The cannabis plant is as diverse as it is uplifting. Hemp products have been around for centuries, from textiles to protein sources, hemp has proven itself a valuable commodity.
Hemp is now revolutionizing the way we build homes and office buildings. By using the woodlike inner stalk of the cannabis plant, combined with some lime and water, manufacturers are now molding ‘Hempcrete’ bricks.
What Is Hempcrete
Grinding the inner stalk of the cannabis plant into fine chips and mixing them with lime and water creates incredibly durable bricks of hemp.
Hempcrete is a strong, breathable, flexible, mold-proof and fire resistant material that offers distinct advantages over conventional building materials.
Benefits of Using Hempcrete
Modern day building materials are either mined from the earth or harvested from centuries old forests. Hemp crops can be harvested annually in perpetuity. One acre of hemp provides as much paper as 4.1 acres of trees. Considering the trees take decades to grow and hemp takes about 4 months, the advantages become clear.
Not a tree-hugger? No problem.
You should seriously consider using Hempcrete in your next build. The benefits are so clear that if you build a house with Hempcrete in England, you receive an insurance discount. They do this because Hempcrete is proven to be a more durable and safe building material. Not to mention it is a much cheaper option in most cases.
History of Hempcrete
Using hemp as a building material is nothing new, in fact the ancient Gauls used a Hempcrete-like material to build a bridge over two-thousand years ago. Since then it has been a popular building material in Japan for centuries and most recently in Europe.
Hempcrete as we know it was developed in France, because Europe never prohibited the cultivation of hemp plants they have been able to take full advantage of this remarkable and environmentally friendly building material. Using Hempcrete to build homes and even office buildings.
Prince Charles even constructed a zero-carbon home using Hempcrete.
If you are like me, you are probably wondering what took so long to start using Hempcrete if it has been used for thousands of years before. The eco-movement has been running strong for years, so why are we still using scarcely renewable and nonrenewable resources to build inferior structures?
The only answer we can come up with is because the cannabis plant has been prohibited in all its forms since the 1930’s. Because Europe never placed a ban on growing hemp for textiles and building materials, they are light-years ahead of North America.
Now that we can import and grow a very limited amount of hemp in America, businesses are adopting it and advancing it quicker than ever before.
One business developed a Hempcrete panel system much like drywall. By moving away from the large Hempcrete bricks, they are innovating new and better ways to use this phenomenally diverse building material.
sources: nytimes.com & time.com