What can be used as medicine, as industrial building material, as clothing fiber, as a base for concrete, as a nearly perfect natural food, as a nourishing skin-care ingredient, for making paper, for eco-friendly fuel options, and more? That would be hemp. Hemp has been arguably called the most useful plant in the world, and with hundreds of medicinal, industrial, and food applications, who would deny it?
Despite what often looks like legal or governmental suppression despite it’s long and impressive world history of usefulness and sustainability, Hemp is reappearing in new applications stronger than ever. Take for instance the legalization of Cannabis for full recreational use in 5 US states and many states have legalized medical Marijuana use as well, with plenty more US states on the horizon of legalization. Hemp based building materials which are extremely economical, ecologically friendly,and resilient are making major gains in popularity.
The first ever house made entirely ofhempcrete was built recently in Asheville, NC. The house is 3,400 square feet and features a number of features adding to its amazing ecologically conscious design.
This progressive and beautiful home wasbuild solidly but with breathable walls. This was accomplished by mixing hemp hurds with lime and water on-site and then poured in between the exterior support studs in lift.
As USA Today notes,“Hempcrete is actually less like concrete and more like infill straw bale, as it is non-structural. The insulating quality is r-2.5 per inch, and it has the unique abilityto capture airborne pollutants over time – absorbing carbon when it is grownand in place.”
Hemp building material also has a high thermal mass meaning it is capable of maintaining a steady internal temperature and decreasing fluctuations.
The internal walls of this hemp dreamhouse are built from Purepanel which is made of recycled paper and consists of a corrugatedpaper core surrounded by a rigid skin, kind of like cardboard.
As CNN reports, ‘the house alsofeatures 30 salvaged window frames that have been fitted with high tech glass.They were placed to allow the most daylighting without overheating thespace. An open floor plans also allows the light to pervade deep into the home.’
Additionally: “ The energy-efficient wall system is coupled with a super-efficient 21 SEER air-based heat pump to effectively heat and cool the home, reducing utility costs and also the need for expensive equipment. With these installments, this home ends up costing a respectable $133 per square foot to build.”
Though certain compromises that veered from a 100% human and eco health vision, like petroleum based foam products that were needed for the strength of the ceiling and foundation, the house is nonetheless an excellent example of the reality that beautiful modern homes can be made almost entirely without chemical components hazardous to human health and practices andmaterials that harm the earth.
All Images Via Push Design