Hemp-baled Houses

The other day we highlighted a new book on housing built from hemp. And we suggested that hempcrete, or Isochanvre, wasn't the only way to construct buildings with the wonder crop. That's because some folk have been whacking up structures made of hemp-bales. Just like strawbales, but using the stalks of Cannabis sativa, instead of cereal crops. The first to lay claim to this method were the owners of Hempola, who, about four years ago, built a 7,000 square feet octagonal shaped house in Canada's Ontario. True to their calling they also clad the roof in hemp-based shingles from EnviroShake. A more recent wall raising, using hemp-bales, has been happening on Salt Spring Island, near Vancouver. Hand-built, and rendered with natural pigments, iron oxide and ochre, the house will also be off the grid using a woodstove for heating that will also be channelled through a clothes drying cabinet. Solar and propane gas will provide the other energy needs. Rainwater harvesting and greywater diversion are also a feature of the design. It has also been suggested, though we had trouble finding secondary sources to confirm it, that the last two projects by the Sustainable Building Design and Construction program of Fleming College were using bales of hemp, not straw. But they might not be the easiest material to work with. Glen Hunter notes on his blog of one project he participated in: "It's first time that I've worked on a house built with hemp bales. They're a pain in the ass. The hemp doesn't rip, it's bleeding hard to pierce them and they dull any blade."Via ::Ontario Hemp Alliance, and the ::Times Colonist.

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