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Builder touts ancient materials, low carbon footprint
By TONY EVANS, Express Staff Writer
Local builder Blake Eagle and his wife, Angie, began researching healthy and sustainable building materials about four years ago for use in a house they planned to build in the Northridge subdivision of Hailey. They settled on a material with high thermal mass that does not require the usual amount of chemicals and vapor barriers used in conventional construction.
“It just makes sense to build our living environment using natural, breathable materials in a healthy, sustainable manner as our budget allows,” Blake Eagle said.
It took the couple nine months to receive permitting from the city of Hailey to proceed with construction of their two-story, wood-framed Northridge home. The delay was due to their decision to use a thick layer of hemp and a non-concrete lime binder in the walls of the building. The material is poured like concrete into forms surrounding the framing and replaces insulation in the walls.
Hemp is a low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) variety of the plant Cannabis sativa. THC is the compound that gives cannabis its intoxicating effect. Estimates indicate that of the approximately 2,000 cannabis plant varieties known, about 90 percent contain only low-grade THC and are most useful for their fiber, seeds and medicinal or psychoactive oils.
“People keep asking me if they can smoke my house,” Eagle said with a laugh.
This versatile, green building material is banned from commercial production in the U.S.
By Jon Walton, Construction Digital
The farcical war on drugs that has incarcerated millions, cost taxpayers billions, and led to the deaths of untold numbers of domestic and international civilians, is also smothering an industry with the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of the building sector, one of the largest polluters on the planet.
Hemp, the fibrous material from low-TCH strains of the Cannabis plant, has uses ranging from food to medicine, clothing, paper, and even construction. When hemp is combined with lime, you get a carbon-negative building material with greater flexibility and only 15 percent of the density of traditional concrete. Called hempcrete, this insulating and moisture regulating mixture is hard to come by in the United States, as the Cannabis plant is currently federally prohibited from being used in industrial production.
Hempcrete lacks the compressive strength of traditional concrete, however, and requires an additional framing element to support vertical loads – but its other properties would make it an attractive alternative building material, if not for hemp’s legal status.
By Drew Guarini, Huffington Post
Imagine you had a building material that was energy-efficient, non-toxic and resistant to mold, insects and fire. The material may even have a higher R-value, or thermal resistance, than concrete, a claim that is still being investigated. The only problem? The base of the Hempcrete creation is hemp, which comes from the cannabis sativa plant -- the same one that produces marijuana, which is a federally banned substance. Because of this, industrial hemp production is illegal in the United States.
Still, the Hempcrete mixture of hemp, lime and water is being used to some extent for construction jobs across America. One of the companies working with Hempcrete is Hemp Technologies, a construction company based in North Carolina that is adamant about the advantages of building using Hempcrete. They’ve built homes out of hemp in Hawaii, Texas, Idaho and North Carolina, where they are currently working on a project known as "NauHaus."
Jeffrey Head, LA Times
Woody Harrelson championed the environmental benefits of hemp. Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein incorporated it into their collections. Now a company promoting hemp as the eco-building material of the moment said it wants to build California's first hemp house.
Hemp Technologies said it wants to use hemp-based materials to construct a 500-square-foot structure at the ruins of Knapp's Castle near Santa Barbara. The castle, completed in 1920, was built for Union Carbide founder George Owen Knapp but destroyed by wildfire in 1940. Since then, all that has remained on the property are the sandstone blocks outlining the once-grand estate.
The principal material for the project is Hempcrete, made of the woody internal stem of the Cannabis sativa plant, which is processed into chips and mixed with a lime-based binder. That concoction is then sprayed on, poured into slabs or formed into blocks like concrete to create the shell of a building. Interior surfaces are plastered, and exterior surfaces are stuccoed.
“The walls are to be framed and earthquake-braced internally with lumber,” said Greg Flavall, Hemp Technologies' co-founder, who added that “hemp is very close in cellulosic value to wood.” The material helps to keep structures warm in winter and cool in summer, he said.
By Simon Johanson, Sydney Morning Herald
TWO eco-friendly houses are rising from the ground in suburban Melbourne built from a plant normally associated with 1960s hippie heaven: hemp.
