Hempcrete: The Powerful Potential of Organic Building Materials

Amidst the skyrocketing costs of building materials and the huge problem of overflowing landfills, I'm surprised that there hasn't been more attention paid to hempcrete. 
Hempcrete is a sustainable and biocomposite building material. It's an eco-friendly and compelling alternative to concrete, especially when you consider that concrete produces up to 8% (2.8 billion TONS) of the world's carbon dioxide every year!
Even better, hempcrete weighs 6-8 times LESS than concrete, with the same (or more) tensile strength and durability.
Advantages include:
  1. Low carbon footprint. During the growth cycle, hemp (like all plants) absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reducing the greenhouse effect. It continues to do so even after being harvested and used as a building material. Also, since it weighs 6-8 times less than concrete, the transportation uses less energy. 
  2. Non-toxic and non-hazardous. Hempcrete can replace unhealthy materials such as fiberglass, which can contain carcinogens.
  3. Improved indoor air quality. In a building sealed against the elements using hempcrete, indoor air quality will improve. There will also be be less draft, and less need to run the HVAC system.
  4. Reduced energy costs. Hempcrete provides excellent insulation and thermal mass. It absorbs heat during hot days and releases it into buildings when the sun goes down. Compared to other construction materials, it does a better job of storing heat, leading to reduced energy use and lower greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  5. Mold resistance. Although hemp concrete is absorbent, its alkaline lime content is resistant to bacteria and mold, making it a good alternative to wood, especially if you live in a wet area.
  6. Pest resistance. The high pH value repels rodents, cockroaches and termites, which also avoids the need for hazardous pest treating chemicals such as formaldehyde.
  7. Fire resistance. Mixing hemp with lime binder creates a non-flammable material, providing fire resistance for up to 2 hours.
  8. Hurricane and earthquake resistance. While hempcrete doesn't exhibit the load-bearing capacities of high-level concrete, it has an impressive ability to bolster wood framing, strengthening it up to 4 times. It's also flexible. Instead of cracking and breaking, hempcrete buildings can better withstand high winds and earth movement.
  9. Biodegradable. Hempcrete takes 3-6 months to decompose.
  10. Good for your garden! When structures made of hempcrete reach the end of their useful lives, they can be broken down and used as mulch on bushes and trees to save on water and stop weeds. Over time, hempcrete will break down into lime and hemp components, which act as beneficial fertilizers.
WOW, right!? Let's spread the word!
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