Hemp is useful for more than just summer camp necklaces and niche clothing items, according to researchers at the University of Bath. The university’s BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials has discovered that hemp bound together with a lime-based adhesive creates a building material with a “better than zero” carbon footprint. In other words, the material’s energy-efficient properties combined with lime’s low carbon footprint negate hemp-lime’s carbon use.
It’s easy to get the materials for hemp structures, too. University of Bath researchers say that it takes an area the size of a rugby pitch only four months to grow enough hemp for a typical three-bedroom house. If adopted on a large scale, the homes could bring big business to hemp farmers.
The three-year, $1.1 million (£750,000) project will provide further information about the strength, durability, and feasability of hemp-lime homes. One catch here: Industrial hemp has to be made legal if we want cheap hemp structures in the U.S. Under current federal law, industrial hemp can be imported but can’t be grown by American farmers.