It is challenging to find the correct material for building your home, but what if you knew that there was healthy, durable, sustainable, carbon neutral and easily obtainable material available for you to build from?
There is a composite created from industrial hemp plant fibers which are then mixed with lime – its name is hempcrete and the US is ready for a hempcrete boom.
While people are devising new ways in which to create low-cost, sustainable resources to replace the more traditional products, like petrochemical materials or wood, green building replacements are taking their place. As people learn more about hemp and its benefits, the negative views related to hemp are decreasing rapidly and the benefits are becoming increasingly popular with green building developers. This is due to its particular health benefits for dwellers, low production and building costs, modular design and therefore, could even help solve the affordable housing crisis of America.
Being promoted so highly by leading professionals of the building industry, such as Greg Flavall, the CEO of Hemp Technologies, could easily and quickly enable this boom to happen. Having used hempcrete to build a vast number of homes, Flavall stated that he’s “never seen anything like it” and having researched other materials for building “hemp wins by far hands down…it’s just an awesome material.” High praise from someone who has tested and used many other materials for comparable jobs, such as corn stalks, linseed oil stalks, wood, and flax.
Hemp Technologies, overseen by Flavall, created the first legally allowed hemp home to be built in North America, occurring in North Carolina in 2009. But with the legal uncertainties surrounding hemp, Flavall went to New Zealand where the crop had already been legalized specifically for building material used. Flavall has traveled extensively aiding in the creation of hempcrete structures since 2009, helping with a large array of projects from wine tasting rooms through to jungle cabanas, and now with hemp increasing in demand at such a rapid rate, his expertise is much in demand in the US, as well.
In our recent meeting with Flavall, we were excited to learn that he has recently undertaken a home retrofit that he hopes will soon be part of an upcoming TV show about hempcrete homes. He hopes that the program will educate the viewers on the positive aspects of this new, green building material and increase its popularity, demand, and usage.
Hempcrete H.A.S it all – it’s Healthy, Affordable and Sustainable
We’ve all heard of cannabis, right? Well, agricultural hemp is closely related to the well-known psychoactive, but where marijuana is grown solely for its flowery tops to enable users to “get high”, hemp is not. Instead, hemp is grown for the use of its fibrous, tall and leafy stalks which are often compared to that of bamboo in their appearance. Hempcrete itself is created through the use of hemp shivs – the woody core of the stalks – more commonly known as hurd. The shivs are chipped, added to a mix of water and lime binder which later forms the hempcrete. Hempcrete is formed as slabs with the appearance of earthy concrete which is appealing to the masses.
Due to the dramatically low amount of pesticides required to produce hemp, it can be grown in smaller, more dense plots and it is, therefore, a much more viable and sustainable option than other crops. Flavall has also reported the “reductions in health care cost[s]…because of living in a hemp building” which shows another pro of living in hempcrete constructions, though more scientific research is needed to support his claims fully.
Similar to the hemp plant itself, hempcrete is pest resistant, hard-wearing, and fire retardant. These are very important benefits in environments considering the use of hempcrete, such as New Zealand, where large downpours, seismic tremors, and fires are all frequent occurrences. Flavall has absolutely no reservations in using hempcrete in construction to overcome these difficulties, though – he has absolute faith in his product, commenting that “hempcrete works so extremely well. It dries out…continues to breathe, and…makes the indoor quality of living phenomenal.” He explained to us that as the hempcrete dries, carbon dioxide produced by occupants is absorbed, grows harder and essentially turns to stone.
The building increases in strength due to this but this also enables hempcrete to be seen as a carbon-negative material for building because it emits fewer greenhouse gases than it produces. Even when hempcrete has turned to stone it remains a “breathable” material. Flavall informed us that even when in its the stone state, hempcrete homes are rainproof but internal permeable gases and moisture are still able to escape, which means that homes made from hempcrete are much less prone to mold and their occupants have visibly seen their health improve.
Despite the majority of hemp that is used in the US currently being transported from overseas, Flavall insists that his calculations can prove that hempcrete buildings still remain carbon neutral. Even with the cost of transportation, the use of hempcrete remains a surprisingly affordable option for building, as it always meets but often beats the cost of more common building materials when priced up for up-front costs used correctly, but then also saves the homeowner money on heating and cooling bills throughout the buildings lifetime.
