Hemp Homes Grow a Movement [Video]

Push Design made news with a beautiful Hemp House in Asheville, North Carolina.  It received significant media attention — notwithstanding a multitude of jokes conflating industrial hemp and marijuana.  Now, hemp is being used for more projects, as shown in the above video from CBS Minnesota.  Due to strict regulations, hemp is imported and mixed with water and lime to create a light, insulating, concrete-like mass for walls.

Proponents of hemp as a building material say it’s non-toxic, mold-resistant, mildew-resistant, non-flammable, formaldehyde-free, and perfect for people with chemical sensitivities.

So there’s a movement abreast in the United States to allow hemp growth so that, for example, the plant can be used to create more affordable building materials.  Makes sense, right, local production!  There’s also a movie documentary in the works — Bringing It Home — about industrial hemp, healthy homes, and a greener future for America.

If you’re aware of an issue with hemp that requires a prohibition on domestic growth, by all means, share that below.  Otherwise, everything I’ve read speaks to nothing but benefits, especially when used as a building material.  So if you have a hemp material or project, share it with us, because I’d like to help elevate the discussion in whatever way possible.

Credits: Hemp House by Push Design with Hempcrete.

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  • Karen T.

    Great project to work on. I’ll share around! I think HEMP could help our country out of this economic mess, if lawmakers “chose to”. They have to care more about people and the environment, than they do money. If they won’t give us medicinal cannabis to cure cancer, they won’t allow us to build safer, cheaper homes either. Heaven forbid, the American citizen coming out ahead for a change. Or doing something that actually makes a difference in the environment.

    • http://www.jetsongreen.com Preston

      Yet the politicized issue of medicinal marijuana is not related to the use of industrial hemp as a building material. Hemp isn’t marijuana, we’re talking about different plants.

      • http://Atomdavis.com/ Atom Davis

        they are different plants, but as far as drug laws go, you’re talking about two plants so similar in makeup and plant structure that it would be a potential disaster for either growers or NARC. Frankly NARC is pretty much screwed with the tidal wave of synthetics hitting the market from every part of the world, so it might be about time for us to consider our prohibition of a lot of materials and substances.

        i still dont get the blockade on either plants truthfully. i have never met a person who drove a car stoned and wrecked that wasnt already an absolute shit driver, the valedictorians of my highschool 2 years in a row were avid pot smokers, i’ve never met a violent stoner who wasn’t already a violent person.

        hemp is even more ridiculous to demonize, but i guess since you COULD smoke like a POUND of it and maybe feel a buzz, it may as well be treated just like pot?

  • knowa1

    legalize kick the DEA out of our lives

    • sanitylvr

      Do not blame DEA. It is our laws that they enforce. But, lets legalize. It is about time.

      • knowa1

        I sorry but they block any and all efforts for any scientific research and the make and in force their own laws they are clinging on with redundancy in sight they need to go

        • sanitylvr

          If your point is ideology based, then I could not disagree with you more. Yes, all of our institutions are clumsy at best and sometimes harmful, but without them as a safeguard, we (also) will not move forward. But really, do they block any and all efforts at scientific research? The only choice is to stop complaining and fight for change. The capable people in the sustainable building space have been doing this for a good while. I have witnessed real change in building science progress over the past twenty years, accelerating all the time.

          • knowa1

            I been partaking since 1968 and in that time since Clinton We now have private prison that depend on cannabis POW for their prison Labor camps and I have work as a guard in two of them and its Slavery in our time we now have more black in prison labor camps than before the civil war. And for the DEA there is no end to the evil the are doing, have done and will do,.for job security. Maybe you should study Marc Emery he is now serving 5 years in a fed prison which is better than the private one he was in before. What happened is the world will no longer put up with the lies fraud and scam of prohibition thank to the internet, Google Marc Emery and start your study’s

          • knowa1

            I’ve been block for what

          • knowa1

            you should youtube this
            Polis Questions DEA on Marijuana Policy

  • Shayne

    Check out the Biostruct website @ http://www.biostruct.ca Our business model was inspired in part from the Living Building Challenge, so we are all about building the local economy. We are based in Vancouver, Canada, where it has been legal to grow industrial hemp since 1998. Lime is also readily available locally in most regions, so it makes sense to make your own hydraulic lime too.

  • http://twitter.com/greenrivergroup Gary Tucker

    Where this would really be a huge boost to industry and show its worth is to create a hemp home based industry in Haiti. It would reclaim barren hillsides, provide locally produced fast growing building materials and be a boom to the massive quantities of lime found around the island. Then as a source of cooking briquettes and other many uses could also stimulate tens of thousands of jobs. Just a thought.

  • Robert Maier

    There are numerous, natural alternative building materials that reduce our footprint and provides a healthier built environment (i.e. hemp, earthen building,etc.). Building codes and regulation are a challenge, but I think the public’s perception is the biggest barrier to the use of such materials gaining a meaningful market penetration.

    When I tell people that this stuff can work, many are in disbelief. I mean, come on! We can send people to the moon. This is just common sense and experience, not rocket science.

  • Atlplasma

    I was interested in the hempwall system but had some concerns about safety after reading an architecture students master’s thesis. Her research results showed that the wall structure could retain enough moisture to support mold growth (even in the presence of lime). I emailed one manufacturer and the folks at Push about my concern but never received a satisfactory answer. I’m sure they were reluctant to dispute the research since it might create a long-term liability situation. It’s really unfortunate since I like the system and was very interested in using it to construct a new home.

    • Anonymous

      Care to share the link? I know from talking to various owner-builder’s that mistakes have been made, whether it’s not using a hydraulic lime or using whole chopped hemp in a mix, instead of hemp hurds (shiv). Even adding too much Portland cement poses an issue. Products like Durisol use a bonding material to enable cellulose to adhere to it. Portland cement repels sugars and acids such as normally found in cellulose. Therefore you need to neutralize the sugars and acids first. And mold would only be an issue during the drying out time; using heat fans or as in Ireland, they are mounting hydronic heating pipes in the walls. Most of the commercial market for hemp walls is moving to prefabrication, so all of these issues would be eliminated. If you’re concerned about mold, you could also add “Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate”, basically a soluble non-toxic boric acid solution. In any case, I’ve toured many hemp homes over the last couple years and none of them had mold issues, I’ve also been to a lot of new conventionally build stick frame houses, and they all had mold issues.

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