The founder of Tiny Hemp Houses, who is also the educational director at Hemp Solutions, John Patterson gives insights to Ministry of Hemp about using hemp to build green.
Tiny Hemp Houses is revolutionizing the construction industry with new technologies that are helping builders achieve better standards cost-effectively.
Tiny Hemp Houses has embarked on a program to sensitize the public on the use of hempcrete within the construction industry. This mixture of hemp is a natural alternative to synthetic paint and dry walls. It is a more sustainable way of avoiding the use of hazardous materials for numerous industrial applications. Building classes by Tiny Hemp Houses ensure that the knowledge on hempcrete is disseminated widely to the public.
For an in-depth look at the benefits of hempcrete within the construction industry and hemp in general including hemp products such as CBD oil or capsules. We speak to John in an extensive interview;
Hi John, thanks for taking the time. To kick it off, could you share your background and your role in the hemp community today?
JP: The difficulty of getting hold of materials that are environmentally friendly for construction led me to an interesting path. Being a carpenter my entire life put me in a position to explore ways to build durable houses that are ecological.
The pursuit of a “green” way to bring to life durable buildings led me to explore a variety of ingredients such as straws. My search started online about 4–5 years ago when I ramped up my efforts to find an alternative that is compatible with the building but retains an edge for sustainability and eco-friendliness.
It was a revolutionary moment when I chanced upon a hemp building class. It was an opening I couldn’t resist and there were no regrets. Later on, when I gained considerable knowledge of the use of hemp in construction I decided to spread what I had learned to as many people as possible. At this point, I started conducting workshops geared towards awareness around hempcrete and how to harness the technology in building hemp houses.
With the expansive knowledge I gained over the years I was given the opportunity six months ago to serve as an Education Director at Hemp Solutions.
How did you first get introduced to hemp and what inspired your passion for it?
JP: It’s actually fascinating that my first encounter with hemp was at an early age. That first contact was at my uncle’s 5-acre farm when I was 8 years old. There was a small lot of hemp growing out in the field. I used to spend a lot of time out there enjoying the farm life which was beautiful by all standards.
When at some point police descended on my uncle’s farm and burnt the hemp field claiming that it was marijuana, I knew they were wrong. I did not have much information on the uses of hemp at that young age, but the police raid left an indelible mark in my mind that there was something unique about the plant.
That curiosity was reignited much later when to my utter surprise I came across the hemp building class and realized that the plant could be used for a variety of purposes in multiple industries.
The potential of hemp to transform society gives me the impetus to be passionate about the plant. With construction growing at unprecedented levels, building materials continue to evolve with a lot of dynamism. Hemp applications are rapidly expanding across several sectors such as safe water where a water filtration system that uses hemp is being developed by Hemp Solutions.
The world is rapidly innovating and the resources that will change the world are no longer necessarily excavated from the ground but can be found growing above it.
Hempcrete is still a foreign concept for the general public – could you provide us an overview of what it is and how it works?
JP: The name hempcrete may be a little misleading for the construction industry. It’s important to clarify that hempcrete is not a substitute for concrete.
Hempcrete is in fact mixture of a binder based on lime and the inner part of the hemp plant. This inner part of the hemp plant is referred to as “hard” and is the material that helps the mixture’s suitability for a thermal wall system. Hempcrete is now considered to be an eco-friendly substitute for house wraps, exterior boardings, insulation, paint, and dry walls.
As I mentioned, hempcrete does not substitute concrete in the construction process. The builder will actually use the regular concrete to build the house from the foundation and up the entire framework. On completion, the hemp-lime binding is used to drape the frame and create a layer that replaces all the components indicated above. You do not need to even use paint on the finished surface.
The advantage of using hempcrete is that it can be applied on multiple surfaces including ceilings, floors, and walls. This natural mixture is an impressive thermal insulator that is safe compared to other insulators creating healthy surroundings for families across the world.
Do you think that the US is behind other industrialized countries in hemp research and development? How do you see that affecting us?
JP: Obviously the U.S. is lagging behind. For example, the United States has managed to erect around ten buildings based on hemp compared to hundreds of structures that come up across Europe every year. Extensive research has been conducted in Europe leading to widespread acceptability. In fact, Europe has employed hemp and lime-based binders in construction for the past two decades.
