Hempcrete is a cheap and eco friendly composite made from fibers of the industrial hemp plant that’s mixed with lime to create a concrete like building material. The first hemp home in the United States is 90% energy efficient making it a revolutionary home in America. Hemp Technologies, the company that oversaw the first permitted hemp home back in 2009, plans to use hemp as a low cost solution for people looking for alternatives to traditional buildings.
“It’s just an awesome material,” says Greg Flavall, the CEO of Hemp Technologies, one of the lead builders of hempcrete homes. “I’ve never seen anything like it and we have studied other materials like flax, corn stalks, linseed oil stalks, even wood, and hemp wins by far hands down.”
Hemp is usually associated with it’s cousin cannabis or “marijuana” but the plants are very different and is used for very different things. Hempcrete is made from hemp shivs, which are the fibrous core of the tall leafy stalks also known as the hurd, the plant is a little bit similar to bamboo.
Unlike other more commonly grown crops, hemp requires very few pesticides and is easily grown in very dense plots of land. Not only are the homes built from hemp sustainable but there’s evidence that suggests living in a hempcrete home can have significant help benefits for the occupants.
“We have seen, anecdotally, reductions in healthcare cost and absenteeism because of living in hemp building,” Flavall said, “Hempcrete works so extremely well. It dries out, it continues to breathe, and it makes the indoor quality of living phenomenal,” he continued.
As hempcrete dries, it actually absorbs the carbon dioxide that the occupants produce and grows harder, essentially turning the hempcrete to stone, the more carbon dioxide is absorbed. This strengthens the already sustainable home and lessens the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
Even after the hempcrete is hardened from the carbon dioxide the house remains “breathable” as described by Hemp Technologies. The homes remain rain and storm proof but are also permeable to gasses and the moisture that normally produces in a traditional home are less prone to mold and better for your overall health in a hemp home.
Hempcrete is a surprisingly affordable option for someone looking to build their home. Flavall said that it meets or beats other common building materials in up front costs when used properly and even saves you money on heating and cooling costs over the lifetime of the home.