Tradical®Hemcrete® is an insulation material made from industrial hemp chips (shiv) in a lime-based binder. We are VERY excited about helping to introduce this wonderful material to the US housing market. As a design group that comes out of the world of low-embodied energy materials (often called “natural building”), we have been in a quandry as to how to acheive the highest energy performance and durability in a wet, humid climate while staying true to our “natural building” roots. We love vapor permeable wall systems like cob and adobe, but don’t like the low insulation values. We like straw bales, but find them impractical in our wet climate, as well as finding their clunky, bulky form difficult to work with practically. Our favorite “natural” wall material is clay-slip straw, but find a number of practical difficulties in working with the material in the field. We think that materials like Hemcrete are a great fit for practical, high-performance, low-embodied energy building systems like ours, the Nauhaus.
Tradical®Hemcrete® is manufactured by the UK company Lime Technologies, LTD and distributed on the east coast by Hemp Technologies, LLC in Asheville, NC. Though we understand the inherent unsustainability of shipping a bulky building material from England, we have chosen Hemcrete as part of a long-term commitment to find and promote the best building materials for sustainable design. It is our belief that it is time to advocate for the production of industrial hemp products in the United States.
Okay, let’s get the “pot” jokes out to the way. Industrial hemp doesn’t have the drug properties of its cousin, marijuana…so don’t smoke it, Holmes. Hemp used to be a mainstay of the US economy. There was a time when you HAD to grow it if you had a certain amount of land. It grows quickly, is a nitrogen fixer, and is the source of a huge variety of useful products including fabrics, oils, ropes, and a variety of building and automobile related products. US consumers purchase more hemp-based products than anyone else in the world, but it is currently almost impossible to grow industrial hemp in this country. Clearly this makes no sense. In the US our friends at Hemp Technologies, and our suppliers of Tradical®Hemcrete® are hard at working changing this. They are lobbying policy makers to change regulations and are planning to manufacture Tradical®Hemcrete® in the coming years. Hemp Technologies is also a partner with us on the Nauhaus prototype project.
To learn more about industrial hemp and everything Hemp Technologies is doing, visit their website: www.hemtecusa.com
To learn more about why we’ve chosen Tradical®Hemcrete®, read this.