Hemp is a topic of much debate and controversy due to its association with its more potent cousin, marijuana but hemp has no psychoactive qualities and is highly versatile and sustainable. Due to the U.S. government unable or unwilling able to make the distinction between hemp and marijuana, it is illegal to cultivate though it is a net importer and hemp products are readily available in certain parts the country. Among these, hempcrete, which is a mixture of hemp hurds and lime and offers a eco-friendly alternative to concrete and is not as brittle however, it lacks the compressible strength of concrete so application is somewhat limited in larger structures. As an added bonus, it is carbon negative which means it absorbs carbon dioxide.
Though widely used in several countries around the world, it’s adoption in the United States has been extremely limited as widespread industrial usage of hemp would require to cultivation which means challenging federal and state drug laws governing Cannabis. This has not stopped North Carolina home builder, Hemp Technologies from taking on the uphill battle of convincing local and federal officials the environmental benefits of hempcrete and hopefully repeal laws banning hemp production. They have already constructed homes in several states including the home below in Asheville, their first.
Images courtesy of Tradical (brick) and Hemp Technologies (house)