CASE Faculty Member Featured as Hemp Expert

Alexandros Tsamis profiled in Hemp Build Magazine annual expert guide

February 13, 2024

Hemp Building Directory

Hemp Build Magazine has selected Alexandros Tsamis, the associate director of the Center for Architecture, Science, and Ecology (CASE) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, to be profiled in its Hemp Building Directory 2024.

Tsamis, also the director of the Built Ecologies programs and an assistant professor in the School of Architecture, has a long-established line of research using hemp, hemp composites, and other sustainable materials to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment. His work exploring the use of hemp in the construction of rebar with colleague Dan Walczyk, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Manufacturing Innovation Center (MIC), at Rensselaer was featured in Fast Company and Dezeen.

Tsamis has also taken a leadership role in the efforts to inform and educate state and federal lawmakers about the economic and environmental benefits of hemp. Tsamis and Walczyk launched the Seed to City Initiative, a Rensselaer push to create a statewide economy that will support the production of renewable materials and the manufacturing of building products by tapping into the deep expertise of design, engineering, and business across the RPI campus.

In 2022, the RPI Seed to City Initiative hosted New York state government officials and industry professionals in a workshop that explored ways to overcome some of the technical hurdles faced in working with hemp, including the lack of effective processing methods, equipment that does not damage the fiber, and a dearth of high-value end products for the construction industry.

In 2021, Tsamis was part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Rensselaer to welcome bipartisan lawmakers from the U.S. Congress for a discussion on the future of energy. Tsamis briefed Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and David B. McKinley (R-WV) on several ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment, including the use of hemp composites as universal materials for construction.

Tsamis and Walczyk are also members of the New York State Department of Agriculture Hemp Fiber and Grain workgroup established in 2022 to coordinate ongoing research into the uses of hemp and the need for hemp fiber and grain processing facilities in the state.

The Hemp Building Directory: Guide to the International Hemp Building Industry is a comprehensive listing of the global hemp building industry with sections for architects, educators, and engineers in addition to construction experts. The expert guide has been in publication since 2021.

Written By Jeanne Gallagher
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