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

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User comments : 5

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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.