In an Australian-mainland first, the walls of the semi-detached homes in trendy inner-city Northcote will be made from the cannabis-based building product Hempcrete, pioneered by a Queensland company for its carbon-neutral properties.
The eight-star green rated homes are the inspiration of two medical practitioners, a father and daughter team who will live side by side with their three generations in the one construction.
Along with the hemp walls, the architect-designed homes will have a solid rammed-earth dividing wall, double-glazed windows, underground water tanks and grey-water recycling, as well as solar panels for electricity, hot water and hydronic heating.
Michelle Leadston and her father, Bill, bought the large block in Northcote three years ago intent on building two sustainable homes for their families to live in.
"I've always said I'm going to look after my parents when they get old," she said. "This was the most convenient option. The babysitter's next door. And it's not too close. There's a big wall in between."
Both families wanted to share a common backyard and other design features such as lower, child-friendly windows and intimate, internal courtyards, said Dorit Przyborowski of Steffen Welsch Architects.
By BBC News
A storage facility made of hemp is being erected at the Science Museum at Wroughton in Wiltshire.
The former airfield near Swindon is the large objects storage facility for the London Science Museum, housing more than 16,000 objects in 11 hangars.
As part of an £800,000 project, the hemp building is being installed inside one of the hangars to reduce humidity.
Matt Moore, from the museum, said: "Essentially it will be deep storage - preserving objects for evermore."
He said: "The environment in the hangars for the majority of objects is pretty good, pretty constant, but some items with wood and leather would do better with not quite so much humidity to preserve them for even longer.
"So we've gone back to basics and have decided to use hemp to stabilise the environment."
Lime Technology is supplying the pre-fabricated hemp building.
Ian Pritchett, the company's technical director, said: "We build lots of hemp buildings but this is a building within a building which is far more challenging.
"The hangar is fairly enormous - about an acre of space."
Construction began in January and is due to be completed by the end of April.
"It's a bit like that child's tile game," said Mr Moore.
"As we refurbish a hangar, we can get more stuff into it and so we're moving objects when there's a space free to move them.
"We originally wanted to do all the hangars at once but we've got a more moderate approach now."
by Annie Gaffney, ABC, Queensland
Did you know that up until the nineteen forties, if you were going camping your tent would have been made of canvas, and the tie down ropes would have been made of hemp.
The material hemp comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant, and it has stacks of applications. You might have even bought yourself a hemp shirt for instance.
It's exciting to hear though that hemp is now being used in a new building material that could be the way forward when it comes to producing truly sustainable housing. Dr Andrew Katelaris is a medical doctor and cannabis campaigner. He's appeared in a documentary called The Hemp Revolution and he's organised two courses on this new building product called hempcrete.
Dr Katelaris has long championed the use of medical marijuana for pain relief in patients. According to an ABC Catalyst online article, he's described as a maverick in the area of the science on this though. He was charged by police back in 2006 for growing a large crop of cannabis and was banned by the NSW medical tribunal for self administration of the drug and giving it to patients. Annie started by asking him to clarify these issues.
By William Connelly, The Swannanoa Journal
North Carolina is home to Hemp Technologies, a company responsible for building the first modern made hemp home in the United States. David Madera and Greg Flavall co-founded this company with the intention of building ecologically sustainable houses with non-toxic, healthy materials.
Sarah Lonsdale tests the latest 'eco’ products and sorts the fads from the finds. This week: refurbishing derelict homes
By Sarah Lonsdale, The Telegraph
It is a contemporary scandal of monstrous proportions. There are about two million families in this country who need homes but who are priced out of buying or renting because of a lack of supply. Yet there are thousands upon thousands of houses lying empty – nearly three quarters of a million in England alone.
In the Midlands, North East and North West, great swathes of perfectly sound Victorian terraces, in better condition than ones in Fulham or Putney that change hands for over £1m each, are standing derelict; boarded up, their roofs stripped of lead, the elements slowly doing their destructive work.
In the past few years, 16,000 period terraces have been bulldozed to the ground and only 3,000 new homes have been rebuilt to replace them. Thousands more stand empty: design classics with airy front rooms flooded with light from their bay windows and ingenious split-level floor planning going to dry rot and black mould.
