Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

Add to My MSN

Hemp for Homes

4/20/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: hemp, zero-carbon, renewable

At Natural Home, we’ve been singing the praises of hemp as a durable, antimicrobial fiber for use in home textiles for a decade. We love this “weed” because it requires no pesticides or fertilizers to grow; it’s a readily renewable resource. Judging from your response to our call to legalize cultivation of hemp—currently banned in the United States because the miracle plant is a distant cousin to marijuana—we see that many of you agree.

Hemp plant
Hemp is a readily renewable resource that requires no pesticides or fertilizers to grow. Photo By Edward the Bonobo/Courtesy Flickr 

Now, researchers at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom have found yet another use for hemp—as a building block for zero-carbon homes. The university’s BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials is developing ways to use hemp-lime materials to construct homes.

According to the university’s website, hemp-lime is a lightweight material composed of hemp fibers that are fastened together with a lime-based adhesive. Professor Pete Walker, director of the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, says this new composite material could replace conventional building materials, providing strength and durability and improving the overall energy efficiency of homes. “Using renewable crops to make building materials makes real sense—it only takes an area the size of a rugby pitch four months to grow enough hemp to build a typical three-bedroom house,” Walker says. “Growing crops such as hemp can also provide economic and social benefits to rural economies through new agricultural markets for farmers and associated industries.”

Last year we reported on similar work being done by Stemergy, a global supplier of renewable biofiber products in Ontario, Canada (where growing hemp is legal). This company is combining hemp and flax fiber with materials such as wood, concrete and plastics to make new composite substances that can be used in compression-molded panels for doors, cabinets, furniture, wall partitions and decking. “Hemp is high in performance and low in cost,” explains Stemergy president Geof Kime.

These innovations are promising; hemp could be a huge boon to both green building and our struggling economy. And, sadly, all this innovation is happening outside the United States because cultivating hemp is still illegal here. Let your congressional representatives know you’d like to see the United States reap the benefits of hemp in home construction and interiors. Hemp’s time has come. Let’s not get left behind.



Related Content

Choose a Dandelion Weeder: Pulling Weeds, Not Your Back

Pick the right dandelion weeder, and ridding your lawn and garden of dandelions becomes more game th...

Fiber Cement Siding

If you’re looking for a durable option to protect your new house or building, consider fiber cement ...

Fiber is My Friend

A diet rich in fiber really can make you feel better.

3 Reasons to Legalize Hemp

Here are three great reasons that hemp cultivation should be legal in the United States: food, healt...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

Nate
3/18/2011 10:02:11 PM
Thanks for this article. We need more exposure to cannabis. The plant (even medicinal grade) is less toxic than a potato. Sadly, it is still cost prohibitive to use empcrete or other composite fiber construction materials in the USA. Hempcrete is considered carbon negative. I work in Wisconsin with Madison NORML and Wisconsin NORML and encourage you also support similar organizations working to change the law.










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.