Regardless of the huge gap between the U.S. and Europe, we do not need to despair. There is a lot to learn from Europe and that gap can be narrowed pretty quickly. The invitations I have received to educate people on hemp building indicate increased interest around the world. I have conducted classes in various cities across the United States as well as in Poland. There is enthusiasm from experts around the world to share with us the knowledge acquired in the hemp industry.
Europe is alive to the fact that the U.S. is slowly warming up to hemp. This realization is incentive enough for them to transfer the knowledge base in anticipation of great opportunities when the market takes off. The United States is a huge market known to infuse innovation and massive demand in a product that offers a customized solution.
Among different hemp applications, what makes the most sense for the US to develop?
JP: This will largely depend on the different climate conditions in North America. This will inform what kind of hemp strains can perform better in those areas. For example, Colorado has established itself as the base for the cultivation of hemp specific for CBD applications. Canada’s climate is more conducive for the cultivation of hemp seed (that usually use to make the best CBD oil for pain), while hemp stalks are more productive in the Southern climates.
The key aspect right now is to focus on creating the market so that farmers can start to grow hemp. When the market is established the demand will be there for farmers to tap into and this will, in turn, create opportunities for those who want to process the hemp. The United States market is huge and can be segmented to have different regions concentrating on different applications. This will provide a diverse marketplace for hemp to create more products like CBD living gummies or bubble gum CBD oil and amazing opportunities also for farmers and entrepreneurs alike.
In my opinion, the United States has huge opportunities waiting if farmers can produce high-quality stalk strain and hurt. This will give incentive to experts and other enthusiasts to come up with innovations that will solve problems across sectors. It will take initiative from the industry to invent new uses in components and expand applications to other industries.
How has the hemp landscape in the US changed while you’ve been involved?
JP: The landscape has massively transformed over the past few years. A good example is the NoCo Hemp Expo. It has grown from that first edition three years ago when it was hosted at a bar to a much bigger venue and a professional approach.
Another pointer is the increase in the number of companies participating in the expo. This is the third year and not only has the number gone up but there are bigger companies taking part, bringing in more investments and raising the event’s profile with innovative marketing and fancy brochures. This is attracting attention from serious entrepreneurs and generating a lot of interest from large-scale farmers.
Previously, it was a question of whether people could make money out of hemp. Today the awareness is gaining momentum and the level of interest is exceptional with investors putting money into hemp. Production is also increasing in Europe and Canada as more farmers embrace the crop.
How do you see the hemp industry continuing to change in the near future? What is your biggest concern?
JP: Our biggest concern is the legal status. Hemp is still illegal at the federal level and this is a major concern for all of us. Farmers are turned off when they realize the plant is illegal. The big farmers are watching from the periphery because they are scared of going to jail. Hemp will only gain momentum when these farmers come on board.
We, therefore, need to strengthen the movement and engage regulators to turn things around towards legalization. If we procrastinate then the interest from the public will wane leading to a continued ban on hemp even when it’s clear that it is harmless.
I agree that the timeline of deregulation is probably the biggest risk for hemp’s future in the US. But on the flip side, what excites you the most?
JP: The most exciting element at this point in time is the momentum we’ve picked over several years. It is promising to see that we are getting attention from the public as well as regulators and this will help to expedite the process of lifting the federal ban on hemp.
We are working on a hemp-based water filtration system that will be safe and natural. We have seen other technical applications of hemp in different industries such as the automobile, paper and what we have discussed in construction. All these applications and new ones form part of an exciting future.
Numerous companies and institutions are already conducting research on various uses of hemp. It shows a market that is ready for takeoff once the plant is legalized. It is a tragedy that we have lived with a lie for a very long time underutilizing the world’s most useful plant.
What type of impact do you want to make for hemp?
JP: The awareness campaign is aimed not only at reversing the historical injustice to this great plant but to educate the masses about the life-changing uses that can be developed for local economies.
It is important for communities to realize the full potential of hemp as an industrial crop and the benefits of a bio-based economy. CBD Oil Adviser helps to enlighten about health.