DTE Materials — Creating Green Home Insulation Materials

Vlad Killiakov
Poly Canyon Ventures
2 min readJul 21, 2019


I am happy to share that Poly Canyon Ventures has recently funded another promising clean-tech company — DTE Materials. DTE is the second company that we have invested in out of our Climate Changer’s Fund, a part of our initiative to support clean and sustainable innovation at Cal Poly. DTE Materials is a construction material manufacturer that is developing hempcrete walls and structurally insulated panels (SIPs) that boast superior fire-resistance, as well as thermal and acoustic insulation.

Hemp hurd (on the left) is mixed with proprietary binder and water to produce hempcrete SIPs (on the right)

The construction materials market is not usually thought of as innovative or as having a focus on sustainability, however, companies like DTE Materials are gradually changing that. The hempcrete material (which is a combination of hemp plant hurd and concrete) that the company is developing is not only carbon-negative, but also has properties that surpass those of other materials used for construction and insulation. For instance, fiberglass, one of the main insulation components that hempcrete aims to replace, is significantly less fire-resistant and also has much higher carbon emissions footprint. The fire-resistance aspect of hempcrete is especially important in light of wildfires that struck California in 2018, destroying several thousands of residences and causing over $9B in property damages.

The size of the drywall and insulation materials market that DTE Materials is addressing was estimated at $56B in 2018. Though this market, just like real estate, is highly cyclical in nature, its size is still significant throughout economic downturns. One of the reasons we believe that DTE is positioned to play an important role in this market in the future is California’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, which could be followed by other states in the coming years. Supporting the goal of reducing carbon emissions is one of PCV’s core priorities, so we are especially excited to work with DTE Materials and support them in their efforts to make the construction materials market more sustainable.