North Carolina company DR Horton has begun building the home using building materials from local technology studio Plantd, including panels made from compacted perennial grass.
DR Horton, which bills itself as the nation’s largest home builder, has started using panels made by Plantd. These are made by compacting large amounts of fast-growing grass and can replace traditional materials used in walls and ceilings.
The construction company has begun using the product on a series of homes in North Carolina, and Plant said the panels serve as an immediate replacement for standard oriented strand board (OSB) and plywood.
Plantd, whose co-founders include two former SpaceX engineers, said the shift away from relying on wood in home construction and the product’s potential for carbon capture could bring positive change to the construction industry. ing.
“The nation’s largest homebuilder is turning new homes into a front-line solution to climate change, building more than 1,000 new homes using building materials that can store vast amounts of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere inside homes. “We hope that people will work on building houses. If they focus on walls and roofs, other industries will too,” the team said.
“Our current estimates are that 70 percent of the carbon captured on the farm through photosynthesis is retained in the structural panels that exit our facility.”
Plantd grows and harvests its own grass products and builds its own production machinery, each capable of producing one panel per minute, the company says. The company is currently working on building a new all-electric facility with 50 production lines over the next few years.
To make one standard 4-by-8-foot (1.2-by-2.4-meter) panel, about 50 pounds (22.6 kilograms) of grass is forced into a machine and held together by pressure and heat.
Although difficult to estimate due to varying tree sizes and timber yields, the company’s panels replace 16 to 17 trees per house when using approximately 175 panels for walls and roofs. The company estimates that it can.
The company also has a laboratory that tests perennial grass biomass, and claims the panels it currently produces are “more durable and moisture resistant” than anything currently on the market.
It also said it is working with tobacco growers in the southern United States who are “interested in switching to climate-smart crops that are more environmentally and economically sustainable.”
The current DR Houghton project in North Carolina has produced single-family homes so far, but after a successful installation, the construction company plans to purchase 250,000 panels to install on more than 1,000 single-family homes. Plant said he promised.
Plantd said its integrated supply chain is an essential motivator for DR Horton.
“We spent a lot of time with Dr. Houghton, showing and explaining the new value chain we are establishing, which will in effect allow us to introduce carbon negative materials with superior performance. That’s the secret sauce,” Plant said.
“Builders are also keen that they don’t have to cut down trees to build their homes. Plus, they like that we control the entire value chain, so we can offer stable prices.”
Plantd’s panels arrive at a time when a wave of engineered wood products such as mass timber is sparking a debate to rethink how the built environment is built. Dezeen’s Timber Revolution series looked at how wood is used today and how it could be used in the future.
But some people are sounding the alarm about the expansion of suburban sprawl that comes with the construction of single-family homes. Former US President Barack Obama said this in a speech at the AIA conference in Chicago last year:[s]Loitering in America is bad for the climate. ”
Photo courtesy of Plant.