Building with Hemp

by Paul Hemp
Shows you how to build a house with a legal crop of industrial hemp, sand and water!
Recommended Features
  • Fantastic insulation
  • Fireproof
  • Rodent Proof
  • Sustainable
  • Affordable
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Review on Building with Hemp

GROWING YOUR OWN HOUSE ?! by Hilary Fuerst
There has been a lot of misconception over the last sixty‐odd years
about a very useful plant, and until recently, with the appearance of hempfibre
clothing in Australia, most people have known very little about
industrial hemp's uses and benefits. As well as it's use as a clothing fibre,
hemp may be used for it's nutritious food value, bioremediation
capabilities, carbon‐sequestration, hemp plastics and as a building material.
Most of us can relate to wearing a comfy hemp shirt, but actually growing
and building a family‐size house out of hemp is way out of our realm of
Klara Marosszeky of Australian Hemp Masonry Company and Paul
Benhaim of are on a mission to
change that. Klara and Paul are eager to introduce this emerging industry to
any interested owner/builders, professionals in the construction industry
and prospective growers of industrial hemp. They are keen educators, and
between the two of them, have a wealth of knowledge and experience that
they are happy to share. The first weekend in September, they hosted a
hemp building workshop in Byron Bay ‐‐ hopefully the first of many ‐‐ which
I was fortunate enough to attend as a guest of The Owner Builder
As a prospective owner/builder, I have long been interested in
alternative, sustainable building materials. It is important to me that I use a
building method that minimises my impact on the environment. My goal is
to use recycled or renewable materials that produce the least amount of
carbon in both their production and transport. Of course, cost is a factor as
well ‐‐ it's got to be cheaper than the current costs of construction, which
are higher than most people can afford.
Overseas, I had experimented with building small structures (chook
houses, sheds) using straw bales, cob, and mudbrick with pretty good
success and general satisfaction. In talking to like‐minded owner/builders in
Australia, however, the standard warning is that those building methods
are susceptible to white ants. Apparently, white ants will readily travel
through straw bales, cob and mudbrick to reach the tasty timber
components of buildings. In addition, some other native insects will drill
holes into muds and mortars to nest and lay their eggs. Several people I've
met who have built with 'sawcrete' have highly recommended that material
for various reasons. I'm really not comfortable with the 'crete' part though ‐
‐ in addition to being averse to the smell of cement, I'm not keen on being
surrounded by a fairly toxic substance that will 'off gas' into my living space
for a number of years. I'm wary of concrete walls that don't breathe, and I
dislike mould. In addition, the extremely high energy usage that it takes to
produce and transport cement really doesn't sit well with my conscience.
Hemp masonry has been used in other countries such as Switzerland
and the U.K., and in Japan there is a hemp building which has been standing
for centuries. I'd heard that hemp construction was being implemented
here in Australia, and through the inquiries I made locally, it all sounded
really positive. Industrial hemp farming has finally been legalised in NSW,
so the fibre can be sourced fairly locally. Hemp fibre, when mixed with lime,
is a strong, white ant repellant, non‐toxic, fire resistant and renewable
material. The hemp building method sounded really promising, and I
wanted to learn more!
The hemp building workshop hosted by Klara and Paul was held at
Starseed Garden Nursery in Byron Bay on 4th September. The workshop
was the first of it's kind and well attended ‐ the expected number was
around a dozen but over 50 interested people showed up! The morning half
of the workshop was held indoors in the fantastic 'Tea House' at the
nursery, then in the afternoon we were split into groups and had hands‐on
experience outside, mixing and constructing hemp walls for the retro‐fit of
an old pumphouse on the property.
(I must take a moment to remark on the Starseed Garden Nursery
itself ‐ it alone was worth the trip to Byron. The nursery is built on the
grounds of an old commercial piggery, and creative use has been made of
the barns, pits, and outbuildings. All materials in the garden and surrounds
appeared to be re‐used or recycled, and some ingenious walkways, ponds
and growing methods are used. Even the concrete manure pits are used for
growing water plants. It's heartening to see what was once an industrial
farm transformed into an inventive and ecologically mindful business
In the morning session of the workshop, we started with each
attendee introducing themselves and telling how they came to be
interested in hemp building. Amongst the group, I counted four people
interested in growing industrial hemp, ten owner/builders, one architect,
two engineers, and eleven professional builders! It was great to see that
many people who are already in the building industry showing interest in

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About Paul Hemp Junior     

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Joined APSense since, November 13th, 2010, From Unknown.

Created on Nov 14th 2010 21:05. Viewed 2,301 times.


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