How Hemp Can Be Used In Construction

Have you heard of Hempcrete? It’s a thing!

With the growing hemp and cannabis industries comes innovation and creative ways to use the plant for more than medicine and human consumption. Hemp fibers have been used for centuries in clothing, paper, and household goods. There’s also hempcrete, which is used for insulation in buildings.

Hempcrete is made with hemp (the “shiv,” or core of the stalk) and lime. Because of the strength of hemp fibers, it’s not as brittle as traditional concrete mixtures. Hemp is lightweight and a great moisture regulator, and a great crop to grow in many different climates. 

The lime is used to bind and coat the hemp fibers so that they stick together, to become strong. Since the binder coats the hemp, but doesn’t fill in spaces, it stays lightweight and able to breathe. Concrete made from hemp is organic, and doesn’t need a lot of energy to produce the final product, unlike traditional construction material and insulation. 

Hempcrete is resistant to movement, so its use is widespread in areas that have a high occurrence of earthquakes. Hempcrete is also fireproof and resists mold, which makes it even more attractive in older buildings where it’s being used. 

France was one of the first countries to adopt the use of hempcrete in repairing old buildings on non-weight-bearing walls. It was discovered in a bridge built in the 6th century, so it’s not a new material to be used by the French. 

The hemp plants, as they are growing, CO2 from the environment, and release oxygen and absorb up to 100kg for every cubic meter of material. For this reason, hemp is a more sustainable product to grow than most other materials used in construction.

Have you used, or thought about using, hempcrete? We carry the original, The Hempcrete Book, in our shop. Ask us on your next visit in.