An Entirely Wood Floor System Designed for Carbon Negativity, Future Adaptability, and End of Life De/Re/Construction

Default ARPA-E Project Image

Clemson, South Carolina
Project Term:
09/13/2022 - 09/12/2025

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:

Clemson University will develop a mass timber floor system alternative for greenhouse gas-intensive floor and ceiling materials, which account for up to 75% of embodied energy in traditional building designs. Mass timber products are comprised of thick, compressed layers of wood and used to create strong, structural load-bearing elements. The proposed system will address the entire building life cycle, from design and construction, through occupancy and operation, and contribute toward closing the gap between observed and theoretical service lifetimes. Carbon stored in the timber floor (and taken out of the atmosphere) will offset carbon emitted during production and construction of other building materials. By designing for de/re/construction, the proposed system will allow building components to have a second life instead of demolition and disposal.

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:
Dr. Brandon Ross
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

Related Projects

Release Date: