HEMP AS BUILDING MATERIAL
Hemp has the potential to offer the construction industry a great deal with its versatility. All three major components of hemp can be used in one way or another. The parts of hemp that will interest builder are its outer-fibers, hemp seed oil and the shorter, inner fibers called hurd. These pliable and versitile components can be made into materials that resemble the characteristics of woods, plastic, concrete, insulation, bricks and paneling.
Currently, building a home from hemp is more expensive than not. This is due to hemps difficult legal status and thus not widely available. However, as countries, such as the US, begin to legalize cannabis and hemp this great natural resource will become a lot more readily available, driving down prices.
Nearly ever part of the construction can be done with hemp products. Hemp can be made into wall boards, bricks, plaster and concrete. Pipes can be made out of hemp plastic, insulation can be made of hemp. Carpets can be made out of hemp. Even paint can be made from hemp seed oil. There is a lot of possibility to produce every thing the industry needs, all from a sustainable, green source. All we need is for the governments of the world to allow it to become more mainstream.
Even house foundations can be made from “hempcrete”. This hemp concrete is seven times stronger, half the weight and three times more pliable than standard concrete. There is not much to dislike here. The breathability of hempcrete allows the transference of moisture out of the house when used for exterior walls, preventing damp and rot. Also, as the natural components within hempcrete are exposed to weather, they continue to petrify, becoming harder and harder. This means hemp walls have the potential to last thousands of years - quite a contrast to the hundred or so years you see in standard building material. Also, The extremely high level of cellulose in hempcrete absorbs carbon, locking it away. This means that if you build a house out of hemp, you can save up anywhere up to 20,000 lb of carbon off your carbon footprint! You have to ask yourself, why is hemp is illegal? It is madness!
Hemp technology is always advancing, we are constantly finding more and more ways to utilize the great characteristics of hemp within the building industry. Hopefully it will not be long before we start seeing it play a more prominent role, allowing mainstream construction to become more green.
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