The Petersen’s Perfect Project
Stacey Petersen was attracted towards using hempcrete right from the start, as her family had a “passion for natural building.” Therefore, in December 2017, Flavall and Hemp Technologies combined in partnership in order to lead the extensive hempcrete retrofit of the Petersen’s family home in Missouri. Thanks to the ease of use of hempcrete, this meant that anyone and everyone was able to help in the building process, and this added to the advantages of hempcrete for the Petersen’s. Mrs. Petersen stated that “it’s not rocket science to build like this…it really brings people together”, later adding that she saw the hempcrete insulation process as a “relationship builder” because of its inclusive construction approach.
In the short period of time since finishing this retrofit project, Stacey and her husband Jon, have already begun planning their latest hemp project which they plan to create from leftover supplies, perhaps “a greenhouse or mother-in-law cottage”, they stated. They also spoke to us about their use of CBD oil (know where to buy CBD oil near you: pure CBD oil near me) to aid and relieve symptoms for their 10-year-old son, who suffers from epilepsy. Research surrounding CBD oil and its effect on children with epilepsy is growing and the effects on their son, Jeriah, have been very encouraging. CBD is not a miracle cure for children with epilepsy, but there is clear evidence that the supplement has been able to reduce seizure numbers.
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For the Petersen family, it has been incremental in weaning Jeriah off certain other medications that they felt were exacerbating his symptoms. The Petersen’s told us about a child they knew about in Colorado who had been trying to wean of particular drugs for 18 months and still remains semi-reliant, but with the aid of the best CBD oil without THC “we were able to do it in about two months.”
The family are continuing with their use of CBD to aid Jeriah and informed us that his condition was actually the inspiration for their hempcrete retrofit, as Jeriah is a wheelchair user, Mr and Mrs Petersen disclosed to us that “obviously he has a lot of challenges so we need the healthiest living environment possible for him” and this was used in the Petersen’s appeal of hempcrete. She later added that the fact that hempcrete is fire resistant, termite resistant and requires minimal upkeep also swayed her choice of building material – “Anything to make my life more simple” – and we absolutely agree with her!
Futuristic and Famous
The Petersen’s decision to use hempcrete to build their new home has been viewed as somewhat revolutionary and was therefore filmed to feature in the new TV series, HT Global Hemp House Build, in partnership with Flavall and Diana Oliver, the producer of the Hempsters documentary series. Many of the episodes for the new TV series have already been filmed, though much-needed sponsorship is still being sourced for the program to be able to continue.
Oliver and Flavall piloted their first episode back in 2011, but with the shocking death of Dave Madera (Flavall’s business partner), the length of the project was decreased. However, the first episode of the TV series has been created in special memory of Madera.
Flavall went back to using hempcrete for his projects specifically in the US and decided it was time for the TV show to be revived and Oliver agreed, telling us that “it’s a homeowners dream to lessen their carbon footprint and build a beautiful house to last generations.” With interest and demand for both hemp and hempcrete increasing and being at an all-time high, Flavall felt the show couldn’t air at a more perfect time. Despite the fact that he has legally been using hempcrete for building purposes for over a decade, he feels that the increase of popularity and interest shown by people wanting to use hempcrete for their building projects, is actually all thanks to the publicity and legalization of marijuana across the US, with people commenting frequently to Flavall that if “it’s legal to smoke, it’s legal to build with.”
The future is bright for Flavall, who is determined that his next career move is to change the affordable housing crisis that is widespread across the US. He hopes to do this by creating hempcrete add-on units to homes that already exist. It seems that Flavalls’ ideas are popular as he has had many requests for help with additional space requirements for multi-purpose use. Examples of customer requirements range from garage retrofits through to new build, free-standing granny flats. With hempcrete being so cost-effective, additional space can be created and families can be brought together. In effect, Flavall commented, hemp enables families to “bring their mom or dad home, or bring the kids home”, adding that hempcrete building “creates additional space with low impact…” at low cost.
Thanks to the growing interest for green building and with the need for “tiny homes” increasing rapidly, Flavall sees a big, promising and long-term future for hempcrete throughout the US, suspecting that it will reach further across the globe, too. What do you think? Tell us at https://cbdoiladviser.com/.