Sustainable building is an albatross for a world stranded in the sea of global warming. So many of our resources are tied up in the construction, maintenance and operation of dwellings. And all too often these dwellings have been seen as our combative ways to keep the outside world at bay. Nature, a pox on thee!
The good news is that there are more and more people out there bringing the inside world into closer harmony with the outside world. Ooam. Ooam. No, I don’t mean by focusing your chi or by feng shui or anything hocus pocus. I simply mean it is time to start making homes out of our surroundings instead of trying to separate our homes from our surroundings. It is so much more considerate and less huffy.
Hemp can provide an excellent start when it comes to building with more natural and less processed/refined materials. Hemp is a natural and obvious contender for products such as siding, fiberboard, carpet, shingles, paint, curtains and as a component in cemeotious materials. Think about theses products. This is huge in the building world. These are the sacred cows. If we could use hemp to make concrete, roofing, walls, and flooring…
Well, the truth is that we can. Hempcrete is already being used in multiple applications by mixing hemp, lime, sand, plaster, and cement. I realize you still must use a certain amount of portland cement, but in much less quantities. All of the above listed building materials are being made from hemp as we speak. If only we could freakin’ grow the stuff on location or at least somewhere other than the occasional Native Reservation or Canada.
An acre of hemp can produce up to four times the amount of cellulose fiber pulp than an equal amount of trees. That cellulose is the building block of modern construction. If we could only start taking it from a more sustainable resource like hemp.