I Have A Hempy Dream!


This morning after taking my daughter to school (when I am driving is when I have my best ideas and do my best thinking) I had a thought. It wasn’t a new thought, but it had new energy.

I’ve always wanted to be involved with Habitat for Humanity. But my idea, my dream has a new twist. HEMP Habitats for Humanity. Solar hemp homes! I want to help put families in their own homes, homes that are carbon negative, environmentally healthy, and energy efficient. I want to get dirty, drive some nails, use my hands to help create a healthy environment for those that need a roof over their heads.

I, also, dream to have one of those homes. Solar. Hemp. Energy efficient. Clean. Healthy. Bright. A place that I know will not tax our planet, but HELP it.

I want to start by building one in each state. Can you imagine the impact just from one carbon negative home? I want this to go viral. I can envision communities like this, pockets of clean, green areas that heal, not harm.

I want this to be a movement, a wave. Wait, let me backtrack. WANT means lack. It WILL happen, and it will happen in my lifetime.

How will this happen? I do not know. But I do know I am not alone in this dream. I have put this dream out to the Universe, and where there is a will, a desire, there is always a way.

Who is with me? Who will join me in envisioning this dream and making it happen?

The time is NOW. For our planet, our environment, our economy, our children.

So, hop on this ride, folks, let’s make it happen!

Hemp Habitats – Homes of the Future?


Hemp homes, while not mainstream yet, are the cutting edge of green building and living. Hemp, one of the strongest and most durable fibers on the planet, is being used for foundations, walls, roofing, insulation, and indoor textiles and installations.

Hemcrete is made with hemp hurds  and lime, and is stronger, lighter, and more flexible than concrete. It is used for foundations and wall structures, and is a carbon-negative substitute for traditional concrete.

Buildings account for 38% of the CO2 emissions in the U.S., according to the U.S. Green Building Council and demand for carbon neutral and/or zero-footprint buildings is at an all-time high.” (Inhabitat.com)

Hempboard is a fiber board made with hemp hurds. It can be used for walls, cabinetry, doors, shelves, furniture, and flooring.

Hemp insulation comes in many forms – mat and roll, spun and loosely compacted hemp fiber insulation, and hemcrete.

Hemp roof tiles can come in several shapes and sizes.

In all of the above applications, hemp is the perfect choice  because it is:

Water resistant

Insect resistant

Mold resistant

Rodent repellent

In some applications, the products are fire-resistant and,

In all applications the hemp is an excellent insulator and of course, helps to keep the air in the home clean.

Any why, do you ask, are hemp homes carbon negative? The growing and harvesting of the hemp plants lock up a larger amount of carbon dioxide (cleaning the air and environment)  than the lime binder used in the hemcrete production.

Farming hemp in the U.S. and building more hemp structures would be valuable – both economically AND environmentally.

Hemp ~ Our Planet’s EcoSolution


Hemp is more than just a plant ~ it is a gift from nature that can be manufactured into nearly 50,000 items.

We are at a time when we are becoming more conscious of what we eat, wear, use, and HOW we use it, in addition to the impact these items have on our environment and planet.

HEMP AS FOOD AND MEDICINE

Hemp is proven to be one of the natural ways to keep optimum health. It is used as food (hemp seed, hemp seed oil) and medicine. Because hemp is so nutrient-rich, it can, in some cases, eliminate the need for vitamin supplements (in addition to a proper diet). It has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the body. Hemp is also an anti-inflammatory, repairs cells, heals/treats/eliminates disease, and is a perfect energy food.

HEMP AS FUEL

Hemp hurds can be up to 85% cellulose. Ethanol is processed from cellulose, making it the perfect clean fuel. Automobile engines that run on fossil fuels are one of the main sources of greenhouse gases; moving to hemp fuel will allow for cleaner air and less pollution. Gasoline engines produce a carbon residue, engines that run on hemp fuel do not release carbon emissions like gasoline.

HEMP AS PAPER AND PLASTIC

Again, this is where the high cellulose content comes into play. Cellulose is one of the most common organic compounds on the earth. Cellulose is used in paper production (cardstock, cardboard), textile production and even is a component in rayon. Trees are 30-40% cellulose, and in order to make paper products many chemicals and other components must be used. Not so with hemp. Fossil fuel-based plastics can also be replaced with hemp. Hemp plastics are cleaner, stronger, and lighter; hemp plastic components are now being used in vehicle production. Hemp paper and plastic products are biodegradable and will not harm the environment; in fact, if left to decompose they would act more like fertilizer.

HEMP FOR BUILDING

Hemp is an excellent choice for building. It is strong, clean, antibacterial, mold-, rot-, insect-, and pest-repellent. Hemcrete used for foundations is stronger and more flexible than ordinary concrete. Hemp insulation has a high R-value and cleans the air. There are now hemp roof tiles, hemp oil based paints, hemp carpets, curtains, upholstery. Hemp fiberboard is stronger than ordinary fiberboard.

