During the cold winter month of January I huddled in front of the computer and filled out my first ever grant application, pitching an idea that has been near and dear to my heart for sometime – to research and develop a “natural” wall panel enclosure system for our home projects. Thinking it a long shot, I assumed that I would have to pursue this dream at some later date and by other means. Much to my surprise I received a phone call from Chuck Ross, the Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, in mid-April with some great news. He informed me that our application had been accepted and we would receive the full grant amount of $12,000.
Our grant is one of many that has been made possible by the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, an Act that was passed by the Vermont State Legislature to strengthen the working landscapes – agricultural and forestry – of Vermont. We will use the grant to develop a strategy for manufacturing “Natural” Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs); the SIPs will be manufactured with VT grown & sawn timber and we will explore the possibility of using VT produced agricultural fiber as insulation for the SIPs. – Sean Dalton