Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 25 2015. An article of faith—as far as I am concerned—is that the answers to most issues are out there. What stops us looking—and finding them? Laziness; inertia; ignorance; lack of intellectual curiosity; vested interests? We’re surrounded by solutions—positively wallowing in them—yet the end result is that we live with way more problems than we need to. People are deuced odd!





There seems to a Calvinist streak in some people that makes them ban good, sensible things (to the detriment of almost everybody).

The Irish side of me still can’t really grasp that the U.S. was crazy enough to implement Prohibition—and the way hemp has been demonized comes into exactly the same category of truly spectacular idiocy (something of a Congressional specialty). Still, you have to admit that they certainly excel at something—even if only foolishness.

You can certainly make a case that alcohol in excess can be harmful (as can most things) but about the only way hemp can do serious damage is if you hang yourself with a rope made from it (fortunately a rare inclination as far as most Americans are concerned—in a medicalized gun culture, it is so much easier to take a legal drug overdose or blow one’s brains out).

In truth, hemp products are so spectacularly useful, in so many different ways, that you’d have to wonder if hemp wasn’t banned out of sheer jealousy. It’s as sexy as sex and redefines the word ‘erection.’ The damn stuff can grow 14 feet in 14 weeks.

My sense is that most of us get through the day without thinking much about hemp—and knowing even less.

Our loss.

Read on.

Welcome to the next EVOLUTION in Green Building:

In April 2011, our film crew attended the 2nd International Hemp Building Symposium, in Granada, Spain, where we interviewed leading professionals in the hemp building industry from around the globe.  Later that year, we filmed in Great Britain, with Lime Technology UK as we followed the hemp trail back to where the industrial hemp used for America’s first hemp houses was imported from.

America’s First Hemp House was built in Asheville, NC by healthy home designers Anthony Brenner & David Mosrie (formerly of Push Design) and Hemp Technologies using hempcrete in 2010.  Hempcrete has been successfully used in Europe for over 20 years.  Hempcrete is a mixture of hemp hurds (shivs), lime and water, and is used for construction and insulation.

Hempcrete’s resistance to pest, mold and fire helped Asheville’s former Mayor and his wife save 60% on their homeowners insurance, as the owners of America’s first hemp house.  A hemp house requires minimal heating or air-conditioning, and can help cut energy bills by 30% to 50%.

Read Robert Clayton’s informative blog about building a hempcrete home in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

hemp house qualities

A carbon-negative REVOLUTION in Sustainable Building

Did you know that buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S.? Hempcrete has incredible thermal qualities that can cut energy bills in half, thereby reducing our carbon footprint and our reliance upon coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy.  While the average home lasts 80 years, and ends up in our landfills, hemp houses can last 300 to 800 years, and can be recycled back into the earth.  Hempcrete can keep homes and buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, with minimal use of air conditioning or heating.

During its growth process, the hemp plant sequesters over 15 tons of carbon.  It takes just 2.5 acres of hemp to produce enough hemp shiv to build a 1,250 sq. ft house.  Hemp can grow up to 14 feet in just 14 weeks, requires NO pesticides, minimal fertilizer and irrigation, and is an excellent rotation crop.  If 900 traditional homes were built using industrial hemp, over 45,000 tons of CO2 would be saved during the building process.

Adams Brewery in Southwold, Suffolk, UK built their beer warehouse with hempcrete. Thanks to hempcrete’s incredible insulating qualities, the building requires no heating or air conditioning.  The beer is brought to the warehouse at a colder temperature, and the building continues to keep the beer cold at a constant temperature of 51 to 55 degrees, like a giant, environmentally friendly cooler.  Using hempcrete, Adnams distribution centre saved over 500 tons of CO2.


