Buildings are known to be the greatest source of greenhouse gases on the planet, but hemp housing can help people to reduce their carbon footprint, and the building material itself sequesters carbon from the atmosphere before the house is even built.
In the movie “Bring it Home”, which featured hemp houses worldwide, it was pointed out that hemcrete’s insulating properties could cut energy consumption in half, but it’s not only energy efficiency that makes hemp houses special.
A hemp house can last for 300 – 800 years
The durability of hemcrete, the hemp product used in building is incredible, and when a house reaches the end of its lifetime, the remains can be re-incorporated into the earth. But the benefits of a hemp house don’t stop here. The reduction in temperature fluctuations help them to stay coll in summer and cosy in winter, while the permeability of the material allows harmful indoor pollutants to be filtered from the air.
Part of the reason why hemp houses are so durable can be ascribed to flame and mould resistance. A hemp house survives fires and floods better than a house constructed using conventional building materials. This durable material can be used for walls, floors, ceilings and even roofing, making the entire building carbon negative.
Benefits of hemp houses in a nutshell:
Eco-friendly – the building material doesn’t create carbon emissions, it actually sequesters carbon.
Energy efficient – heating and cooling costs are reduced.
Better indoor air quality – rather that trapping indoor pollutants, hemp houses are breathable.
Incredibly strong and durable.
Flood and mould resistant.
Insect and rodent resistant.
Cuts down exterior noise pollution.
Versatile in terms of style of housing.
Biodegradable after demolition.
The properties of hemp as a building material make it ideal for the construction of ecovillages, communities that strive to live closer to nature. They seek to produce as much of their own food as possible, practice habits that are beneficial to nature and conservation and foster a sense of community.
There are already several ecovillages making use of hemp housing around the world. Cloughjordan Ecovillage in Ireland is among them as are the houses in a new sustainable housing project in Scotland. There are hemp villages in Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, the list goes on and on, and yet most people still don’t know that an eco-friendly home can be built using hemp.
The future of hemp as a building material
Hemp is creating a lot of interest among architects and building developers, and we can expect to see increasing acceptance and adoption of the concept of the hemp house in the future. Imagine being able to grow a building? In a sense, that is what hemp houses really achieve without the need to fell trees.
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