Fargo Developers Create Hempcrete Home To Evaluate Energy-Saving Benefits

In the midst of the 300 block of 10th Street North, they appear to be similar houses at first glance.

Both structures are tall, vertical structures with matching diagonal roofs, a 12-foot ceiling, and identical window and door layouts.

But as you go closer, the distinction is obvious. One home is constructed using a wood frame, fiberglass insulation, and a white Tyvek house cover, as is customary.

The other has walls that are nubby and tan in hue and appear to be constructed of densely packed wood mulch. Once inside, it’s as though you’ve visited a real-life sand castle.

The hempcrete is in close-up during construction. After a six-week curing period, the plaster will be applied over this. Community Development and Contribution

But they aren’t sand or wood chip walls. Hemp was used to creating these walls. The walls and insulation are made of hempcrete, a substance made of hurd (the shredded inner core of an industrial hemp plant), a lime binder, and water. The house’s structural support is nevertheless provided by a wooden frame.

As a demonstration project and scientific investigation, Justin Berg and Sydney Glup of Grass Roots Development in Fargo erected these two structures.

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Hempcrete Home-Is it a New Sustainable Energy Saving Method?

Berg, Glup, and a small group of workers built the 12-inch-thick walls in four days in late July. Berg declares, with a smile, “Our hands are all over this thing.”

They hauled bucket after bucket of the material to the frame of the home and manually packed it between plywood forms, similar to those used to shape concrete walls, using a mortar mixer to blend the hard splinters with a particular lime combination and water.

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The hemp substance felt “nearly like chicken salad consistency,” according to Glup, who describes how it felt after being combined with binding chemicals. We kept yelling, “Over here, we need more salad!”

The hempcrete, which smells very strong and a bit like hay, needs to “cure” for six weeks before it can be plastered with a lime-based material.

Berg and Glup say that sensors built into the walls will give information about everything from the quality of the air to how much energy is being used.

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They are particularly curious to see how the hempcrete house compares to the nearby traditionally constructed “control” house in terms of energy use. The sole distinction between the two homes is in the wall material in order to maintain the highest level of objectivity in their research. The two rooms are otherwise similar, including their 299-square-foot footprints, floor plans, ceiling heights, and 7-foot lofts.

According to Glup, a sustainability consultant with Grassroots, “In completing good research, we wanted to make sure we had just one important variable, and that was the hempcrete insulation for the wall assembly.”

In their opinion, the hempcrete home is expected to live up to the hype. According to their analysis of previous hempcrete buildings, heating and cooling cost may be 40 to 50 percent lower than in conventional buildings.

There are also anticipated further benefits. Glup says that the limestone in hempcrete helps it keep heat, and the spaces between the hemp chips make it a better insulator.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hempcrete House

  1. What is a Hempcrete?

Hempcrete has a lower carbon footprint than conventional home building materials and is an energy-efficient, low-impact, and water-smart building material. Hempcrete is an energy-efficient alternative to concrete, which is frequently used in the construction of homes. It only requires a small amount of energy to keep its residents warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

2. Is hempcrete legal in the US?

Although hemp cannot be smoked, it is used as a sustainable building material in many nations throughout the world in the form of hempcrete. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 is a bill that will legalize hemp in the US and was just introduced to the US House of Representatives. The proposed law would delist hemp from the schedule 1 restricted substance list, legalize it in the US, and allow farmers to produce it as a standard agricultural crop for industrial purposes, including the manufacturing of hemp fiber.

3. What is hempcrete made up of?

In order to create a strong, environmentally friendly building material, lime or mud cement is combined with hemp shives, which are tiny fragments of wood from the plant’s stalk. Hempcrete can be integrated with conventional building construction methods while being lightweight and non-structural. Similar to conventional concrete, it can be prefabricated into building materials like blocks or sheets or cast on site.

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