It’s Easy Being Green (and Non-Toxic, Mold-Pest and Flame-Resistant with Hemp)

IF you think that green building means healthy homes, you’re not alone, but to date, the green building industry has mostly focused on creating the most energy-efficient homes, rather than the healthiest homes. Green homes are tightly sealed to insure that heating and air conditioning don’t escape in order to conserve energy, but harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, polyurethane and flame retardants are found in building materials like MDF, PVC, fiberglass, plastics, paint and sealants are also trapped in with its inhabitants. The VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) in these products can continue to off-gas over time, adding to indoor air pollution and a myriad of health problems.

In comparison, hempcrete is a non-toxic, carbon-negative building material whose breathable walls naturally help to filter toxins from the air, creating great indoor air-quality. Hempcrete is mold-mildew-pest and flame-resistant, making it ideal for areas prone to fires and flooding hempcrete can be used for walls, flooring, insulation, roof insulation and plaster.

One of hempcrete greatest strengths is its ability to regulate humidity. Typical building materials leave homes with fluctuations in humidity, which can mean condensation that can lead to mildew and mold.  Mold remediation is an expensive procedure that often requires the use of dangerous chemicals.  If the mold has caused structural damage, it can cost a homeowner $10,000 to $30,000 or more.  If not dealt with, mold can cause serious health risks to those living, working, or going to school in homes or buildings that have mold.  Many homeowners are often surprised to find that their homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover mold.  This is true of most insurance companies because of the high costs associated with remediation, and the difficulty in identifying when the mold occurred.  Imagine trying to sell your home, and finding you have to spend $10,000 to $30,000 out of pocket for mold remediation.


Hemp’s outer fibers are being used to make healthy, non-toxic insulation, as an alternative to standard, fiberglass insulation.  It offers comparable or better results than traditional fiberglass insulation. Hemp fiberglass is able to absorb and release moisture which helps to regulate internal moisture levels, reducing the risk of condensation, mildew and mold, making a home more healthy and comfortable.  Like hempcrete, hemp insulation is non-toxic, carbon-negative, mold-fire and pest-resistant, sustainable and biodegradable, with great sound absorption, humidity regulation and thermal resistance.

Hempcrete can be sprayed on the facade of existing buildings, and lightweight Hempcrete can be applied between ceiling rafters to make homes more energy-efficient.  A six-inch layer of Hempcrete sprayed on an existing building can make a huge impact upon one’s energy bill.

Hemp is making other strides in the construction business.  In 2011, Larry Serbin, the owner of  Hemp Traders announced the availability of the world’s first formaldehyde-free, non-toxic hemp particle board as a healthy alternative to MDF (medium density fibreboard).  It doesn’t warp, making it great for bathrooms.  It’s great for homebuilders, cabinetmakers and carpenters, for use as furniture, shelving, flooring and molding.

Hemp Shield® offers the first 100% Hemp Oil based deck finish for wood based products that is produced in the U.S.   It outlasts most petroleum based products, and contains no formaldehyde or other harmful chemicals, and is pest and mildew-algae and fungus–resistant.



hemp house top 10


One hemp house =  10 acres of trees.
One hemp house can sequester the same amount of carbon as ten acres of trees.

Number of weeks it takes to grow enough industrial hemp on 2.5 acres to build a 1,250-sq-foot house

Amount former Asheville Mayor Russ Martin and his wife Karen Korp saved on their homeowner’s insurance after moving into their hemp house

Cost of Martin-Korp House energy bill for a 3,400 sq ft home in the winter in the mountains of NC

Cost per square foot to build America’s First Hemp House in Asheville, N.C. Domestic production could cut the price tag in half.

The number of times a Ford Escort could have circled the globe in comparison with the CO2 emissions potentially saved by
Adnams Brewery for building their warehouse with Tradical® Hemcrete®.

BILLION.  Estimated potential of the current market for Industrial Hemp.  When you buy or sell hemp products, you help make this a reality.

Number of years the average Hemcrete building is expected to last.

Number of tons of CO2 emissions potentially saved by Adnams Brewery in Southwold, Suffolk UK for building their warehouse with Tradical® Hemcrete®.

Lbs. of industrial hemp are needed to produce the same amount of THC found in one marijuana cigarette.

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