March 4, 2013
The amazing Hempcrete
If you haven’t heard of Hempcrete, you’re not alone. Most of us are now aware that energy efficient buildings are a positive step towards creating a sustainable world, but it is equally important that our newly constructed buildings are made using materials that are sustainable, solid and built to last.
Hempcrete is an extremely versatile material that incorporates hemp into its mixture. As a building material, it can be used for walls, insulation, flooring, roofing and a myriad of other uses. It’s also fireproof, waterproof and rot-proof, as long as it’s above used ground.
This extraordinary material is made from what is known as the shiv, the inside stem of the hemp plant. This is then mixed with a lime base binder to create the finished product, which leaves a comparatively light carbon footprint. However, what is truly amazing, is it’s the world’s strongest building material, which is much more versatile and pliable than concrete. In fact, it’s three times more resistant to earthquakes than regular concrete is.
Since lime is the binding material used to create Hempcrete, builders don’t have to heat up the lime as much as you would need to in the industrial creation of concrete. This results in a lot of energy being saved. It also sequesters carbon, as it’s very high in cellulose. One home can save over 9,0000 kilograms of carbon when being built from Hempcrete.
Hempcrete is also a very lightweight and breathable material which holds moisture without any structural damage. In a practical sense, instead of needing to build homes with space between exterior walls, which are then filled with insulation, you can simply build a solid wall with this versatile building material. As humidity is taken from the external environment, Hempcrete holds that humidity until it is ready to be released again when the climate is less humid.
More than 70% of CO2 emissions result from the burning of fossil fuels for energy use, transportation, manufacturing and construction. Most people think only of the design elements of a building in reducing the load of CO2. And while this is true to an extent, it’s only part of the story. The materials used in construction are also extremely important.
The fact that Hempcrete is such a superior material that lightens the carbon load, only begs the question – why isn’t this material more widely used?