Hemp is finally getting the press it deserves. More people are beginning to appreciate and love this invaluable plant for all that it’s worth. And innovators from around the world are starting to experiment with its eco-friendly capabilities, as well as rediscover techniques used by humans hundreds, if not thousands of years ago.
Perhaps two of the most surprising industries to follow suit on the search for greener alternatives, are those of construction and home-furnishing. That’s right, building with hemp is becoming a revolutionary movement towards a more sustainable future. Currently, buildings and construction account for 39% of the total greenhouse emissions worldwide, and 36% of the energy use. So it seems there is no time like the present to search for environmentally friendly solutions.
Luckily, awareness is on the rise. According to the USCC, 56% of contractors registered their projects with the U.S. Green Building Council or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design over the past three years. And with the introduction of inventions such as hempcrete, it’s becoming easier for contractors and businessmen to make a more positive impact.
In fact, you may be surprised at just how versatile hemp has proven to be for the builders and designers on the search for a greener future. Let’s take a look at how hemp as a building material, is changing the market for good.
Hemp for Construction
Who would have thought that Marijuana’s well-behaved cousin could be used to build your house? Yet, records show that this is no recent novelty. Hemp has been used to build houses for hundreds, if not thousands of years. This hemp-made house in Japan, for example, is estimated to be over 300 years old. So not only is this a viable building material to ensure a green alternative for construction, but it also stands the test of time!
The legalization of hemp in the U.S. has sparked a massive change in the construction industry. And not just because of its reputation for replacing concrete either. Companies such as Hemp Wood have seized the opportunity to use hemp for construction more creatively. As soon as the bill was passed, they began developing a material 20% harder than oak. It can be used for anything from construction material to flooring and furniture. So how did they do it? By utilizing bio-mimicry, they transformed hemp fibers and protein-based bonding agents into a viable substitute for Oak.
With this wood alternative, not only can hemp be used for construction as a replacement for concrete, but now furniture can be made from it too.
Hemp for Furniture
Hemp bast fibers have been woven into textiles and material to make clothing for centuries. So it was only a matter of time before the trend caught on in the world of interior design.
Furniture made from hemp is not only sustainable, eco-friendly and durable, but it’s extremely stylish too! Not to mention that it is one of the greenest materials on the market. Many top designers and home-furnishing companies have decided to jump on the hype and start building with hemp. And as a result, homes around the world are now opting for greener furniture.
U.S. family-based companies like Brickell Collection are now able to craft their goods with a commitment to the environment. Using only renewable and sustainable products, they have built their company by producing all-natural chemical-free materials, which are sourced locally – and they’re not alone either. Even global leaders like Ikea are beginning to sell hemp wood furniture around the world.
Popularity is growing, and with it, the demand for creativity and style. Designers like Philipp Hainke and Werner Aisslinger have used their artistic flair, combined with their love for the planet, to create innovative and stylish furniture made from hemp. This is a time for true innovation. Different techniques are being experimented every day. Philipp Hainke, for example, used a sandwich material consisting of hemp fibers, casein, and slaked lime. While Werner Aisslinger compacted hemp and kenaf with a water-based thermoset binder. New uses and designs are being discovered by creative minds around the world. But there is one resource uniting them all. These household items are not only green fashion statements but are strong, practical and comfortable too. And it’s all thanks to our plant-based hero.
Hemp has proven to be versatile, an environmental game-changer, a fashion statement, and a historical superstar. So next time you’re considering renovating your house or redecorating your apartment, remember that building with hemp can simultaneously mean building a brighter future for us all.