Federal environmental regulators keen on developing sustainable building options have awarded a grant worth nearly $100,000 to a Washington state company that makes bricks out of industrial hemp.
Earth Merchant, based in Vancouver, received one of 24 grants through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Business Innovation Research program for its hemp-based OlogyBricks.
The product is touted as a “durable, lightweight, carbon-negative construction blocks made from industrial hemp” that offer an alternative to conventional, concrete-based construction bricks.
Ology Bricks’ thermal resistance and mechanical properties can improve a home or building’s energy efficiency and indoor air quality, improving health outcomes for residents, according to the grant announcement.
Earth Merchant and other small businesses received Phase I awards of up to $100,000 for six months, for proof-of-concept of their proposed technology, the EPA stated.
Companies that successfully complete Phase I can submit proposals for Phase II awards of up to $400,000 to further develop and commercialize the technology.
“We have the opportunity to confront our greatest environmental challenges with the strength and creativity of American entrepreneurs,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.
“I congratulate all of the small businesses receiving EPA funding today. I look forward to working with them to harness the power of innovation to build a healthier, safer and more equitable future.”