Hemp, or Cannabis, can be thought of as an ideal building material because it’s environmentally friendly, easy to work with, and also durable. Hemp can be manufactured and used in a variety of ways to replace wood, plastic,and even concrete. Hemp can be used to make several building materials that include plastic boards, roofing tiles, fiber boards, wall boards, paneling, stucco, insulation, bricks, and concrete. Building houses with hemp materials can be especially helpful in addressing global environmental issues related to wood, concrete and steel that utilize more energy in the manufacturing processes. Hemp building materials could be the answer to green building construction of the next generation.
Why hemp is gaining popularity?
Due to the growing concerns about the environment, green building and construction practices are gaining popularity. Hemp is a natural building material, and requires minimal refining and processing. Due to the eco-friendly nature of hemp, it is also strongly recommended today, in place of lumber. (How is Hemp used in Building?)
Buildings made with hemp materials, such as hemp concrete basement, sidewalks, hemp plywood and hemp plastics are biodegradable, and reduce the use of landfill space. Hemp is also stronger and lighter than conventional building materials. A building made with hemp is 7 times stronger, half as heavy, and has three times greater elasticity than buildings made with concrete. Hemp is also being used to reinforce concrete to reduce the use of steel and cement. (Hemp building materials- Industrial Hemp).
“.. hemp is progressing fast as a building material because of its carbon negative properties, despite the fact that this particular “weed” is a distant cousin of the recreational drug:” – The Telegraph
Hempcrete is made by mixing the woody part of the hemp plant (hurds or shives) which derives from the stalk (stem), with lime. Hempcrete is easier to work with than conventional concrete. It also works as an insulator and moisture regulator. It lacks the brittle nature of conventional concrete, and so, it does not require expansion joints. Hempcrete is also nontoxic, mold resistant, pest resistant, fire resistant, sustainable, and durable. (WikipediA)
Cost of hemp buildings
Homes can be built completely, using hemp materials. Building a home with hemp is sustainable, and helps it to be more energy efficient than a conventional one. Hemp is more durable and a better insulator for your interior and exterior walls, and so, it reduces your energy costs, and saves you money in the long run. However, it could become more expensive to build houses with hemp than using conventional building materials. In an article written by Rolf B. Priesnitz, Hemphasis.net & Wikipedia, titled: Hempcrete – Hemp Building Materials – Hemp For Houses, the author describes that “while the hemp homes have far less impact on the environment – they use less energy to build, create less waste and take less fuel to heat – they cost about 10 percent more to build than brick and block houses.”
An estimate made by the Suffolk Housing Society in the UK reveals that the cost of houses constructed with hemp was £526per square meter compared to £478 using conventional materials. (How is Hemp used in Building?)
David Mosrie of Push Design explains: “The main negative effect of the legal situation [in the U.S] is the cost to import it, which is frankly very high. Even while [the government] is legalizing medical marijuana now in 19 states, [they] can’t seem to allow industrial hemp production.” (The house made of hemp)
Because of the restrictions on industrial hemp production in the United States, hemp has to be imported, resulting in higher building cost per square footage. Local production of hemp would lower the costs of building construction, and also reduce the environmental impact. It would also boost the economy and support local farming.
Want to learn more about hemp? We are delighted to have Anndrea Hermann, the President of Hemp-Technologies Global and Chief Development Science Officer, Hemp Division of Creative Edge Nutrition, as our next huddle guest. She is also the adviser for Nutiva Foods, Owner of The Ridge International Cannabis Consulting, and an Instructor at Oregon State University WSE266 Industrial Hemp.
Source: Nourish the Planet