I recently raved about the environmental benefits of hemp. I also compiled a list of various ways hemp is being used around the world. There’s no doubt to the versatility of this fiber.
One industry that is reaping the benefits of hemp is the building industry. Sustainable housing is becoming more and more important and hemp can certainly step up to the mark.
There are many applications of hemp in the building industry. It can be used for insulation, fiberboard, stucco and mortar and more. The use of hemp in the building industry has even sparked a new word - hempcrete.
What is Hempcrete?
Put simply, hempcrete is an eco-friendly alternative to concrete. It consists of a mixture of hemp, lime, sand, plaster, and cement, and can be used in the same way as concrete. Hempcrete is typically mixed on site, then sprayed on to the building frame. Hempcrete can also be used for making pipes.
Hempcrete is self insulating. It’s resistant to rotting, mice, rodents, etc. It is also fireproof, waterproof, and weather resistant.
Hempcrete actually has some pretty cool benefits over concrete too.
Benefits of Hempcrete
Hempcrete has a number of environmental benefits over concrete. It also has a number of general benefits too.
Here are some of the general benefits of hempcrete over concrete:
- Stronger: Hempcrete is said to be 7 times stronger than concrete
- Lighter: Hempcrete is about half the weight of concrete
- Less cracking: Hempcrete is more elastic than concrete, which means it is less prone to cracking
Using hempcrete instead of concrete can drastically reduce carbon emissions produced by our buildings.
In the UK for example, the construction and ongoing use of buildings accounts for over 50% of of carbon dioxide emissions. Studies have shown that, for each square meter of house walling, up to 200 kilograms of carbon dioxide is emitted from its construction. This works out to be around 40 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted for a typical house.
Hempcrete, on the other hand, can actually remove carbon dioxide from the air, and trap it within the wall construction. The producers of Tradical Hemcrete claim that it has been found to lock up around 110 kilograms of carbon dioxide per m3.
So, which is it? “Hemcrete” or “hempcrete”?
Both! Hempcrete (with a “p”) is the generic name for the product. Hemcrete (without the “p”), is a proprietary version of hempcrete. Its full name is Tradical® Hemcrete®, and it’s a registered trademark of Lime Technology in the UK.