Hemp seems to have limitless uses. You can eat it, wear it, put it in your fuel tank, make your car out of it, make it into a rope, and you can even feed it to your dog. This is a whole bunch of uses, you’d be forgiven for assuming after all this hemp dusted its hands off and called it a day. You’d be wrong, though. Hemp was only getting started, it found another use: You can build a house out of it.
Yeah, we know.
Hempcrete is a material known as a bio-composite; a mixture of organic materials and other building materials. It is generally made of hemp hurds and lime and has proven to be an excellent construction material and insulator. Hempcrete is a great moisture regulator making it great for humid weather, this quality also makes hemp less brittle than concrete.
It is a very popular material for insulating and non-load bearing walls because it has a great combination of insulation thermal mass. In some cases, the use of hempcrete can totally eliminate the need to install heating and cooling systems in a building.
Hempcrete is also a highly breathable material allowing a certain amount of airflow, preventing the buildup of stale air. Unfortunately, a 100% hempcrete house isn’t feasible thanks to the fact that hemp isn’t as strong as other forms of concrete.
Hemp is a very environmentally friendly crop, so there is little in the way of negative environmental effects in the production of hempcrete. On top of this, hemp absorbs Co2 from the atmosphere. When it is turned into hempcrete it effectively locks this Co2 away, helping reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and reducing the footprint of the building it is used in.
Hempcrete is a fantastic material to use in the construction. It is a fantastic insulator, thanks to its moisture regulating and breathable properties. It is incredibly long-lived, capable of lasting for hundreds of years. From a safety perspective, it’s fireproof and non-toxic, giving your home an extra dimension of security.
The biggest barrier to widespread use of hempcrete is cannabis laws. Hemp frequently finds itself tarred with the same legislative brush as cannabis. In the USA hemp is widely prohibited and in Europe and the UK, it is strictly controlled.
Cannabis legalization is sweeping the globe, and it may only be a matter of time before you can enjoy fully legal cannabis in your fully legal hempcrete house. Will the United Kingdom soon be home to numerous hempcrete housing estates? Only time will tell.