By Michael Holder, Hillingdon Times
A HILLINGDON pensioner is living with his family in a new environmentally-friendly 'hemp home' for people with disabilities.
The house in Mulberry Crescent, West Drayton, was built with Hemcrete, a blend of a lime-based binding and hemp that absorbs CO2 during the manufacturing process.
It has water-heating solar panels, extensive insulation and emits 100% less CO2 than a standard building.
Father-of-four Sharif Omar, 37, who lives in the house with his 79-year-old disabled father, said: "It has changed my life - my whole family is very happy here."
"We worked with Hillingdon Council to make the access better for my father and he can use the garden and other rooms now."
To date, 47 new bespoke borough homes have been created, including several bungalows for people with disabilities.
Cllr Philip Corthorne, cabinet member for social care health and housing, said: "Not only does it use cutting-edge materials and processes to create an environmentally friendly property, it also looks at the specific needs of the resident - something that will ultimately empower them to live as independently as possible."
The project is part of a programme launched by the council in 2008 to redevelop derelict and under-used spaces, previously targeted by vandals, into affordable housing.
High on a hill, this looks like many other examples of elegant modern architecture but it's been built from a special ingredient.
By Stephanie Potter, KBOO Staff
Will Oregon be the first state to end the prohibition of cannabis? Host Stephanie Potter speaks with Paul Stanford and Jennifer Alexander about Initiative Number 9 which is the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012. This initiative would regulate the legal sale of marijuana to adults through state-licensed stores, allow adults to grow their own, license Oregon farmers to grow marijuana for state-licensed stores, and allow unlicensed Oregon farmers to grow cannabis hemp for fuel, fiber and food. Initiative organizers have until July 7, 2012 to gather 90,000 registered Oregon voters' signatures to qualify for the November 6, 2012 ballot.
OCTA 2012 is also announcing a series of three benefit concerts featuring reggae music legends, Toots & The Maytals on Independence Day weekend. Toots & The Maytals will headline three shows, starting at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene on Saturday, July 2, then the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond on Sunday, July 3, and culminating at the Washington Park Rose Garden Amphitheater in Portland on Monday, July 4.
Written by Colby Dunn, Smoky Mountain News
If someone said the word "hemp," the first thing to spring to mind probably wouldn't be home construction. But if you're looking for a strong, green, energy-efficient building material that's resistant to pretty much everything, hemp might be your best choice.
This is the concept being pitched by Greg Flavall and David Madera, owners of an Asheville-based business called Hemp Technologies. They're some of the first to build with the material in the United States, where industrial hemp hasn't seen the rise in popularity it enjoys in other countries, thanks to a federal ban on U.S. production.
Its recognition is slowly ramping up, though, due in part to its benefits over standard concrete. The third house in the country to be built with the technology is going up now, in the mountains above Lake Junaluska.
Roger Teuscher, the homeowner, said he was turned on to the idea by his first architect, who suggested the plant as a cleaner, greener alternative to standard homebuilding supplies. Tuescher, who lives most of the year in Florida, said he was drawn not only to the cost savings gained by increased insulation, but by the product’s recyclability.
David Piller, Hemp News Correspondent
A friend of mine recently put together a survey for a ethnography research methods class on the topic of creating effective hemp education and promoting hemp awareness. Below are a few of my responses.
What is your educational platform (or pro-hemp argument) that you use when doing hemp outreach?
My main "argument" is that if we are truly serious about maximizing the growth of the green economy and creating a sustainable future, industrial hemp must become, once again, one of the United States' primary crops. I stress how cultivating hemp will do more to help clean our air, soil, and water than any patented technology our scientists can offer. I include hemp nutritional benefits and communicate how making more hemp foods available to our citizens, we can improve the quality of life of many and reduce our long term health care costs.
Do you change this platform for various audiences: when and why?
Yes and no.
I think it is important to make things as simple as possible for people to grasp hemp’s true potential, and I always strive to bring it down to a healthy environment, healthy food, and healthy industries to lay a solid foundation to build a dialogue upon.