University of Colorado Denver professor of architecture Julee Herdt and former graduate student Kellen Schauermann have been awarded a patent for a new construction system known as BioSIPS (Bio-Structural Insulated Panels). The system turns waste materials like paper, noxious weeds, industrial hemp and discarded forest products into high quality building product.
The name “BioSIPs” combines the word “Bio” meaning living and “SIPs,” an industry acronym for “Structural Insulated Panels.” BioSIPs boards are strong, lightweight, and easy to assemble. They can be used in to build walls, roofs and floors in a variety of construction projects.
“The BioSIPs invention actually consumes society’s waste and diverts tons of trash into valuable products for safe, strong, and energy efficient buildings,” Herdt tells Physics.org. “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.”
In 2007, Herdt invited CU Denver graduate student Schauermann to work with her in advancing BioSIPs technology. The two founded BioSIPs, Inc. as a CU spin-off company in 2008 while continuing research and development of bio based materials and products. They brought in other CU Denver architecture students for construction of a BioSIPs building made entirely from the SIP panels that showcase a range of bio-based furniture, sliding walls, ceiling panels, and signage.
Herdt and Schauermann have an additional patent pending. In collaboration with John Hunt of the USDA Forest Products Lab, they have invented software applications that allow the creation of multi-shaped versions of BioSIPs panels and fiberboards that can curve, bend and take shapes not possible with other SIPs. The patent also includes methods for enhancing all grades of waste fibers in their bio-based boards while simultaneously generating information about strengths and economics for manufacturing their products.
Herdt continues to work with the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office on bio-based building product intellectual property while working to make BioSIPs to commercially viable.
Photo credits: University of Colorado – Denver