Hemp is finally getting the press it deserves. More people are beginning to appreciate and love this invaluable plant for all it’s worth. And innovators from around the world are starting to experiment with its eco-friendly capabilities and rediscover techniques used by humans hundreds, if not thousands of years ago.
Two of the most surprising industries to follow suit in the search for greener alternatives are 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 business people to make a more positive impact.
You may be surprised at just how versatile hemp has proven to be for builders and designers on the search for a greener future. As a building material, let’s look at how hemp 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 construct homes for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. For example, 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!
Legalizinglegalization 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 materials to flooring and furniture. So how did they do it? Using bio-mimicry, they transformed hemp fibers and protein-based bonding agents into a viable substitute for Oak.
With this wood alternative, hemp can be used for construction as a replacement for concrete, and 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 incredibly 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 worldwide are now opting for greener furniture.
U.S. family-based companies like Brickell Collection can now 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 sourced locally – and they’re not alone either. Even global leaders like Ikea are beginning to sell hemp wood furniture worldwide.
Popularity is growing, and the demand for creativity and style is evolving. Designers like Philipp Hainke and Werner Aisslinger have used their artistic flair and 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 with every day. Philipp Hainke, for example, used a sandwich material consisting of hemp fibers, casein, and slaked lime. At the same time, Werner Aisslinger compacted hemp and kenaf with a water-based thermoset binder. Creative minds around the world are discovering new uses and designs. But there is one resource uniting them all. These household items are robust, practical, and comfortable green fashion statements. And it’s all thanks to our plant-based hero.
Hemp has proven versatile, an environmental game-changer, a fashion statement, and a historical superstar. So next time you consider renovating your house or redecorating your apartment, remember that building with hemp can simultaneously mean building a brighter future for us all.