Hempcrete Homes & Buildings

I simply love the way imagination, design and creative thinking produce new innovations.  Steve Jobs pointed out that DESIGN was an integral part of Apple products.  Beyond designing a new computer, their focus had to include aesthetics beyond the simple interface or computer specs. We love beautiful design. This extends to all areas of our collective life – art, sculpture and elegance.  The beauty, integration and efficiency of Nature fulfills a major need within our psyche. Our own systems for survival must mimic those of Nature in order for us to create a well-designed sustainable future.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 12.02.32 PMOne of the recent innovations in the cannabis industry is a Hempcrete building system by JustBioFiber  in Alberta, Canada. I was truly impressed: they have devised a building system that solve the problems of making houses out of industrial cannabis (hemp).  The woody inner core (hurd) is used to make blocks similar to typical concrete blocks. These hemp blocks replace concrete cinder with chunks of the core material from cannabis.

The building system itself is similar to my favourite toy, LEGO©; basic interlocking blocks that can be used to build walls and structures.  This is brilliant.  The usual method of using hempcrete is to erect a wood framework (for stability) and pour a hempcrete wall around the frame.  Tamp down the mixture and pour more into the forms.  Time consuming process.  Hempcrete is not quite like concrete in terms of flow and setting properties.  This novel method casts the blocks in standard sizes with corresponding structural components and wiring runs.

The walls formed of these blocks have an insulation value of R40 and provide an hour fire rating at 900 C.  Crush strength testing and fire ratings demonstrate that this technique is suitable for many building applications.  Residential, commercial and multi-story buildings can all be built using net-zero carbon renewable & sustainable materials. A 2000 sq ft house constructed with theses blocks will lock up over 5 tonnes of CO2. In this case the blocks sequester 110-130 kg of CO2 per cubic meter, that is 32 blocks. These blocks are not just net-zero they are carbon negative, absorbing even more CO2 as the walls age.

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