The properties of hemp for construction

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An alternative and a solution

When we talk about sustainable or sustainable buildings, it is not only based on the fact that the building is sustainable in terms of energy. In this energy concept, an important role is played by the design of the house. The nature of the materials, their transformation, transportation and final assembly are also very relevant. With all this, we can calculate the carbon footprint. As for building materials such as concrete and partition walls, they have an advantage in that they do not require pastes or paints. However, in the production of the material there is an energy and pollution cost. This will vary depending on the factory, furnaces and transportation, among others.

Steel and metals can be recycled many times despite having extraction and transformation processes that are very unfavorable to the environment. Hemp, in particular, has been found to have a great advantage in terms of production, processing and extraction costs. The environmental cost is considerably reduced compared to the above-mentioned materials.

Hemp’s powerful building properties

Rachel Bevan, author of Hemp Lime Construction: A Guide to Building with Hemp Lime Composites (Bracknell: BRE Press, 2008), states that one hectare of land produces approximately 10 tons of hemp. This is enough to build a house.

In the Hemp Cottage project, he mentions that a single-family house of 70m2 can be built with one hectare of cultivation with healthy and environmentally friendly characteristics with low environmental impact.

Among the characteristics of hemp in bioconstruction we can highlight:

  • Sustainable cultivation: it is not necessary a great investment in labor and does not need fertilizers or pesticides in well-organized crops.
  • It is a very resistant and wild species which can withstand significant climate changes.
  • It avoids overexploitation of other crops for the manufacture of paper and furniture.
  • It retains environmental CO2 in its life cycle, thus reducing pollution with greenhouse effects.
  • Cultivation, production, harvesting and transformation do not require activities with degenerative environmental impact, nor are there significant energy costs.
  • It has exceptional thermodynamic qualities, avoiding thermal inversion between day and night.
  • It does not require any maintenance.

Cannabric was invented by Monika Brümmer in 1999. A bio-construction block with hemp already mentioned in another article on our website. In summary, this material can be used in single-layer load-bearing walls, high thermal comfort, bioclimatic, acoustic and with a negative carbon footprint.

Advantages and conclusions

It has bioclimatic qualities, it is made with totally organic materials, it is self-sufficient and the cost of each of the construction units is 1,22€.

At present and with the current knowledge about this material we can conclude that it is a valuable building material and an ally of the environment. It has a negative carbon footprint which makes it one of the materials of choice for the future towards environmentally friendly construction.

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