Using hemp building materials for construction isn’t an entirely new idea, but recent startups are exploring new ways to use hemp in stronger and more eco-friendly products. After industrial hemp cultivation was legalized in 2018, one particular startup located in Kentucky announced that they plan to use hemp fiber to make “wood”, including flooring and blocks that mimic hardwoods like oak. This would represent a significant step forward for hemp construction around the world.
What Is Hemp and How Is It Used in Construction?
The main barrier to developing hemp building materials in the United States is the plant’s connection to marijuana. Both plants are strains of Cannabis sativa, but hemp won’t get you high — no matter how much of it you smoke. By definition, hemp contains 0.3% THC or less, so it provides little in the way of euphoria.
Instead, hemp’s most valuable components are the fine bast, which can be used to make textiles and paper, and the woody hurds (called shives) in the inner stem that can be used for building. In the past, hemp has been used to make rope as well as fabric and paper. Today, the possibilities continue to grow.
Hemp Building Materials Inspired by Southern Europe
The French have led the way when it comes to hemp construction techniques. In the 6th century, a bridge abutment in France was created using hemp-filled mortar, and more recently, French restorationists have started replacing wattle and daub in medieval (timber-framed) buildings with a special mixture of hemp and lime.
This same hemp-lime combination forms the basis of our modern hempcrete — an infill material made from a mixture of hemp hurds with lime and water. The advantages of hempcrete include effective sound and heat insulation, fire resistance, mold-resistance, and a much lighter weight than concrete.
HempWood — The Newest Innovation in Hemp Building Materials
Hempcrete is already a success in modern building projects today. Now, Greg Wilson from Fibonacci has set himself a new goal: to create hardwood lookalikes from the hard fibrous stalks of hemp just like others have done with bamboo.
The idea behind HempWood technology is to take the inner fibers and bind them together using a protein-based adhesive. The density of the resulting wood can be reverse-engineered to replicate most of the available kinds of hardwood, saving up to 60 years of forest growth.
Discover the Delights of Hemp at HerbKing
If you find hemp building materials as fascinating as we do here at HerbKing, we think you’ll love our line of high-quality dried hemp flowers, concentrates, and edibles. All of our products comply with federal regulations and offer lab-tested quality at an accessible price. Discover one of the most trusted brands in the hemp industry — shop our hemp online today.