The hemp plant can be made into more things than just about any other plant on earth. The number of things that hemp can be made into is well into the thousands, with some estimates being as great as 50,000 unique items that can be created from the material.
While virtually every item that hemp can be made into benefits humankind, one product is particularly useful – hempcrete. Hempcrete, sometimes referred to as hemp-lime, is a bio-composite made of the woody inner core of the hemp plant mixed with a lime base that serves as a binder.
The hemp plant’s core (called the ‘shiv’) has a large silica content, which is why it bonds well with lime. Hempcrete can be used as a building material for various types of structures, primarily as an insulation material that pairs well with wood framing.
Hempcrete is exponentially lighter than concrete, is more fire-resistant than most other comparable building materials, and is carbon negative, meaning that it takes more carbon out of the air than it puts into it.
Earlier this week hempcrete received a recommendation from the International Code Council to add hempcrete to its International Residential Code. The recommendation moves hempcrete a step closer to formal adoption as an officially recognized residential building material.
“The International Code Council is the leading global source of model codes and standards and building safety solutions that include product evaluation, accreditation, technology, training, and certification,” according to its website.
“The Code Council’s codes, standards, and solutions are used to ensure safe, affordable, and sustainable communities and buildings worldwide,” the Council’s website said.
While the International Code Council is based in the United States, aspects of its official International Residential Code have been adopted around the world, and officially adding hempcrete to it will result in hempcrete being used more often than it is now, and that is obviously good news.
Hemp production has risen considerably around the world in recent years, mostly due to the rise in the popularity of CBD products. However, as hempcrete continues to be used more often by builders around the globe, hempcrete will likely prove to be a driving force for increased hemp production itself.