Did you know that hemp is one of the worlds building materials? This herb grown from the same plant as marijuana can be mixed with a lime-based binder to create what people call hempcrete. This material is used for insulation and building! This last weekend Hempitecture held a hempcrete building workshop in Idaho. Hemp’s first ever American building demonstration invited builders of all types this weekend to attend this historical event. With proper training you could be part of the age old ways of hemp architecture.
What is Hemp and Hempcrete?
Hemp is defined as the parts of the cannabis plant that contain trace amounts of the psychoactive drug known as THC (Delta – 9 – Tetrahydrocannabinol), less than 0.3%. This is basically saying that they extract these pieces of the plant separately from the portion of the plant that contains the marijuana. Now, hempcrete is created by first obtaining this non-drug portion of the plant. Once you have your hemp, you add to it a lime based-binder. This therein creates a cementitious material ideal for any climate. Hempcrete is particularly great for insulation. This method of building has been used centuries ago but has been displaced for a long time. With the legalization of hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill, Americans now have the chance to participate in this type of building.
At the Idaho Basecamp, between July 5th and July 7th, engineers, builders, architects and the building curious attended the first ever American hemp building presentation. These attendees were given a variety of hands on situations allowing for uses of different types of hemp architecture. Cast in place techniques were taught as the most common form of hemp building. This is where the structures are cast and formed on site for easy transportation of quicker settling of materials. They were also taught how to use hemp spraying techniques. Finally, all the proper ways of lime plastering to hempcrete foundations were presented. This group has some serious values when it comes to hemp crafting.
“We believe buildings should be beautiful and help the inhabitants live happier lives. We think this can be accomplished with materials that repair rather than harm our planet. We do not compromise the quality of the materials we use or the finished product we produce and take pride in making sure every Hempitecture project is a successful and shining example of hempcrete construction.”
“Hempitecture is a public-benefit corporation with a stated purpose to create healthy, energy efficient habitats that positively impact inhabitants as well as environment through the sequestration of Caron Dioxide.”
Hempitecture has a lot of pride in their work and I’d look to them for the future of building.
Benefits of Hempcrete
Hempcrete has a wide variety of benefits when it comes to building. Firstly, it provides a money saving potential. Hemp is a cheaper alternative to many other types of building materials as well as giving the potential of a lower cost of monthly maintenance and energy efficiency. Secondly, believe it or not, hemp has the maximum fire rating for building materials. This may sound astonishing for some, but it is indeed true. Lastly, hempcrete has extreme thermal efficiency. This means that the insulation provided by these hemp materials can regulate the temperature of a home.
Interesting and innovative ideas coming from hemp. I’m very curious in how the work of hempcrete will impact the structural foundations within the United States. There are still so many different ideas within the world of hemp that have yet to be discovered. Hopefully groundbreaking strides will continue to come surrounding this ever impacting newly legalized plant within the United States.