Hemp used for construction gains popularity in U.S.

DENVER, July 18 (UPI) -- Builders who use natural materials in the United States have seen interest grow in "hempcrete," a renewable building material made with hemp that can take the place of traditional drywall, insulation and siding.

Since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp, the construction material -- used for 30 years in Europe -- has captured the imagination of American builders and homeowners.

"This year is the biggest year in hemp construction and it's really just beginning," said Tommy Gibbons of Ketchum, Idaho-based Hempitecture Inc.

Chipped hemp bark, lime binder and water are mixed together to make hempcrete. The material dries to a strong, stonelike substance that's fireproof, mold-proof and insect-proof.

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Walls can be constructed by crews without power tools who mix the ingredients together in buckets and pour them into wooden forms.

In Bellingham, Wash., homeowner Pamela Bosch worked with Hempitecture to build a 2,000-square-foot hempcrete addition to her 1898 Highland Hemp House that overlooks the San Juan Islands.

"It's not a small experiment; it's a legacy-size demonstration," Bosch said.


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