BUILDING WITH HEMP
Building a sustainable, green home is an integral part of a lifestyle that minimises a person’s carbon footprint. Hempcrete building blocks are an attractive solution for those who want an alternative material to those used in conventional construction.
Advantages of Building with Hemp
There are many advantages to using ECOblocks and, in a relatively short time, they have revolutionised the construction industry by providing an affordable, high-performance, environmentally friendly product that will continue to benefit the planet long into the future.
Industrially grown hemp is a crop that thrives a range of soils and climates, so is an ideal proposition in the potential supply of locally sourced building materials. Because it’s such a fast-growing crop – usually ready for harvesting after only 3-4 months and for processing about 2 weeks later – its renewable properties make it an excellent alternative to other, more conventional, raw materials.
Hemp blocks are very strong, light in weight and extremely durable, affording the confidence of a high-performing result, not only in terms of aesthetics but also fire resistance, humidity regulation and thermal and acoustic efficiency.
The blocks are produced from limestone and hemp hurd, the inner part of the plant’s stem. The incredible carbon sequestering properties of the hemp plant means that the finished product is actually carbon negative – meaning that the amount of carbon emitted in their harvesting and processing is less than that absorbed during the life and growth of the plant. That’s correct: a 100% carbon negative building material.
Hemp blocks have brilliant self-regulating insulation properties, which means they are extremely efficient in both heating and cooling – the end result of which is that energy costs of the home will be substantially lower.
The superior level of thermal insulation of using this natural material is almost impossible to match with conventional building materials. For example, if you use a traditional double clay brick wall with an air gap and with 8 cm of cork insulation sandwiched in the middle, you will still only get about 75% of the thermal insulation provided by a single 30 cm hemp block wall.
These bricks also help create an environment that promotes healthy living, with the ability to regulate humidity and act as a repellent to mould, bacteria, viruses and other toxins.
Most critically for the construction industry, hemp blocks are naturally fire resistant. You won’t need to add repellants or additional materials to guarantee the safety of your structure.
Rigorously tested and certified ECOblocks are produced in various sizes and widths, which makes them ideal for multiple purposes in the construction of a new home or the insulation (or renovation) of an existing one.
- Exterior walls: blocks around 20-30 cm thick can be used with any kind of frame for exterior and division walls. They offer superior insulation affording natural, highly-efficient year-round cooling and heating.
- Interior walls: thinner 10-15 cm blocks are suitable for any and all interior walls.
- Insulating existing structures: depending on requirements and budget, various widths can be used for insulation of existing structures, both internally and externally.
- Floors and ceilings: 10-20 cm blocks are suitable for use on floors and in ceilings, providing a durable and versatile finish.
- Interlocking and load bearing blocks: similar to the concept of Lego, hemp blocks can be used as an alternative to concrete cinder blocks. Their load bearing properties are achieved by an innovative structure within the brick itself that protrudes and ‘locks’ into the adjoining one.
As well as providing an eco-friendly, sustainable building solution in the form of hemp blocks, this highly versatile raw material is also used in a variety of other applications in the construction industry. These include:
Used as both exterior and interior wall cladding, which can offer an alternative to corrugated steel, bitumen, PVC and cement. Can be produced in any size depending on requirements.
Used for safe, touchable, highly effective thermal insulation.
When used as plaster it has a wonderful stucco-like finish that has the added benefits of a protectant sealing finish. It can also be used in benches and countertops.
It can be combined with a lime binder to create a slurry (in the same way as cement) and poured into wooden frames to form a wall, or be projected on the wall for use as insulation.
Towards a Sustainable Future
As an alternative to carbon-intensive concrete (and other conventional building materials),
ECOblocks are one of the most versatile, eco-friendly and affordable materials to design and construct a truly ‘living and breathing’ space.
Suitable for any low-carbon residential build or renovation (with potential to scale up), the research and development that has gone into the production of this innovative and sustainable product is a massive step in the fight against the climate emergency.
If you are considering ECOblocks for your build, or if you are looking into different options for sustainable construction, get in touch with us at Cânhamor..