in need of quick fixes, the manufacturing industry is facing a conundrum: how to source materials and build structures while cutting down on emissions. The answer lies with sustainable construction — not only could it help reduce our environmental impact, but it also keeps costs low during implementation.

Recently, a new startup named Plantd achieved a milestone of building ultra-strong building panels out of the fastest-growing perennial grass on Earth — the best sustainable alternative to construction.

Building materials stronger than wood

Plantd recently developed a sustainable solution to capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – long perennial grass. This rapid-growth plant can reach lengths of 20 – 30 feet in just one year, making it an ideal choice for building materials. 

This type of grass does not need replanting every season and can store large amounts more CO2 than trees. Due to this, Plantd believes that these plants could help in reducing the effects caused by global warming faster than traditional methods.

Engineers tear apart grass fibers and repurpose them to create a surprisingly reliable material that is even stronger than wood. 

Strength test
Screenshot from a video showing Plantd hemp OSB and wood OSB in a sledgehammer test.

With these materials, Plantd is building panels for roof decking, wall sheathing, and subflooring. They claim that their product outcompetes wood in every aspect: it’s lighter, cheaper, and captures more carbon. 

Plantd told Forbes that its cutting-edge panel technology is revolutionizing how homes are constructed – with groundbreaking cost savings and higher energy efficiency. Instead of using two-by-fours per wall, contractors can use one to build home frames that maintain their structural integrity better than conventional wood products on the market today.

This translates to lower heating bills for homeowners due to less air leakage from thermal wall gaps caused by traditional framing materials.

Josh Dorfman, CEO and co-founder of Plantd, stated: “Our panels provide clear advantages when it comes to costs as well as improved insulation.”

Processing of the grass to super-strong panels

Plantd is partnering with local farmers near Durham to grow several acres of perennial grass this year. Dorfman claims that it won’t be difficult to find farmers as many of them in North Carolina are looking to replace their tobacco crops with better-paying crops. To turn the grass into super-strong panels, they were developing their production in-house and stated that they would be electric, modular, and automated. 

Future plans

Plantd, a startup with bold plans for the future of building materials, recently received its Series A funding to establish an agricultural supply chain and manufacture durable pieces of equipment. 

This highly ambitious company has set out on its mission to revolutionize the construction industry by introducing panels that are more affordable, sustainable, and of higher quality than ever before. 

With a nearly $300 billion estimated annual engineered wood product market worldwide, Plantd is determined to make architecture cheaper without sacrificing performance standards or Earth’s environment. 

Together we can create abundance sustainably through smarter choices about how our homes are built now and into the future.


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