Hemp can be used in various aspects of construction:
- Insulation – replacing glass fiber batts, hurd/shiv can be loosely blown into building cavities.
- MDF boards and plywood substitutes
- Beams and and structural materials
- Interior and exterior walls made from hemp concrete
- Oil in paints and varnishes
- Carpet backing and furnishings
- Plastic plumbing pipes from renewable hemp cellulose, in fact plumbers have continued to use plumbers hemp fibre on their pipe joins as it swells and locks and is able to be undone easily compared to the synthetic alternatives
In 1916, Bulletin 404, produced by the United States Department of Agriculture noted that hemp
can produce as much cellulose fibre pulp as 4.1 acres of trees.
This means it is a practical, inexpensive, sustainable source of raw materials to produce fire resistant construction materials, with excellent thermal and sound insulating qualities, rot resistant and does not produce poisonous fumes if burnt (if you can get it to burn at all)
Hempcrete is made from a mixture of hurd/shiv, lime and water, mixed like concrete and pressed between boxing to form an interior and exterior wall, all in one go.
It is a 6th of the weight of concrete, doesn’t require reinforcing, as the fibrous nature of the wall helps it to bind and hold together. The process is energy efficient and does not use synthetic chemicals. The hemp absorbs Co2 when it is grown and as hemp concrete it continues to sequester even more Co2 as it cures and improves over time, at the end of its useful life it can then be recycled.