Hempcrete – A Quick introduction

Hempcrete is a genius natural building material that absorbs a huge amount of carbon dioxide, has excellent sound-proofing qualities, is fire-proof, earthquake-resistant, pest and mold resistant, and excellent insulation material. It works like a monolithic system. Being interconnected throughout the whole house helps regulate the air humidity in your home, and its thermal mass provides a steady temperature throughout the day. Hempcrete is an all-natural way to build, it’s straightforward to use, and it will last more than a lifetime with an estimated life-span of 100 – 200 years+. After its life-span, it can be recycled without pollution or re-introducing co2 into the atmosphere.  

building, construction, site

One dwelling of 100 square meters can sequester up to 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Now keep in mind that you can use this material instead of concrete, given that it is above ground and around a structural frame. This is because Hempcrete needs to be able to breathe and is not a load-bearing material. If one dwelling of 100 square meters can sequester 20 tonnes of c02, how much would a typical construction project consume as the one to the left? Food for thought!

Oh, and btw the walls, when they absorb water, they also release energy, which in its own right can provide extra warmth in the house. Because of its thermal mass, Hempcrete can keep a stable temperature throughout a 24-hour cycle, which means that it will require less energy consumption to keep a stable, consistent temperature.  

 Hempcrete can do so many exciting things for us, and I believe that this material will soon be the new standard worldwide. 

The components

The components of hempcrete are hemp, hydraulic lime, and water. you can read more about hemp here (Coming soon link to new Article about Hemp Tag?)

Industrial hemp has been used for hundreds of years in textiles, paper, rope, and all kinds of materials throughout history. Industrial hemp is associated with cannabis. They are, in fact, in the same family but do not share the same attributes. Industrial hemp has 0.2% THC content or less. Thc is the psychoactive component of cannabis(the thing that makes you high). With such a low THC content, industrial hemp is not suited for smoking.  You would have to smoke a light-pole sized joint within 3 minutes to feel any effect.  This also means that (perhaps sad for some) you cannot lean against the wall of your new Hempcrete house and get high. Industrial hemp is basically a plant that can grow almost anywhere, requires no pesticides, and removes about four times the amount of carbon dioxide than a similar-sized acre of trees. It can be produced quarterly and provides many materials for a whole array of products. (see the list on this article about Hemp). In construction, we only use the by-products of hemp, which is called the Hemp shiv. The Hemp shive is processed and cleaned for dust and is provided by professional hemp growers from around the world.  It is becoming more and more accessible as hempcrete grows in popularity. Besides its carbon dioxide sequestering benefits, the awesome benefit of hemp is that it also provides nutrition to the ground on which it grows. This makes hemp an excellent circulation crop for farmers. (More information coming soon

Hydraulic lime is the second component in Hempcrete. Lime is the only component of Hempcrete that has some carbon dioxide footprint. But the carbon dioxide released from the production of lime is reabsorbed by the hempcrete within 50 years. This process is called certification, and it actually makes the building material stronger over time.

 Water is the last component in Hempcrete, which needs no introduction. 

These materials are, in most places, elementary to come by and can be locally produced. One thing to keep in mind is that Hempcrete needs to have a load-bearing structure within it since the material itself is not load-bearing. Usually, we use wood here in Norway. Still, closer to the equator, there might be a better building material for sequestering carbon dioxide and the multiple added benefits it provides. With a weight to strength ratio of steel and its fast-growing nature (1/10 the time of a similar acre with trees), bamboo might be the future of sustainable building materials (bamboo article coming soon). Imagine we started building with hempcrete instead of Concrete(above ground). How much co2 we would be storing and how much nicer and healthier our buildings could be. We believe that if enough people realize the benefits of this material, we will be well on our way to make a real difference in the fight against global warming. 

 

Building methods

An in-depth article on this is coming soon, but here are the basics: 

Cast-in-situ 

Using Hemp in Construction - Green Homes - MOTHER EARTH NEWS
Source(https://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/natural-building/hempcrete)

 

Spraying machine

formation béton de chanvre en région

Source(www.bcb-tradical.com) 

Complete structural wall components (block or full wall) 

façades en béton de chanvre Tradical

Source(www.bcb-tradical.com)                    

Conclusion

 

Hempcrete a revolutionary building material that is recyclable, environmentally friendly, and sustainable. It regulates the house’s relative humidity naturally without ventilation Systems, has excellent sound-proofing qualities, is fire-proof, earthquake-resistant, pest and mold resistant, and has excellent insulation material. 100 square meters of Hempcrete can remove up to 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide. It is easy to build with easily accessible building materials, which all benefit the natural World. Hempcrete can be used for both exterior and interior applications to create modern, sustainable structures that can last a lifetime. 

Imagine if all our buildings were created with Hempcrete. If one average-sized house removes about 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide, wouldn’t that also mean that if everything were built with Hempcrete, we would, in effect, be removing the negative effects of our carbon dioxide emissions from around the world? Doesn’t that solve a lot of our problems right there? 

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