The House that Soy Built

As soy continues to innovate throughout different industries in the United States, we want to be proactive in showcasing the products that are beginning to be produced using soy in some way. While soy can easily be found on your table, it might not be as easy to recognize it in products outside of the kitchen. For this reason, we want to expand our conversations to include these new uses for soy and how South Dakota farmers have had a hand in the crop’s innovation.

Jerry Schmitz, Executive Director of the South Dakota Soybean Checkoff and South Dakota Soybean Association, is in the process of building a new home and decided to incorporate soy where he can in the building process. In this blog, Jerry explains why he decided to use soy-based products while building his home and the benefits that they have. 

What inspired you to build your new home with soy-based products?

There is a feeling of great satisfaction knowing that we are using safe and renewable building products made from crops grown right here in South Dakota. 

Can you go into detail about a couple of the soy-based products you will use?

We are using a closed cell insulation foam called Heatlok in the outside walls of our home and a product called Sustain Krete to seal our driveway concrete and extend its life. 

We are using a closed cell insulation foam called heatlok

What are the benefits of using soy-based products in place of commonly used building products?

The most significant benefit is that they are safe for humans and animals. They are also environmentally friendly and perpetually renewable. The effects of soy are very beneficial for the environment.

Are manufacturers beginning to produce more biobased home products? Or are they harder to come by?

Manufacturers are eager to use soy-based products instead of petroleum because of the health benefits and to reduce their carbon footprint.

manufacturers are eager to use soy based products instead of petroleum because of the health benefits and to reduce their carbon footprint

What type of research went into sourcing your soy-based home products?

The United Soybean Board has a product list of everything made from soy. They also provide contact information for companies that produce the products.  

What soy-based product are you most excited about including in your new home build?

The insulation is the most exciting. It is closed-cell, offering tremendous thermal resistance and repels moisture. There is less worry about breathing gasses emitted by some competing products, and it even repels radon.

It has an R-Factor of 7.5 per inch, which is fantastic. The product actually adds to the structural integrity of buildings.

How do soy-based products help the environment? How are these products furthering the sustainability of construction materials?

Many soy-based products replace petroleum or industrial chemicals products. Since soybeans are grown every year, they are perpetually renewable.

Many soy based products replace petroleum or industrial chemicals products

Are there certain soy-based products that South Dakota is pushing to use in any large-scale projects that you can speak to?

We are encouraging local and state governments to use soy-based asphalt and concrete preservatives. The Checkoff has partnered with the city of Sioux Falls on these projects. The Checkoff is also offering to partner with local schools that are considering the use of soy-based turf for sports fields. Badlands National Park will apply a soy-based asphalt preservative and use soy-based paint striping on a parking lot.

Is the home building process the same with soy-based products as more general building products?

Soy-based products have a look and feel of traditional products and are installed using the same methods. In many cases, soy-based products last longer and offer more benefits than competitive products.

What is one thing that you would tell consumers about soy-based products?

Soy-based products have human health and environmental benefits, support local farmers, businesses and communities, and are an investment for future generations.

To learn more about Jerry Schmitz read Farming Through the Generations with Jerry Schmitz or Reminiscing on Travel with Jerry Schmitz. And to learn more about soy based products read Soy Products that Benefit the Consumer or Soybeans Taking Over Unexpected Landscapes by Hungry for Truth.