When it comes to new and sustainable housing ideas, it seems to always be about creating a more efficient home in terms of insulation, lighting, electricity, etc. Mainstream belief on the subject would have you believe that top corporations and government projects are working with the best possible technology to bring forth solutions that work and are going to be great for the environment. If that was truly the case, I can guarantee you that the whole world would be using Hempcrete right now. Haven’t heard of it? I’m not too surprised.
First off, what is Hempcrete? Hempcrete is a building material that incorporates hemp into its mixture. Hempcrete is very versatile as it can be used for wall insulation, flooring, walls, roofing and more. It’s fire-proof, water-proof, and rot-proof as long as it’s above ground. Hempcrete is made from the shiv or inside stem of the hemp plant and is then mixed with a lime base binder to create the building material. This mixture creates a negative carbon footprint for those who are concerned with the carbon side of things. It is the worlds strongest building material and is much more versatile, easy to work with and pliable than concrete. In fact, earthquakes cannot crack these structures as they are 3 times more resistant than regular concrete.
Since lime is the binding material, builders do not have to heat up the lime as much as a supplier would need to in the industrial creation of concrete. This results in a lot of energy conservation when producing Hempcrete vs. concrete. Jumping back to the carbon aspect, Hempcrete sequesters (hides or puts away) carbon as it is very high in cellulose. Through it’s growing life cycle, it takes in large amounts of carbon which is then built into the home or building it is being used to construct. This does not allow the carbon to be released into the atmosphere. A home can save about 20,000lbs of carbon when being built out of Hempcrete.
Hempcrete is a much more superior building material due to the fact that it is a very strong, lightweight and breathable material. When used as exterior walls, it lets water in without rotting or damaging the material. In a practical sense, instead of needing to build homes with space between exterior walls, which are then filled with insulation, you can simply use a Hempcrete wall. As humidity is taken in from the external environment, the Hempcrete holds that humidity until it is ready to be released again when the climate is less humid. Since the lime is wrapped in cellulose, the lime takes a bit longer for it to fully petrify but is still incredibly strong. Over time, the lime looks to turn back to a rock, so the material becomes harder and harder until it petrifies completely. This means the wall will last thousands of years vs. 40 – 100 like normal building materials today. Another great aspect to Hempcrete is that if too much is mixed during building, you can return it to the soil as a great fertilizer. Since hemp grows to maturity in just 14 weeks, it is a very powerful, versatile, cheap and sustainable solution.
Other notable factors are that hemp requires no fertilizer, weed killer pesticide or fungicide to grow it. The hemp seed can be harvested as a nutritious food rich in Omega-3 oil, amino acids, protein and fiber. It is considered a “super food”. The outer fibers can be used for clothes, paper and numerous every day items. This truly is a very powerful plant and should be a no brainer when it comes to it being used in a very mainstream way.
You would think that if the government and corporations were truly concerned with climate change, and the massive effects they claim it is going to have on life, that they would begin implementing this solution very quickly. They would most likely make hemp legal once again in the US and start producing this stuff like crazy. But this doesn’t seem to be the case. Are they exaggerating about climate change and how much OUR carbon is affecting it? Or are they so concerned with their system that they fear changing things? Either way, something is up here.
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