What a great article in the FT Weekend(Jan 23) entitled "Construction Plant."
It speaks of the versatility and durability of a certain strain of hemp(Cannibis sativa) which allows the plant to be used as a building material. Great news for law enforcement! This is not the strain of hemp that you smoke.
Some important points include:
-Hemp has been used for construction off and on since the 6th century
-"Today, industrial hemp is being processed into an environmentally friendly construction material that is then mixed with a lime binder to make a material that can be poured and cast like concrete or formed into bricks"
-Hemp(and bamboo) are very fast growing, "seed to harvest in 4 months time" allowing an ample supply of basic material and can be mixed with edible food farming in the other 8 months of the year so it does not crowd out crop production for humans, an oft-times complaint of corn for ethanol.
-Hemp contributes much less to global warming than concrete production,"it can theoretically result in a building with zero carbon emissions or one that contributes to the eco-crusade by storing carbon dioxide"
-"In France...there are several thousand hemp houses" that were built in the past few years.
-From a construction materials standpoint hemp is ideal because:
-"it has a high thermal mass, meaning it stores heat from the sun and releases it slowly during the cool of the night"
-"is breathable while being airtight, is good for soundproofing and is hygroscopic, meaning it moderates humidity."
-is"fire and vermin resistant"
The UK government is giving hemp a go. The Dept of Energy and Climate Change is offering grant monies to developers building affordable homes with hemp used as a material.
Not sure how hemp is being treated as a building material in North America. Anyone know?