HEMP CLOTHING

Clothing made from hemp lasts longer than clothing processed from cotton. It has excellent thermal properties, is UV resistant, and stays strong after many washings. Cotton is very chemical and water intensive in growth and processing; hemp is not. The first Levi jeans were made from hemp, mainly for the gold-rushers in Nevada.

HEMP FOR BODY CARE

Hemp oil based products are excellent for hair and skin. The nutrients help the hair stay shiny and strong; the oils are perfect for skin, in all seasons. The oil and nutrients do not sit on the skin, they go INTO the skin for optimum results. Hemp is excellent for moisturizing, for eczema and psoriasis, rashes, neurodermitis, and can also help slow the aging process.

Hemp does not need massive amounts of chemicals to grow, it does not need pesticides or fertilizers. It cleans the air as it grows and also helps nourish the soil. It is a clean solution for almost all the products that we now use.

Hemp is THE EcoSolution.

Hemp Building Materials ~ Part 2


Recently I posted an article about hemp making a comeback as a building material (January 1 2012 post). Today I want to go into a little more detail about hemp building materials and their properties pertaining to their low toxicity and strength.

Let’s start with the foundation. Hemcrete is an excellent component for the foundation of a home. Hemp hurds are mixed with lime, cement, plaster, and water. A chemical reaction between the lime and the hemp hardens the mixture. As time goes on the compound continues to harden. (Archeologists found a bridge in France from the Merovingian period, 500-750 AD, that used this same process, and it is still standing today.) Hemcrete is half as light as traditional concrete foundations, yet 7 times stronger; it is also flexible, which is excellent for earthquake-prone areas.

Hemcrete walls have the same properties as hemcrete foundations and are 3 times more flexible as wood walls. Hemcrete is an excellent insulator as far as temperature is concerned and a sound insulator as well. Hemcrete is insect-, rot-, mold-resistant and does not release deadly toxins into the air; in fact, hemcrete walls will help CLEAN the air inside the home. It is also waterproof and fireproof.

“If hemp were legal in the United States, it would be the cheapest source of raw material for concrete-like foundations. Plus hemp hurds can be processed in existing wood mills without major changes to the equipment. Hemp-foundation homes are ecologically appropriate because they are inexpensive, and can be prepared on site using only a cement mixer, and the material would be cheap and abundant.” (Hemphasis.net)

Washington State University, in Pullman, Washington, developed a hemp fiberboard (similar to plywood). It is 3 times more flexible and twice as strong as traditional wood fiberboard. It has excellent weather and sound proof capabilities, is non-toxic, and is moisture-, mold- and pest-resistant.

Pipes can be made out of hemp fiber (hemp concrete pipes). They are more flexible than plastic pipes and are less prone to cracking.

Hemp insulation comes in many varieties. It has excellent R- value and thermal properties and works just as well as fiberglass insulation and other types of chemical based insulations, without the toxicity. Hemp insulation can be either hemcrete or rolled/mat style insulation, and again, is mold, insect, and rodent repellent.

Hemp homes are carbon neutral, and in some cases carbon negative. With more people being concerned about the carbon footprint they leave behind, hemp IS the perfect choice, for the health of the home inhabitants AND for the environment.

Hemp Making A Comeback ~ As A Building Material


You’ve heard that it is an excellent nutritional source, and that it is an excellent material for textiles. But did you know that industrial hemp is an exceptional substance for construction?

Let’s start at the ground level. Hemcrete as a foundation is the perfect basis for a structure. Hemcrete is a substance consisting of hemp hurds, lime, sand, plaster, cement and water. When dry, it is stone-hard; however, it also is flexible.

As insulation, hemp is ideal. It ‘breathes’ and helps clean the air, regulates humidity, is mildew resistant, fire resistant, insect resistant and waterproof when used above ground. The R-value of hemp insulation is comparable to other fiber insulation materials, about R-3.5 per inch.

Hemp composite boards (similar to plywood) have been in the making and tested by Washington State University. It was found that the hemp composite boards were 2 ½ times stronger than wood AND 3 time more elastic than wood composites. Similar to the hempcrete, hemp composite boards are water resistant.

Buildings and structures account for approximately 40% of CO2 emissions in the United States, thus creating a larger demand for environmentally wise building products. Homes constructed with hemp have a carbon neutral or carbon negative impact on the environment.

Because of the multitude applications of hemp, a home can be constructed almost entirely of hemp, even down to hemp plastic pipes (flexible and resistant to cracking) and roofing tiles, hemp carpets, and hemp-oil based paints.

Environmental responsibility and sustainability are becoming more prevalent; it makes sense that industrial hemp is the way to go when it comes to construction. And, most importantly, hemp building materials are 100% recyclable.

How wonderful it would be to see more homes and buildings taking advantage of hemp, a perfect non-toxic, renewable, earth-friendly source.