Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere

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Release Date:
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Program Description:

The HESTIA program aims to support the development of technologies that cancel out embodied emissions while transforming buildings into net carbon storage structures. HESTIA projects will develop and demonstrate building materials and whole-building designs from a wide range of potential feedstocks (e.g., forestry and purpose-grown products, agricultural residues, direct carbon utilization) that are net carbon negative on a life-cycle basis by using atmospheric CO2 in the production process.

HESTIA metrics include:

  • - Storage of more carbon in the chemical structure of the finished product than emitted during manufacture and/or use
  • - Relevant performance testing (e.g., flammability, strength) per building code and incumbent specifications
  • - Market advantage (e.g., improved material performance in at least one area, lower cost, or easier installation) over the best-in-class incumbent building element
  • - Sufficient retention of carbon storage over service lifetime and minimized end-of-life emissions where possible by designing for reuse, repurposing, and/or recycling

ARPA-E seeks submissions spanning a range of possible feedstocks, materials, building elements, and building types.

Innovation Need:

HESTIA addresses the need for negative emission technologies to implement carbon removal strategies. The program changes the paradigm for building construction by using carbon negativity as a key design parameter. HESTIA is also important to reducing embodied emissions. The majority of these are concentrated at the start of a building’s lifetime and locked in before the building is ever used. Embodied emissions increase to a greater percentage of total building emissions due to operational efficiency improvements from more stringent building energy codes and a decarbonized electric grid as well as the higher emissions of materials added to achieve increased operational efficiency. This upfront emissions spike equals 10 years of operational emissions in a building constructed to meet standard code, but increases to 35 years for more advanced, higher operating efficiency buildings, and more than 50 years for high-efficiency buildings operating with lower carbon intensity energy (Rock, M. et. al., “Embodied GHG emissions of buildings,” Applied Energy 258, 114107 (2020)). These time horizons exceed the window between now and fulfilling 2050 climate targets, which means embodied emission reduction strategies are a high priority.

Potential Impact:

HESTIA projects will facilitate the use of carbon negative materials in building construction by optimizing materials chemistries and matrices, manufacturing, and building designs in a cost-effective manner.


HESTIA technologies will reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment.


Building materials developed under HESTIA will draw down and store CO2 from the atmosphere.


A variety of promising carbon storing materials are being explored and commercialized for building construction. Currently these materials are generally scarcer, cost more per unit, and/or face performance challenges (e.g., flame resistance for biogenic carbon-containing materials). HESTIA seeks technologies that overcome these barriers while nullifying associated emissions and increasing the total amount of carbon stored in the selected material.


Program Director:
Dr. Marina Sofos
Press and General Inquiries Email:

Project Listing