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Grantee Research Project Results

Rice Hulls as Alternative Building (RHAB) Project

EPA Grant Number: SU835095
Title: Rice Hulls as Alternative Building (RHAB) Project
Investigators: Williams, Michael , Anguiano, Maria Elena , Feher, Stephen I.
Current Investigators: Williams, Michael , Anguiano, Maria Elena , Feher, Stephen I. , Flores, Jesus , Nava, Robert , Rhodes, Bryce , Vazquez, Luis
Institution: Butte College , Sustainable Community Development Institute
EPA Project Officer: Lank, Gregory
Project Period: August 15, 2011 through August 14, 2012
Project Amount: $14,475
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2011)
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemistry



The primary objective of the proposed project is to develop structural insulated panels (SIPs) for use in building construction utilizing rice hulls as their primary raw material. Rice hulls are an abundant agricultural waste material.


The design approach will address the challenge by establishing a local manufacturing model for use of rice hull waste, reduce use of conventional construction materials, reduce costs and energy consumption in SIP construction, reduce the carbon footprint of SIP building practices, and increase fire resistance of buildings. The project will be rooted in the scientific method for all design review, testing, and result dissemination by student participants.

Expected Results:

Level of success will be demonstrated by the ability to formula useful components that meet minimum strength and functional handling criteria. The RHAB project could have a huge direct positive impact on the environment, global warming and public health worldwide through the reduction of burning and decomposition of rice hulls, one of the most abundant agricultural waste materials on the Planet. Secondary positive environmental impacts of the wide application of the proposed RHAB building system would result from the reduction of energy used by buildings due to its superior thermal insulating performance, since one third of all energy consumption worldwide is used for heating and cooling of buildings.

Supplemental Keywords:

agricultural wastes, reuse, green building designs

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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