Although not a direct replacement for concrete, hempcrete has many benefits as a building material.
It has become almost a cliché to discuss the benefits of hemp, the supposed wonder plant with almost endless uses— from woven fibers to edible seeds to bioplastics. “Of course, hemp is that magic crop that does everything,” says Nicholas Carter, an environmental researcher who, along with Tushar Mehta, a Toronto-based doctor, runs the website Plant Based Data. His work involves reading through scientific papers and studies and summarizing the most important work supporting plants as a source of food and other important uses. Given the hype, Carter wondered just how much power hemp really had. “I wanted to see the research out there on it, to see what’s actually real, what’s actually backed by evidence,” he says.
Magic? Not exactly. But Carter came away from his attempted debunking a hemp believer. And one of the most promising of its many uses, he found, is its application as a building material known as hempcrete.
Like its namesake concrete, hempcrete is a material mixed with a binder that hardens it into a solid in the form of blocks and panels. Made from the dried woody core of hemp stalks and a lime-based binder, hempcrete can be cast just like concrete. But unlike concrete and its binding cement, which accounts for about 8% of human-generated carbon dioxide emissions annually, hempcrete actually sequesters CO2. According to a recent study, hempcrete can sequester 307 kilograms of CO2 per cubic meter (19 pounds per cubic foot), roughly the equivalent of the annual carbon emissions of three refrigerators.Continue reading… “OF HEMP’S MANY USES, ONE OF THE MOST PROMISING COULD BE IN CONSTRUCTION”