But there are even more uses for cannabis plants than most people know.
They (hemp) can be used to make products such as textiles, oils, fuel, paper and twine; used as a source of nutrition, and another way that may be surprising, for some — a building material.
Hempcrete, a building material derived from the wooden interior of a Cannabis sativa plant (industrial hemp) combined with lime and water, is beginning to garner interest for construction across the United States.
The outer portion of the stalk can provide fiber for textiles necessary in buildings. It is present throughout the history of Europe, but current industrial hemp restrictions in the United States have prevented it from being a commonly used product.
Three reasons that hempcrete can have a positive impact on the future of construction are listed below:
- Humidity & Temp Regulation
Hempcrete naturally regulates moisture and temperature in the building, which can eliminate the need for heating and cooling systems and save significant amounts of energy. It also allows for buildings who hope to leave a minimal carbon footprint and achieve the best potential building code levels to do so because it is a carbon negative. The breathable nature of hempcrete works within historical and modern building plans, helping to provide optimal health and comfort for those inside.
- Long Lasting Quality
Hempcrete buildings can last for as long as any other type and naturally protects from some issues that cause decay or destruction in others. It is fireproof, immune to termites and vapor pervious to lower humidity and eliminates the threat of condensation.
- Proven Track Record
Hempcrete has a proven track record in Europe, where hemp cultivation was never a crime. Since the material appeared in the 1980’s in France, it was used buildings across the continent. A home built by Prince Charles, a seven-story tower in France and a Marks and Spencer department store are just a handful of the hundreds of buildings constructed with hempcrete. Hempcrete was once used to build monolithic walls; it is air-tight and has incredible R-value. The actual figure is approximately 0.75 g/m2/mmHg. Typical air leakage 1-3 air changes/hour @ 50 pascals.
With the positives that hempcrete can offer, from mass savings on energy and insulation to being invulnerable to fire and termites, it makes sense to increase the use of it in future construction.