The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp growing. Hemp is the taller, more fibrous cousin of marijuana. Since hemp has been made legal, interest has grown in a material used in Europe for years called “hempcrete.” These renewable materials were used in place of fiberglass insulation, sheetrock, drywall, and even siding, according to UPI.
The material is made from a mixture of hemp strands, lime binder, and water. It dries to a stone’s hardness and offers other building benefits, such as high fire, mold, and insect resistance. The material is also vapor permeable, allowing for ventilation where it is used.
Unfortunately, the material is not load-bearing. However, it does offer unique opportunities to the construction industry, especially for those builders who are interested in catering to homeowners who value sustainable building.
Hempcrete Benefits for Sustainability
Hempcrete is beginning to be sought after by builders and homeowners who value environmentally friendly materials. As it is grown, hemp absorbs carbon dioxide. In fact, 2.5 acres of hemp can absorb 22 tons of this atmospheric pollutant.
Hempcrete has another advantage over other plant-based building materials in that it continues to absorb carbon dioxide as it cures. As a result, using hempcrete can help offset the emissions generated in the building process.
The Challenges of Using Hempcrete
While hempcrete has been used in Europe for years—and at least one American, Steve Allin, has tried to popularize the material with his book Building With Hemp back in 2005—knowledge of the material hasn’t reached the masses.
Even if you’ve heard of hempcrete and are interested in using it, you may struggle to purchase it. There are many varieties of hemp, and only the tall, fiber-like version can be used to make hempcrete. U.S. farmers are currently more focused on growing a smaller hemp plant that can be processed to make CBD, the medicinal and recreational substance.
Though unskilled workers can install hempcrete, it does need to be processed. Few facilities are ready to process hempcrete. So, builders looking to use the material en masse may struggle.
Still, if you can find a processing facility nearby, hemp’s strength as a sustainable, simple-to-grow material may bring your new community many benefits. Hemp can help you attract buyers who are concerned with the environment and feel good about your business’s impact on our world.
A Title Company that Caters to Builders
At Lakeside Title Company, we help builders with all of the title work they need to make their development a success. When you rely on us, you can spend more time managing your site, while we do the paperwork.
We’re also up to date on the latest trends in construction, so we can cater to your business and help you promote your build to real estate agents and buyers. Take a look at our services for builders or reach out to us today.