You Won’t Get High, But You May Get Happy in a House Built of Pot

hempcrete

Photo provide by Endeavour Center

By: John Riha

Hemp building products may soon go mainstream. Here’s why your next home should  be made with pot.

 

No, you can’t saw off a chunk and smoke it.
But if you live in a house  made with hemp building products, you may trim your utility bills, have more  leisure time, and be safer and more comfortable.
Industrial hemp, the  non-stoney relative of its more famous cousin, marijuana, is making its way into  the building products marketplace.
A recently signed federal farm bill  has made hemp cultivation legal again. That means research can kick into high  gear — likely leading to new hemp products for siding, roofing, drywall, and  flooring.
What’s So Great About Hemp?
Hemp  products — from insulation to particleboard — are non-toxic and resistant to mildew, pests,  and fire, making them good choices for green home construction and remodeling.  Plus, they don’t cast off any VOCs.
Several U.S. states have homes with  hemp products, but most are in Australia, Europe, and New Zealand.
Why is  it green?

  • It’s a fast-growing, drought-tolerant plant.
  • It doesn’t require chemical fertilizers, which also makes it cheaper to  farm.
  • Its generous yields could ease pressure on dwindling forest resources.

What Products Are Available  Now
Previously hemp was illegal to farm here, but legal to  import from other countries. That hiked up the price of what would otherwise be  a relatively inexpensive material. Those prices should come down as domestic  products move into the marketplace.
Currently  available:
Hempcrete: Generic term for a concrete-like  material made from imported hemp fibers mixed with lime.

  • Can be made into walls or blocks
  • Good insulator
  • Flexes, so it might be a good material to withstand earthquakes

Cost: A 33-lb. bag is $30 and makes about 5 cubic feet of wall (about 5 sq.  ft. of surface area for a 12-inch-thick hempcrete wall) with an insulating  factor of R-25 — higher than a regular 3.5-inch stud wall insulated with  fiberglass (R-13).
Hemp board: Generic term for  material that can be used in place of plywood and particleboard for wall  sheathing and green cabinet  construction.
Cost: 4-foot-by-8-foot sheet of half-inch-thick hemp  board, $40; regular particleboard, $20
Hemp Shield:  Brand name for an exterior  finish for wood decks, siding, planters, fences, and play structures. In  professional independent testing, Hemp Shield outperformed other well-known wood  finish products.
Cost: $41/gallon, which covers about 450 sq. ft.; tinted  versions are $45/gallon
Hemp insulation: Soft, woven  material made from hemp fibers.

  • Comparable performance to fiberglass insulation, according to  Energy.gov
  • Insulating value of R-13 (same as fiberglass)
  • Doesn’t release fibers that can get into your lungs.

Cost: About $2.75/sq. ft.; fiberglass batts of comparable thickness and  insulating value are only about 30 cents/sq.  ft.


Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NAtional Association of REALTORS(R)

 

 

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