High Performance, Carbon Negative, Building Insulation

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Marlborough, Massachusetts
Project Term:
10/01/2022 - 09/30/2024

Critical Need:

HESTIA addresses the need for implementing carbon removal strategies by converting buildings into carbon storage structures. HESTIA is also important for nullifying embodied emissions. The majority of these emissions are concentrated at the start of a building’s lifetime and locked in before the building is ever used. 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 on a lower carbon intensity grid. These time horizons go beyond 2050 climate targets, which means embodied emission reduction strategies are a high priority.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Aspen Products Group (Aspen) will develop a microfibrillated cellulose-based thermal insulation with high thermal resistance, low flammability, and low moisture absorption. The use of microfibrillated cellulose enables a substantial amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to be incorporated into the insulation microstructure. Aspen will fabricate insulation samples, demonstrate insulation performance per relevant American Society for Testing and Materials standards, and perform product life cycle and technoeconomic analyses to demonstrate an insulation product that meets construction technical performance requirements, is cost effective to manufacture, and is carbon negative. Using the high-performance insulation in retrofit and new residential building construction will immediately sequester atmospheric CO2 and reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions due to reduced transfer of heat through the building envelope during its lifetime.

Potential Impact:

HESTIA projects will facilitate the use of carbon storing materials in building construction to achieve net carbon negativity by optimizing material chemistries and matrices, manufacturing, and whole-building designs in a cost-effective manner.


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


Building materials and designs 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 finished product.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Marina Sofos
Project Contact:
Mark Fokema
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

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