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College of Architecture and Planning

​Julee Herdtprofessor of architecture and architect, AIA, has been awarded a second United States Patent, along with co-inventor and research partner John Hunt, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Products Laboratory, and alumnus Kellen Schauermann (MArch 2009), architect and project manager at Boulder Associates Architects.  This latest patent is for software and computational methods used in the design of biobased, environmental building materials and inventions from waste fibers. An initial patent, issued in 2015, was for “BioSIPs”, a new, eco-friendly construction system in which 100% waste fibers are recycled into high-strength, easy to assemble building panels and flat, multi-use bioboards.  Fiber wastes used in these patented technologies include: post-consumer wastepaper, recycled cardboard, industry scraps, agricultural residues, bovine waste, forest and construction leftovers, hemp, noxious weeds, flowers, and aromatic plants.  

Herdt and team’s latest patent includes computational software for modeling, analyzing, and predicting the mechanical and structural performance of bioboards when cut, hinged and shaped into 3D BioSIPs building material configurations with load-bearing requirements. The software predicts constitutive properties of various waste fiber mixes used as inputs for bioboard and BioSIPs product designs so that virtually a limitless and plentiful range of fiber wastes can be used in the technology. The computational methods allow simultaneous study of material science while analyzing a range of recycling, manufacturing, and economic scenarios such as product fabrication times and associated costs, volumes of recycled waste fibers used in BioSIPs product designs, shipping variables, and other factors.  

Julee Herdt, as inventor, holds the first-ever patent by a faculty member and researcher in the College of Architecture and Planning.  Her patent success rate is 100%.  Her patents are the third and seventh for the University of Colorado Denver and include:

US 9,740,799 B2; “Cut, Shape, Fold Technology for Engineered Fiberboard”

US 9,010,054 B22016; “BioSIPs, Structural Insulated Panels”  

The BioSIPs system uses a technique for engineering 100% recycled fibers into high strength boards for lightweight, easy to assemble building panels that can be used in all types of construction, including homes and interior spaces.  Waste materials for making BioSIPs include post-consumer paper, agricultural waste from farms and fields, forest wood considered fire hazards, noxious weeds, industrial hemp, and many others. 

“BioSIPs” combines the word “Bio” meaning living and “SIPs,” which is the industry acronym for “Structural Insulated Panels.”  As a newly invented sustainable material, BioSIPs can help replace petroleum-based building products known to harm humans and the environment. The invention is based on Julee Herdt’s research and teaching program at CU and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Products Laboratory.

“The BioSIPs invention actually consumes society’s waste and diverts tons of trash into valuable products for safe, strong, and energy efficient buildings,” Herdt says.  “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.”

Herdt and CU students applied first generation BioSIPs as the main structural system for the College of Architecture and Planning’s first place internationally award-winning 2005 Solar Decathlon.  In this biannual global competition, collegiate teams are challenged to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.  CU’s BioSIPs home took top honors over the competing collegiate teams’ homes that were built using traditional systems.  The Solar D win helped first show the world the value of the BioSIPs system while validating and supporting Herdt’s work at CU. 

Read more​ about Julee Herdt's work.

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