Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA)

Building Efficiency
Manufacturing Efficiency
Resource Efficiency
Transportation Fuels

Release Date:
Project Count:

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. Laurent Pilon;Dr. Marina Sofos
Press and General Inquiries Email:

Project Listing

• Aspen Products Group - High Performance, Carbon Negative, Building Insulation
• BamCore - Maximizing Carbon Negativity in Next Generation Bamboo Framing Materials
• Biomason - SOTERIA - Carbon Negative Bioconcrete Unit Production Concept
• Clemson University - An Entirely Wood Floor System Designed for Carbon Negativity, Future Adaptability, and End of Life De/Re/Construction
• National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) - Cutting the Carbon from Insulation Cellulose-Mycelium Composite Material
• National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) - High-Performing Carbon-Negative Concrete Using Low Value Byproducts from Biofuels Production
• Northeastern University - 4C2B: Century-scale Carbon-sequestration in Cross-laminated Timber Composite Bolted-steel Buildings
• Oregon State University (OSU) - Cellulose Cement Composite (C3) for Residential Construction
• Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) - The Circular Home: Development and Demonstration of a Net-Negative-Carbon, Reusable Residence
• Purdue University - Strong and CO2 Consuming Living Wood for Buildings
• SkyNano Technologies - CO2mposite: Recycling of CO2, Carbon Fiber Waste, and Biomaterials into Composite Panels for Lower Embodied Carbon Building Materials
• Texas A&M University - Hempcrete 3D Printed Buildings for Sustainability and Resilience
• University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder) - A Photosynthetic Route to Carbon-Negative Portland Limestone Cement
• University of Maryland (UMD) - Modular Design and Additive Manufacturing of Interlocking Superinsulation Panel from Bio-based Feedstock for Autonomous Construction
• University of Pennsylvania - High Performance Building Design with 3D-printed Carbon Absorbing Funicular Structures
• University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT) - Lignin-derived Carbon Storing Foams for High Performance Insulation
• University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) - Carbon-negative Ready-mix Concrete Building Components Through Direct Air Capture