Tag Archives: hempcrete

Hemp beginning to replace Concrete?

The hemp fields sprouting in a part of Canada best known for its giant oil patch show how climate change is disrupting the construction industry.

Six years after setting up shop in the shadow of Calgary’s tar sands, Mac Radford, 64, says he can’t satisfy all the orders from builders for Earth-friendly materials that help them limit their carbon footprints. His company, JustBioFiber Structural Solutions, is on the vanguard of businesses using hemp — the boring cousin of marijuana devoid of psychoactive content — to mitigate the greenhouse gases behind global warming.

Around the world, builders are putting modern twists into ancient construction methods that employ the hearty hemp weed. Roman engineers used the plant’s sinewy fibers in the mortar they mixed to hold up bridges. More recently, former White House adviser Steve Bannon weighed in on using so-called hempcrete to build walls. Early results indicate it’s possible to tap demand for cleaner alternatives to cement.

“We have way more demand than we can supply,” said Radford from his plant in Airdrie, which is undergoing expansion and soon expects to churn out enough Lego-like hemp bricks each year to build 2,000 homes.

Greener alternatives to cement add to the pressure on companies including LafargeHolcim and Votorantim Cimentos as the global economy pivots toward dramatically lower emissions.

Cement makers are responsible for about 7% of global carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere every year, with copious volumes entering via limestone kilns needed to produce the material. Manufacturers say they’ve struggled to find markets for greener alternatives, giving easy entree to entrepreneurs like Radford who cater to customers concerned about their impact on the Earth.

“They love it once they understand it,” said Radford of the builders who’ve adopted the modular, inter-locking bricks he invented for their projects. “Our old practices we have to change.”

While architects and developers have traditionally concentrated on the energy used by their buildings once they’re are standing, it’s actually the materials required in their construction that represent the brunt of a structure’s lifetime carbon footprint. Replacing high-carbon-intensity materials like cement with greener alternatives like hemp can dramatically reduce or even offset greenhouse gas pollution.

Hemp fields absorb carbon when they’re growing. After harvest, the crop continues to absorb greenhouse gases as it’s mixed with lime or clay. Hempcrete structures also have better ventilation, fire resistance and temperature regulation, according to their proponents.

Numbers across the industry vary depending on the process, but JustBioFiber says that its hemp captures 130 kilograms (287 pounds) of carbon dioxide for each cubic meter it builds. Those structures made with their bricks will sequester more greenhouse gases than they emit in production. By contrast each ton of cement produced emits half a ton of carbon dioxide, according to the European Cement Association.

Read the full article at SFGATE

Hempcrete

First off, what is Hempcrete? Hempcrete is a building material that incorporates hemp into its mixture. Hempcrete is very versatile as it can be used for wall insulation, flooring, walls, roofing and more. It’s fire-proof, water-proof, and rot-proof as long as it’s above ground. Hempcrete is made from the shiv or inside stem of the hemp plant and is then mixed with a lime base binder to create the building material. This mixture creates a negative carbon footprint for those who are concerned with the carbon side of things. Hempcrete is much more versatile, easy to work with and pliable than concrete. In fact, earthquakes cannot crack these structures as they are 3 times more resistant than regular concrete.

Since lime is the binding material, builders do not have to heat up the lime as much as a supplier would need to in the industrial creation of concrete. This results in a lot of energyurl-4conservation when producing Hempcrete vs. concrete. Jumping back to the carbon aspect, Hempcrete sequesters (hides or puts away) carbon as it is very high in cellulose. Through it’s growing life cycle, it takes in large amounts of carbon which is then built into the home or building it is being used to construct. This does not allow the carbon to be released into the atmosphere. A home can save about 20,000lbs of carbon when being built out of Hempcrete

Hempcrete is a much more superior building material due to the fact that it is a very strong, lightweight and breathable material. When used as exterior walls, it lets water in without rotting or damaging the material. In a practical sense, instead of needing to build homes with space between exterior walls, which are then filled with insulation, you can simply use a Hempcrete wall. As humidity is taken in from the external environment, the Hempcrete holds that humidity until it is ready to be released again when the climate is less humid. Since the lime is wrapped in cellulose, the lime takes a bit longer for it to fully url-2petrify but is still incredibly strong. Over time, the lime looks to turn back to a rock, so the material becomes harder and harder until it petrifies completely. This means the wall will last thousands of years vs. 40 – 100 like normal building materials today.  Another great aspect to Hempcrete is that if too much is mixed during building, you can return it to the soil as a great fertilizer. Since hemp grows to maturity in just 14 weeks, it is a very powerful, versatile, cheap and sustainable solution.

Other notable factors are that hemp requires no fertilizer, weed killer pesticide or fungicide to grow it. The hemp seed can be harvested as a nutritious food rich in Omega-3 oil, amino acids, protein and fiber. It is considered a “super food”. The outer fibers can be used for clothes, paper and numerous every day items. This truly is a very powerful plant and should be a no brainer when it comes to it being used in a very mainstream way.

Source: Collective Evolution