Hempcrete Natural Building was founded in 2003, and over the past 13 years we have designed and developed a unique building material and continue to develop and test our formulas to perfect end to end home system solutions. We have, on our island property in Western Canada, two of the first hemp houses in North America, structures that will be proudly standing hundreds of years from now. We have formed a building and consulting company and are working with various levels of government and universities to stay on the cutting edge of truly low impact and green building. We worked closely with a laboratory in Vancouver to test the brick for shear and compression strength as well as insulation (R) factor.
Our Mission is to create ‘Homes for everyone’ from the high end showpieces, to community structures to working with NGO’s for low cost housing alternatives. There are potentials for this low-tech, low-cost building in many areas of the world, including many developing countries. Using industrial hemp fiber and chips, we are able to utilize one of Nature’s most versatile fibers to create strong, energy efficient and beautiful structures, using lightweight fiber-reinforced concrete.
We started with a desire to build “green”, but were unable to find a solution to our particular need- one that would be able to withstand our wet cold climate. When we developed a lightweight concrete using hemp, lime and sand among other ingredients, we thought that we were pioneers of this technology, even coming up with the term Hempcrete. We have since found variations on our design in the decades-old hemp-building industry in Ireland and France, and more recently, Australia. Good ideas like this occur to many people, and we are now part of a vibrant Hempcrete building industry.
Our breathable wall system is strong, durable and beautiful. It performs extremely well in many climates. Other benefits include;
Our structures are generally constructed with timber frame, with infill walls of lightweight, insulating concrete, using industrial grade hemp fiber. We are warm in the winter, breathing clean, non-toxic air and feel safe and snuggled, surrounded by beautiful tiling and earthen pigment colors. Our buildings has an incredibly solid feel and there is a quietness to the house, noticeable upon entry and when weathering the heavy winds.
Many green building approaches are very costly, hence the term’ you need the green to go green’ However we find that our building system is generally on par or less per square foot than other timber frame structures. However the long term maintenance costs are negligible, so over the longer term the savings are significant.
Hempcrete ”is a simple, low environmental impact, cost effective construction method that suits an owner/builder situation. Likewise, the professional contractor could easily make the switch over to this method of construction. This technology -basically lightweight concrete- could bridge the gap for those contractors who are hesitant to try innovative “outside the box” green building approaches. The mortgage brokers and building inspectors we are working with are very impressed with the strength and durability of the material, and our engineers are readily able to satisfy any questions.
The cost and efficiency of a dwelling’s mechanical systems is of paramount importance, as well as a focus on the health of the interior dwelling; a typical new construction having a high amount off-gassing of potentially dangerous chemicals, or subsequent problems with water, heat or mold. Hempcrete Construction addresses all of these issues in a cost effective environmentally friendly way.
Hempcrete has been proven over a decade to perform extremely well in cold and wet climates. We are often asked about R-Values and can certainly satisfy requirements for building codes. However R values measure thermal resistance, or the ability of a material to resist movement of heat through the structure. The higher the R-value, the more the material resists the movement of heat. The R-value is a static number that does not calculate thermal mass performance. Our walls also offer Thermal mas- which is a concept in building design which describes how the mass of the building provides “inertia” against temperature fluctuations; basically the ability of the material to absorb and radiate heat or cool. In the winter, in-floor heating can provide efficient warming of the house and in a hot summer, the mass of floors and walls will keep the house cool. Hemp walls, because they “breathe”, unlike concrete, also have a moisture regulating quality. There have also been many tests with adobe buildings in the USA and it has been found that the total performance of the building is higher than the perceived static R-value. Hemp may have similar thermal. In a nutshell, those living in hemp-concrete houses from the mountains in Italy to damp conditions in Ireland, have found them more comfortable to live in and less costly to heat/cool than stick/plastic/gypsum houses.
We are currently in discussions with a research center in the Caribbean to build an experimental structure, and initiate research into hot climates and hurricanes. This is important to us for our ability to deliver homes in a hurry to these types of regions.
Our ongoing research is focused on creating panels for tiny houses (little hemp house for you and me) which will be the driving force to make Hempcrete available for low income families and shipped to disaster areas.
We are also close to releasing a partnership with an exciting new heating technology, which will be bundled to offer a complete turnkey solution to customers.
We are able to ship the materials to your location, and will provide long distance consulting to guide you through your project. We also offer workshops for those interested in learning how to build with our material. The workshop programs are suitable for both experienced builders and do it yourselfers interested in sustainable shelter. Our next event in this region is coming up in May on Vancouver Island- please see the attached flyer.