Hemp is fast being recognised as one of the most important crops to tackle climate change due to its prolific growing potential, carbon-sequestering nature, and its capacity to be used in almost any industry. Its ability to sequester carbon begins from the moment it is seeded, with one ton of harvested hemp fiber sequestering approximately 1.62 tons of CO².
In the building world hemp’s popularity is definitely on the up, with the most recent boost in its use coming from hempcrete: a combination of hemp hurd, lime, and water. A demonstration of it’s construction capabilities has been greatly exhibited at this zero carbon Cambridgeshire home. Pre-fab panels of this marvellous material were produced off site and erected at Margent Farm in just two days.
It is the first time architecture firm Practice Architecture employed this form of efficient building system with hemp, despite their familiarity with the material, and this project led to the creation of Material Cultures, an organisation established to research natural materials and their use in off site construction.
The interior walls of the home have been left exposed, allowing for a warm, rustic feature to be made of the textured panels. The property’s exterior is clad in tiles made from hemp fibre and bound with a sugar-based resin. Reinforcing the eco-nature of the build is the roof mounted solar panels and a biomass boiler, making the house off-grid.
The resulting building is a testament to natural and grown materials as is a signifier of the direction new builds should be taking.
H. G. Matthews
A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, April 2020.