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Waste Re-Use and Tech: Patent Awarded For Recycled Building Materials

Sep 15, 2015 05:26 PM EDT
BioSIPs Prototype Building
A prototype built out of BioSIPs materials. This new eco-friendly construction system can make use of noxious weeds, discarded wood products, and other waste.
(Photo : University of Colorado Denver)

A University of Colorado Denver professor and former graduate student were recently awarded a patent for their eco-friendly construction system. In their design, 100 percent recycled fibers are turned into strong and efficient building materials.

These fibers result from melding easiy obtained waste, including paper, noxious weeds found in any side lot, hemp from industrial sites, and discarded wood products. The project's creation is known as BioSIPs, which stands for Bio-Structural Insulated Panels. The BioSIP boards are also durable, lightweight and easy to assemble, according to a release.

"The BioSIPs invention actually consumes society's waste and diverts tons of trash into valuable products for safe, strong, and energy efficient buildings," Julee Herdt, professor of architecture, said in a statement. "There is great beauty and value in waste materials. It just takes the right processes and methods to find it, and with BioSIPs we've invented and now patented these techniques."

These new building materials can be used in place of petroleum-based products, which are known to harm humans and the environment, the release noted. The eco-friendly boards are a design Herdt developed. She is currently building a "very small home" using these materials.

Herdt founded BioSIPs Inc. with the help of former graduate student Kellen Schauermann. This is the first patent received by a member of CU Denver's College of Architecture and Planning. Since the boards are unable to curve or bend, Herdt and Schauermann, along with John Hunt of the USDA Forest Products Lab, have an additional patent pending for the creation of multi-shaped versions of BioSIPs boards. 

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN). 

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