Hempcrete

Hempcrete: The Environmentally-Friendly Building Material

Hempcrete is formed from the woodlike inner stalk of the cannabis plant along with a combination mixture of lime and water. Not only is Hempcrete cheaper, but it’s natural construction products are also more durable and safer building material.

Hempcrete: The Highlights

  • Hemp products are a sustainable natural way to help individuals, but now it’s products are proving to be a sustainable fixture inside the construction industry.
  • Manufacturers craft a collection of raw materials such as the inner stalk of the cannabis plant with natural materials like lime and water to form hempcrete blocks.
  • A hemp plant can be harvested annually in perpetuity with one acre of hemp providing as much paper as 4.1 acres of trees which leads to greater sustainable practices.
  • Hempcrete is carbon-negative because when you manufacture the raw material, you’re actually consuming more carbon dioxide than emitting which is energy efficient (and reducing carbon footprint).
  • Hempcrete possesses positive thermal properties due to having the ability to regulate indoor relative humidity and moisture which leads to energy efficient air conditioning among other sustainable┬ábenefits.

What is Hempcrete?

When you think of hemp, you most likely group it with cannabis and other types of plants grown. The hemp industry is rapidly growing, but it’s also rapidly growing inside the construction industry.

Inside the construction industry, manufacturers can use the woodlike inner stalk of the cannabis plant grown along with some water and hydrated lime to mold hempcrete blocks. Hempcrete is valuable structural products due to them being strong, breathable, flexible, mold and mildew proof and last but not least, fire-resistant.

With a strong structural frame, hempcrete offers a distinct advantage over the conventional building materials inside the construction industry.

Short History Of Hempcrete

If people like Prince Charles envisions eco-friendly living with industrial hemp, what makes this structural UK hempcrete so useful? And to answer that starts with looking into the history of hempcrete and industrial hemp.

As mentioned earlier, hempcrete is made from natural hydraulic lime, water, and hemp shivs (aka a natural waste product from hemp fiber grown). With that said, the earliest usage of a similar thing dates back to the ancient Gauls who used a Hempcrete-like material to build a bridge over two-thousand years ago.

Moving forward in time, it’s been a popular structural building material in Japan for centuries and most recently in Europe. The hempcrete we’re most familiar with was developed in France because Europe never prohibited the cultivation of hemp plants.

This allowed them to take full advantage of this remarkable, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly building material.

To further dive into a deeper exploration of hemp concrete, lime plaster, fiber, and many other entities concerning hempcrete blocks, check out the hempcrete book.

The Benefits Of Hempcrete

Hempcrete mixture

Despite the benefits of hempcrete being evident, it’s only slowly starting to gain momentum in America since the lift of hemp was raised and made more accessible. Hempcrete is favorable materials from a carbon emissions standpoint along with helping indoor air quality plus a plethora of other factors.

Saving The Planet

One of the best things about hempcrete is that it’s carbon negative. Manufacturing the raw material is actually consuming more carbon dioxide than emitting.

This carbon negative comes from the biomass, which is the hemp stalk (and during the growth phase consumes more than 2 times its weight of carbon dioxide).

If you’re looking to construct a green business, using hempcrete is a game changer as it’s energy efficient every cubic meter of the way.

Support Agriculture

It’s no secret that merely relying on food to supply an everyday farmers livelihood isn’t going to cut it in today’s times. However, the natural and raw materials used to make hempcrete stems from agriculture which is great for every farmer’s bottom line.

It’s been reported that the manufacture and retail of natural hempcrete could improve the overall income of farmers by up to 20 percent annually which makes a big difference.

Fight Climate Change

No matter on which aisle of the spectrum you fall into with climate change, it’s something that affects all parties involved.

With infrastructure being at the epicenter of manufacturing industries, establishing a more industrial hemp-based culture within the construction of buildings would support climate change as an effect of the bio-based economy being positively affected.

Lessening the potential effects of climate change can start with simple behavioral shifts concerning what tools are used during construction.

Lower Construction Costs

Switching over to more hempcrete could help lower construction costs by up to 25 percent. Savings in cement, steel, and regular concrete would take place since the hempcrete density is less than that of water. With that happening, the dead loads of the building would be reduced drastically.

The hempcrete would also require less plastic shuttering. Lastly, the utilization of hemp concrete means that your wall will only get stronger and more durable over time.

Thermal Insulation

An underrated aspect of hempcrete is that it possesses the ability to regulate indoor humidity which enhances the comfort for individuals. And not to mention, controlling humidity and thermal properties leads to considerable electricity savings.

How To Use Hempcrete

Hempcrete in a woman's hands

When it comes to using hempcrete, there a multitude of functions that you can use it for. Some are more popular than others. When it comes to giving specifics with hempcrete, it’s a little difficult due to their being a wide variety of mixes.

Here are four popular methods.

On-Site

This popular method is the standard form which is akin to building standard concrete walls. With this, the structural framing is first constructed for the building with all conduits and pipes for electrical, plumbing and other building mechanical installed inside the walls.

Afterward, the forms are placed and the hempcrete is mixed on-site. The method by which this happens is through either being poured or hand-placed in the forms to surround all the framing and mechanical fittings in the wall.

Spray Applying

This particular method is similar to pouring hempcrete directly on site with the big difference being the industrial spray equipment deployed.

This method is much faster along with having better insulating value than the hand-packed hempcrete due to large amounts of hempcrete being mixed inside a cement mixer and then ending with the industrial sprayer.

With that being said, the two big downsides are the overall costs and this particular method requiring a high level of expertise.

Panels

Last but not least is the panels which are quite effective. This method to construct hempcrete is a structurally insulated panel that is created inside a factory. These panels are essentially custom wall sections built within the hempcrete material and structure combined. Once it’s completed, all that’s left is to ship off.

After the item shipped arrives at its desired destination, the specific panels are assembled according to the designated drawings to hastily form a finished building envelope which sits above a pre-built foundation.

As of now, these particular types have been built in the UK and have consistently outperformed buildings that were constructed from standard building materials.

Blocks

Non-structural blocks, as well as wall in-fill, are already popular in Europe. After the framing stage is completed, the bricks are either mortared together inside the framing or simply stacked.

Hempcrete block

While this method is great at saving time, it’s much less cohesive and monolithic than a wall which is poured in its entirety in one setting to fill all cracks and crevices. As of now, there is only one major hempcrete block which could go as high as 800 feet.

This block system is well insulated and valuable due to its saving huge amounts of time and labor.

Hempcrete: The Final Word

According to a report by Grand View Research, Inc, the global legal marijuana market is expected to reach $146.4 billion by the end of 2025.

It’s worth stating this fact about cannabis to get a big picture of the situation. Hemp is just now starting to becoming available and hempcrete will only grow in popularity.

Hemp is going to continue to revolutionize the construction industry even more due to it not only being more cost-effective and good for the planet but also, it provides a much more sustainable surface.

If you’re looking to go into the green business or simply build a sturdier environment, hempcrete is more than worthy of consideration due to its versatility. A big reason that increased awareness of this product will arise is more people are interested in not only the present but also the future.

Creating low impact building materials will allow individuals to approach housing from a sustainable approach without leaving a legacy of non-ideal (and adverse) effects on the environment for the generation that follows.

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