The construction industry is focusing more and more on finding and adopting new ecologically friendly building practices during the last years. The quest for greener materials isn’t always easy. However, there are some materials which could change completely the way we build. With no doubt hempcrete is such an example.
We are talking about a building material which revolutionize the construction process and significantly reduce the impact of the industry on the environment. It is also considered to be a very smart choice in terms of cost and efficiency during the building procedure. Hempcrete isn’t yet the leading player of our industry but there already are high hopes about it. Before we describe some of its strongest advantages and of its future applications in construction, it would be a good idea to offer some more details on what hempcrete actually is.
What Hempcrete Actually Is
Hempcrete is an eco-friendly material which originates from the plant called hemp. More specifically, hemp’s shiv is mixed with lime and water for hempcrete to be produced. Hempcrete is highly adaptable and it can be used in a number of different construction tasks. Some very representative examples could be roofing, insulation and flooring. Due to its substance, it’s a material that can easily be transformed and take different schemes. On top of that, it’s water and fire resistant and it can successfully absorb mold. Because of that, it’s expected to be a powerful construction material in the near future.
Its strongest point is regarded to be insulation. The ability of absorbing moisture and releasing back to the environment according to the current needs of its surroundings makes hempcrete an admirable material. Furthermore, it has a remarkable resistance against earthquakes. An interesting but necessary remark about hempcrete is, of course, that it’s a perfect fit for above the ground usage only.
At the moment, it’s used in a wide variety of building structures from regular homes to offices and shops. But of course, it still has a long way to go before it takes over the whole industry. In a nutshell, the traits that make hempcrete such a unique material is its endurance to extreme conditions in combination with its low cost and its non-toxic substance. Now, that we have a more complete image about the characteristics of hempcrete it would be useful to analyze with more detail some of its benefits.
Benefits of Using Hempcrete
Hempcrete has plenty of benefits for the buildings process and it can bring a new era for the construction industry as a whole. We have listed some of its main advantages below:
- Fire and water-proof material
Hempcrete is a very strong and durable component. Its fire and water-resistant texture offers increased safety both during the building procedure and after it. Especially in areas where floods or fires can be an issue, due to the environmental conditions, hempcrete can offer a significant safety and protection boost for the residents of the building.
A common hussle for the majority of buildings around us undoubtedly is mold. Hempcrete can be the perfect answer to this problem. To be more specific, hempcrete has the ability to absorb humidity. In that way, it can store moisture instead of allowing mold to appear. What’s more, when the environment is dry hempcrete has the ability to release humidity back in the environment. It becomes clear, then, that hempcrete can be the perfect choice when we are talking about insulation. It can successfully substitute the extra layer of insulation on the wall in a totally natural way.
- Energy saving material
Due to its texture, hempcrete can offer great help in saving energy during its production. If we were trying to compare it with concrete, we would notice that it requires much less heating thanks to the presence of lime. That being said, hempcrete can bring on the table a way greener solution than concrete.
Another great benefit of hempcrete is its pest-resistance. The best example regarding this comes from Australia where the problem with a number of insects is part of the everyday life. Hempcrete has the ability to keep insects like fire ants away with no need for pesticides or other toxic substances.
- It minimizes material-waste
Hempcrete can play an essential role in the big problem of material-waste, as well. The fact that it can be function as an excellent fertilizer helps a lot in cases where there is more hempcrete than necessary. In that sense, we can refer to hempcrete as a recyclable material and an exceptional choice for green building.
- Great durability
Finally, thanks to the process of the lime through the years hempcrete has the ability to become stronger and stronger and hard as a rock. This offers it great durability through the years and it allows it to stand strong for hundreds of years in unlike concrete which may last up to 100 years in the best of cases.
The Future of Hempcrete
It is understandable that hempcrete has a lot to offer to the construction industry, if used correctly. At the moment, it’s a material that does its first steps in construction and that has some very useful applications in other fields as we saw above. For example, it can be part of the clothing industry thanks to its outer fibers. On top of that, it also can be used for the production of paper. Hemp can also be regarded as a very nutritious food source due to its high concentration in protein, fiber and other substances. All these usages of hempcrete are expected to expand even more in the near future.
Coming back to the construction industry, though, what we should expect from hempcrete in the near future is the further optimization of the building process and the promotion of a greener construction. More analytically, the wider use of hempcrete will allow for more sustainable and cheap housing. This can help essentially in the reduction of the house prices. Moreover, this reduction in price will come with an augmentation in quality due to the higher insulation standards that hempcrete will establish in the industry. Higher efficiency in terms of energy saving is expected.
Hempcrete can be the answer to many everyday problems in construction. Nevertheless, there are still many things that need to be done. It is indicative that hemp is even today illegal in some places around the globe. Keeping that mind, it becomes understood that there has to be a thorough dialogue within the industry for the realization of the full potential that hempcrete has to offer.
About the author: Anastasios Koutsogiannis is marketing coordinator in GenieBelt.