Creating Construction Sustainability With Hempcrete
Hempcrete is a mixture of hemp, lime, and water that is starting to be used in construction across the U.S. Hemp Technologies, a construction company based in North Carolina, has used Hempcrete to build homes in Hawaii, Idaho, Texas, and North Carolina.
Among the benefits of using Hempcrete are carbon negative construction, breathable, long-lasting materials, and reduced heating and cooling costs. Hempcrete is also non-toxic and resistant to insects, mold, and fire.
The Hempcrete is mixed on-site with water and then put into sections of wall molds where it is tamped in firmly. Once that section is set, the next section is added going up. Once the wall is complete it receives several layers of coating to finish.
The material does still require a frame of another material such as wood or metal to support the vertical load; however it lacks the brittleness of concrete and as such does not require expansion joints.
Hempcrete can be used for walls, floors, and roofs. Another product, Hempboard, is made from 100% hemp hurds and can be used to make sustainable furniture, counter tops, and shelving.
Hemp has been used in building materials in Europe for some time due to its low cost and ease of replenishment. The main stumbling block to the wider use of Hempcrete is the Federal ban on cannabis setiva or marijuana. The problem is that the law sees the plant only as a drug, not as a highly multifunctional renewable resource
Of course, if you do build a house of hemp and it does burn down, you will be holding the biggest neighborhood party ever!