Benefits of Hemp in Building Construction
Hemp can replace synthetic, petroleum based and other high embodied energy materials to produce high performance products are better for the environment, better for your health and your wallet.
How Hemp is Used in Building Construction Materials
The parts of the hemp plant currently used for construction are woody inner core (for hempcrete), the outer fibrous skin (for hemp fiber batt insulation) and hemp seed oil (for hemp oil wood finish and deck stain).
Hemp-Lime “Hempcrete” Building Envelope Thermal Walls
Hemp shiv or hurd is mixed with lime-based binder to produce a rigid material that is cast into walls, between or around structural supports. Hempcrete walls, When cured and finished, exhibit low toxicity and good vapor permeability while maintain a high degree of air tightness, good thermal insulation, and stabilizing thermal mass. This combination of properties, unique to hempcrete, combines to create a sustainable, healthy and comfortable indoor environment.
Hemp Fiber “Batt” Insulation
Hemp fiber is bonded into sheets that be formed and cut into a variety of dimensions then installed as semi rigid “batts” between structural framing as a direct substitute to fiberglass and many other typical insulation materials. Hemp fiber insulation exhibits higher insulation performance (R-Value) but less other beneficial characteristics than Hemcrete in its typical application.
Hemp Oil Wood Finish and Deck Stain
Hemp oil is pressed from seeds and processed to produce a coating that is easy to use, beautiful and durable. Product test results show that hemp oil based deck stain can outperform high end commercial products in resistance to weathering while containing very low levels of toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds), making it an excellent alternative to synthetic and petroleum based polymer coatings.
More hemp building construction products are coming!
Development of industrial hemp applications in the United States is accelerating so check back here for updates and more information.