Hemp Houses for Ireland


From the country that brought us the plastic shopping bag tax comes (belatedly) more good news. Over the past few years Irish builders have been experimenting with making houses from hemp. The first was a 450 sq ft office-cum-accommodation in County Monaghan. Built as a joint project between OldBuilders and EcoHabitats, is said not to have contributed any CO2 emissions via its construction materials. (Maybe not strictly true, as the hemp was shipped in from France, due to a hemp cropping ban in Ireland) A timber framed house, the walls were made with a slurry mixture of hemp shiv (the pithy core) and lime, laid up in layers using formwork. A lime render completes the package. According to the builders, it dries quicker than concrete, whilst also being more ‘breathable’. The sound and thermal insulation properties are said to be considerable. And by one calculation it would be possible to grow sufficient hemp in four months to build a house. The first house is pictured left, a later cottage extension is shown right. Read more in this Sunday Times article by Colin Coyle, and see the minute-by-minute photo diary of construction here (unfortunately though the images lack captions) :: Hemp House