Can You Build a House With Hemp?
Growing industrial hemp was illegal in the United States after 1970 because the industrial plant and marijuana were considered to be the same, when in fact they are different varieties of Cannabis. In recent years, some states have changed their laws, allowing farmers to start growing industrial hemp, which is used in everything from clothing to nutritional products to building materials. Oregon grower Cliff Thomason says growing and processing hemp was stymied because it was illegal, but now a knowledge base for best uses can grow, along with the plants. View a hemp home constructed using hempcrete, a building material that advocates claim is mold resistant, breathable, and eco-friendly.
‘What is Hemp?
Hemp is an incredibly sustainable renewable resource that can be grown in many climates and conditions around the world. With that being said, there are many environmental benefits by using this sustainable plant. For one, the use of hemp to create a better quality and longer-lasting paper is extremely environmentally friendly. It would only take one acre of hemp compared to destroying 4.1 acres of trees to create the same amount of paper. This would help deforestation exponentially.
One acre of hemp is not only a beneficial alternative for paper, but also for the production of cotton as well. Just one acre of hemp could produce as much fiber as two to three acres of cotton. The difference is that hemp fiber lasts longer, will not mildew, and is much stronger and softer than cotton. In addition, cotton requires large quantities of dangerous pesticides and herbicides. What about hemp? Hemp doesn’t require any pesticides or herbicides, and only needs moderate amounts of fertilizer.
However, these are not the only aspects as to why hemp is an incredibly environmentally beneficial crop. There are plenty of others. For another example, hemp can be used as an alternative clean burning fuel and lessen our reliance on vital fossil fuels. One acre of hemp can yield nearly 1,000 gallons of methanol in a single growing season. When hemp is burned as a fuel, carbon dioxide (CO2) releases into the air, but it is the same CO2 that was taken in from the environment, which is known as a closed carbon cycle and is extremely efficient.
These environmental benefits to using hemp, in addition to its usage, puts into question why hemp still has not been produced as a major crop as it once was in the U.S.’(source)
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Can You Build a House With Hemp?
America’s first house made primarily of hemp has been built. Using a product known as Hemcrete — a mix of industrial hemp, lime and water — a team of 40 volunteers, sub-contractors and designers have recently completed construction of a hemp house located in Ashville, North Carolina (NC). Eco-friendly design and construction company Push Design has gained the support of community members and local officials alike and now plans to build more.
Using a product known as Hemcrete — a mix of industrial hemp, lime and water — a team of 40 volunteers, sub-contractors and designers recently completed construction of the hemp house in Ashville, North Carolina (NC). Eco-friendly design and construction company Push Design have gained the support of community members and local officials alike and now plan to build more.
Using hemp as a building material is not new. Hemcrete is a registered brand of hempcrete, a material has been an alternative building material used in Europe and Australia since the 1960’s. The use of hemp in buildings dates back millennia in Asia and the Middle East where the Cannabis plant originates from. The biggest challenges of using hemp as a building material in the U.S are regulation, supply and cost, all of which are related.
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. Local production would not only lower the environmental impact exponentially versus bringing it from Europe, but would bolster a struggling economic group and prop up local farming, a long regional tradition. It frankly makes no sense to keep up the ban , at the state or federal level, but it continues on.”
Given the restrictions on hemp production in the U.S, Push Design sourced their industrial hemp from the U.K through the company Tradical via a fellow NC company Hemp Technology.
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