The House That Hemp Built: Fargo Developers Build Hempcrete Home To Study Energy-Saving Benefits

The house that hemp built: Fargo developers build hempcrete home to study energy-saving benefits -

At first glance, it looks like the same house towering over the middle of 300 blocks on North 10th Avenue.

Both are tall vertical buildings with diagonal roofs, 12-foot ceilings, and identical window and door placements. But when you get a step closer, you can see the difference. The house is built in the usual way using a timber frame, fiberglass insulation, and white Tyvek house sheets.

Fargo House Tests Hemp as Construction Material

The other has knotty tan walls that appear to be made of tightly compacted wood mulch. Once inside, you’ll feel like you’re in a life-sized sandcastle.

However, these are not walls made of sand or wood chips. These walls are made of hemp. A wooden frame still forms the structural skeleton of the house, but the insulation and walls are made with a mixture of hempcrete, shearing material (the crushed inner core of industrial hemp plants), lime binder, and water.

These two structures were built by Justin Berg and Sydney Glup of Fargo Grassroots Development as a demonstration project/scientific study. And “built” is meant literally.

In late July, Berg, Glup, and a small crew built the 12-inch-thick wall from scratch in four days. “Our hands are all over this thing,” Berg grins.

They used a mortar mixer to mix the pieces of shingle with a special lime mixture and water, then carried them bucket after bucket to build the house, and used them to form concrete walls.

The same was done by hand between the plywood formwork. “It was almost the consistency of chicken salad,” Glup says, explaining how the hemp material felt when mixed with the binder. !”

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Hempcrete, which has a sweet, hay-like scent, needs six weeks to “harden” before finishing with lime plaster. Sensors embedded in walls, meanwhile, provide continuous information on everything from air quality, temperature, and humidity to energy use, Berg and his Glup said.

They are particularly interested in how the energy use of the hemp concrete house compares to the conventionally built “control house” next door. To keep our findings as pure as possible, the only difference between the two houses is the material of the walls.


Otherwise, the two rooms share the same 299-square-foot footprint, layout, ceiling height, and the same 7-foot high loft. His Glup, the Sustainability Consultant for Grassroots, said.

Saturated Market of Hempcrete

After legalization through legislation, and seeing the popularity of CBD and hemp oil products explode, farmers across the country say 2019 went berserk.

So many farmers grew hemp that the market was flooded. Hemp prices have fallen from $4.50 a pound to 20 cents a pound, Mortenson says. Even though manufacturers and retailers continue to make money from hemp, growers have found it so unprofitable that many have switched to growing conventional crops such as corn and soybeans.

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As a result, Mortenson says the state’s total hemp acreage has shrunk from 2,800 acres a few years ago to just 300 acres this year.

Priyanka Sharma

Priyanka Sharma is the content editor at with over 3 years of experience in journalism, Priyanka delivers fresh and accurate news on the cannabis industry to her readers. Her versatility as a writer and editor is showcased in her work. When she's not busy writing and editing, Priyanka can be found exploring new travel destinations and indulging in her love for food.

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