It seems that we are transitioning to a very ancient understanding of how to operate here on Earth, with a very advanced ‘know how’ of technologies and methods to begin making that transition. New ways of living are coming to light and although you may not hear about them often, communities all over the world are starting to implement them. A new sustainable housing project in the Northwest of Scotland will use industrial hemp as the main building material. It’s made of a prefabricated wall system called Hembuild, which is a mixture of the plant’s woody core and a lime-based binder. Another popular name for this is Hempcrete. This is something all of our homes should be made of. An English housing company that specializes in hemp-based construction called ‘Hemcrete Projects,’ supplied the system. Two prototype houses have already been completed in the township of Achabeag. Hembuild ticks all of the boxes when it comes to delivering sustainable properties, and the system is ideally suitable for what are two totally different styled houses but which fulfill the requirements of a scheme where the use of natural materials and environmental sustainability are the order of the day- Peter Smith, Roderick James Architects. Hemp has many uses, over 50, 000 to be exact. When it comes to new and sustainable housing ideas, it seems to always be about creating a more efficient home in terms of insulation, light, electricity, etc. Mainstream belief on the subject would have you believe that top corporations and government projects are working with the best possible technology to bring forth solutions that work and that are harmonious with the environment. If that was the case, the entire planet would be using Hemp to build everything. Combined with insulation made from Hemp fibre, Hembuild provides the village in Scotland with houses made from a combination of insulation and thermal inertia. This reduces the energy required for heating. Another advantage of Hembuild is it’s carbon-negative profile. Hemp acts to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by absorbing and trapping CO2 within the Hembuild walls. Furthermore, as a crop, hemp’s fast cultivation cycle makes it a much more sustainable material than traditional timber. Hempcrete is very versatile as it can be used for wall insulation, flooring, walls, roofing and more. It is completely fireproof, water-proof, and rot-proof as long as it’s above ground.
The mixture creates a negative carbon footprint for those who are concerned with the carbon side of things. Hempcrete is a much more versatile, easy to work with and more pliable material than concrete. Earthquakes can’t even crack these structures because they are 3 times more resistant than regular concrete. Lime is the binding material, which means contractors do not have to use heat like they do when they create concrete. This results in a large amount of energy conservation when producing Hempcrete. Hemp requires no fertilizer, weed killer pesticide or fungicide to grow.
The hemp seed can be harvested as a nutritious food rich in Omega-3 oil, amino acids, protein and fiber. It is considered a “super food.” The outer fibers can be used for clothes, paper and numerous everyday items. This truly is a very powerful plant and should be a no-brainer when it comes to it being used as a mainstream product. Again, if governments and corporations were really concerned about the environment, like they so often claim to be, they would implement these news ways of operating. It’s becoming evident that those within this arena really have no interest in creating a sustainable future with harmonious living conditions for the people. If we want change, we can’t keep looking to them. This is something we have to do ourselves. If we did have an organization in place who’s main priority was the well being of all people, in place of the government and the corporations that run it, things could be a lot different.
These unique properties continue to make hemp a popular choice for Eco-friendly housing projects all over the globe. Hemp based materials have already been used to build houses in Canada, the U.S. and other parts of Europe.
The Scotland project will be building 20 houses in total. Sources: http://www.truthonpot.com/2013/09/06/scotland-village-houses-being-built-with-hemp/ http://www.greenbuildingpress.co.uk/article.php?article_id=1546 .
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