Hemp could be key to zero-carbon houses

Apr 09, 2009

Hemp, a plant from the cannabis family, could be used to build carbon-neutral homes of the future to help combat climate change and boost the rural economy, say researchers at the University of Bath.

A consortium, led by the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials based at the University, has embarked on a unique housing project to develop the use of hemp-lime construction materials in the UK.

Hemp-lime is a lightweight composite building material made of fibres from the fast growing plant, bound together using a lime-based adhesive. The hemp plant stores carbon during its growth and this, combined with the low carbon footprint of and its very efficient insulating properties, gives the material a ‘better than zero carbon’ footprint.

Professor Pete Walker, Director of the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, explained: “We will be looking at the feasibility of using hemp-lime in place of traditional materials, so that they can be used widely in the building industry.

“We will be measuring the properties of lime-hemp materials, such as their strength and durability, as well as the of buildings made of these materials.

“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.

 “Growing crops such as hemp can also provide economic and social benefits to rural economies through new agricultural markets for farmers and associated industries.”

Provided by University of Bath

Explore further: Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Swedish hemp farmer wins green prize

Nov 30, 2007

A Swedish hemp farmer was given an environmental prize in his local community for his efforts to fight a ban on the growing of industrial hemp.

Study explores mysteries of Kilimanjaro

Sep 12, 2006

Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest mountain with some intriguing mysteries that are just now being solved after more than 100 years of scientific study.

Can hemp help the everglades?

Aug 06, 2007

Within Southern Florida, soil and water conditions indicate potential for leaching from the use of atrazine-based herbicides in corn crops. Scientists from USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University ...

Toward greener, more energy-efficient buildings

Nov 17, 2008

In the face of growing environmental concerns and a renewed interest in energy efficiency, the construction of homes and businesses that emphasize "green" construction materials is on the rise, according to an article scheduled ...

Recommended for you

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

LA mayor plans 7,000 police body cameras in 2015

Dec 16, 2014

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a plan Tuesday to equip 7,000 Los Angeles police officers with on-body cameras by next summer, making LA's police department the nation's largest law enforcement agency to move ...

Merriam-Webster names 'culture' word of the year

Dec 15, 2014

A nation, a workplace, an ethnicity, a passion, an outsized personality. The people who comprise these things, who fawn or rail against them, are behind Merriam-Webster's 2014 word of the year: culture.

In Curiosity Hacked, children learn to make, not buy

Dec 14, 2014

With her right hand, my 8-year-old daughter, Kalian, presses the red-hot soldering iron against the circuit board. With her left hand, she guides a thin, tin wire until it's pressing against both the circuit board and the ...

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

LariAnn
5 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2009
Here's an example of a solution that could be hindered due to irrational hysteria and the "war on drugs", even though hemp does not have any of the psychoactive compounds in it that marijuana does. Hemp products are sold in the USA but they have to be imported because growing hemp is illegal in the USA due to that same irrational hysteria.
Bob_B
5 / 5 (2) Apr 09, 2009
W. R. Hearst, a newspaper magnet just wanted to use trees for paper. He was the major player in getting hemp banned. Thank you Patty Hearst for remaining so silent on this issue.
NeilFarbstein
1 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2009
What are lime based adhesives? Can they be used in cement blocks?
Agrippa
4 / 5 (2) May 04, 2009
Yet another idea for possibly cheaper and cleaner home building will be scrubbed by the powers that be, meaning the rich and greedy.
jerryd
5 / 5 (1) Jun 07, 2009

Lime is the old type of plaster. I personally wouldn't use it but viable in a very dry climate.
Hemp can be used as a reinforcement in cement but much better as cloth or fuels.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.