Builders who use natural materials in the United States have seen interest grow in "hempcrete," a renewable building material made with hemp that can take the place of traditional drywall, insulation and siding.
Since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp, the construction material -- used for 30 years in Europe -- has captured the imagination of American builders and homeowners.
"This year is the biggest year in hemp construction and it's really just beginning," said Tommy Gibbons of Ketchum, Idaho-based Hempitecture Inc.
Chipped hemp bark, lime binder and water are mixed together to make hempcrete. The material dries to a strong, stonelike substance that's fireproof, mold-proof and insect-proof.
Walls can be constructed by crews without power tools who mix the ingredients together in buckets and pour them into wooden forms.
In Bellingham, Wash., homeowner Pamela Bosch wo [...]
Growing industrial hemp was illegal in the United States after 1970 because the industrial plant and marijuana were considered to be the same, when in fact they are different varieties of Cannabis.
In recent years, some states have changed their laws, allowing farmers to start growing industrial hemp, which is used in everything from clothing to nutritional products to building materials.
Oregon grower Cliff Thomason says growing and processing hemp was stymied because it was illegal, but now a knowledge base for best uses can grow, along with the plants.
View a hemp home constructed using hempcrete, a building material that advocates claim is mold resistant, breathable, and eco-friendly. ➡ Subscribe: http://bit.ly/NatGeoSubscribe [...]
The owners of a HempCrete house in Witchcliffe, in the Margaret River region in WA, had never heard of the building material until their daughter went to a talk about it. Now they said they would always build another hemp house with Hemp Homes Australia.
"We love our house - Sativa Sanctuary. It was grown in 14 weeks, and if ever we want to demolish it (never) we can push it straight into the ground. Hempcrete is good for the body and good for the planet," said owner Andrea Beck.
"We wanted to build as environmentally friendly as possible and the material ticked all the boxes. The material is termite resistant, breathable, has thermal mass properties, very good acoustic values and is fire retardant," she said.
Built by Hemp Homes Australia using HempCrete, the interior walls have been left natural inside and exterior is lime rendered using a natural turmeric oxide. This means no paint or chemicals.
"The walls are all handmade and hence have individual striations, which are very interes [...]
armers should grow hemp to make "hempcrete" and provide wool to insulate buildings with in order to cut carbon emissions, the National Farmers' Union (NFU) has said in a new report.
The NFU aims for the whole farming sector to be carbon-neutral 2040, a decade ahead of the UK economy as a whole, and has researched ways this could be achieved.
Agricultural emissions have fallen by 16 per cent overall since 1990, but there has been only "modest progress" since 2011, the report says.
One such method is making structures out of natural materials, one of them being hemp, as growing the plant captures carbon from the atmosphere.
Hempcrete is a material similar to concrete, made of hemp hurds - which is wooden refuse removed during processing the plant - and lime. It is used for construction and insulation. This could be grown on farms and sold to the construction industry, according to the NFU.
Other ideas include making farms "plant-powered" by using biofuel methods to produce methane which [...]
One of the common beliefs about bio-construction is that it is only for rich people. According to Mike Lawrence, Professor at the BRE CICM (Centre for Innovative Construction Materials), University of Bath, UK, this is a myth: "If you compare like with like, so if you compare a building made out of conventional materials with the same thermal performance as a building made out of biobased materials such as hemp, the latter is cheaper. Under the EU project called Isobio, we did studies in the UK and in Spain. If you compare the British construction systems, the wall of a hemp building is about 30% cheaper per square metre than the one made out of traditional construction materials. In Spain it is even better, the wall is more expensive there, so a hemp system will be about 55% cheaper than a typical Spanish wall with the same thermal performance."
The project breakthrough is to replace hempcrete, the mix of hemp and lime normally used to build the bio-houses. The researchers have develo [...]
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Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution
PHOENIX — When you're as invested in the hemp business as Christopher Martin is, you've heard all of the jokes and all of the objections.
"I use it to my advantage," said Martin. "I tell everybody hemp is the gateway conversation."
Martin believes it's the gateway to greener building.
"I'd love to walk into Home Depot and see hemp board instead of drywall," said Martin.
But building homes out of hemp? Yes, it's happening.
A Florida man built what he believes is the first hempcrete home in the state in 2014. Hempcrete consists of the center of the stalk, water, and lime mixed together. Over time the hemp will petrify and the lime will turn back into stone.
"Our mentors are building hundreds of them in Europe and have for 20 years," said John Patterson, owner of the company Tiny Hemp Houses, based in Colorado.
On Saturday, Patterson will teach a class on how to make hempcrete at Hempful Farms, the cafe and shop Martin owns in north Phoenix.
According to the American Hemp Association, o [...]
Hemp bricks are much easier on the environment than standard masonry blocks.
By Jeremy Hodges and Kevin Orland / Bloomberg
The hemp fields sprouting in a part of Canada best known for its giant oil patch show how climate change is disrupting the construction industry.
Six years after setting up shop in the shadow of Calgary’s tar sands, Mac Radford, 64, says he can’t satisfy all the orders from builders for Earth-friendly materials that help them limit their carbon footprints. His company, JustBioFiber Structural Solutions, is on the vanguard of businesses using hemp — the cousin of marijuana devoid of psychoactive content — to mitigate the greenhouse gases behind global warming.
Around the world, builders are putting modern twists into ancient construction methods that employ the hearty hemp weed. Roman engineers used the plant’s sinewy fibers in the mortar they mixed to hold up bridges. More recently, former White House adviser Steve Bannon weighed in on using so-called hem [...]