The construction trade accounts for a large portion of the world’s CO2 emissions. Even after they’re constructed, buildings continue to emit environment-impacting CO2. The call for greener buildings has been getting louder, and in the face of these demands, UK company LHoist has developed a wall material that’s not only carbon neutral – it’s carbon negative. Long-time greenies won’t be surprised to learn that the miracle material is actually hemp.
Tradical Hemcrete isn’t a high-tech solution to climate change. It’s simple, and it’s effective: it’s a light concrete made of hemp, water, and a lime binder. When the hemp grows, it sequesters carbon inside each plant, which is then effectively trapped there for good. At the same time, the plants release clean oxygen into the air. Even when you take the carbon footprint of the lime binder into consideration, Hemcrete overall removes more carbon from the environment than it contributes.
Unlike some other eco-friendly building materials, Hemcrete isn’t at all inferior to standard materials. It’s strong and durable, and it’s just as easy to use as standard materials. What’s even better is its versatility: it can be used for wall insulation, flooring and roofing, and it’s fire-proof, water-proof, and rot-proof as long as it’s above ground.
Hemcrete is so environmentally friendly that the manufacturers claim it can be broken down and spread on fields as a fertilizer after it’s lived out its useful life. It’s ultimately very renewable, since hemp plants are mature after 14 weeks of growth.
Hemp has been used for a wide variety of applications for thousands of years. Its modern resurgence among eco-minded consumers has been somewhat hindered by laws governing its growth. Certain types of hemp can’t be grown in certain parts of the world, and it just so happens that the type of hemp used to make Hemcrete is illegal in the US. That’s made it difficult (and expensive) for people in the US who want to build with it, but it is now available in the US – if you’re willing to pay a handsome price for it.