A new sustainable housing project in the northwest of Scotland will feature industrial hemp as a main building material.
The eco-friendly material is the main component of a pre-fabricated wall system called Hembuild™ – a mixture of the plant’s woody core and a lime-based binder. The system was supplied by Hemcrete Projects, an English housing company that specializes in hemp-based construction. So far, two prototype houses have been completed in the Achabeag township, both with very different designs.
Peter Smith of Roderick James Architects explained the decision to use the Hemp-build walling system to Green Building Press.
“Hembuild™ ticks all of the boxes when it comes to delivering sustainable properties, and the system is ideally suitable for what are two totally different styled houses but which fulfil the requirements of a scheme where the use of natural materials and environmental sustainability are the order of the day.”
Combined with insulation made from hemp fibre, Hembuild™ provides the village houses with “a groundbreaking combination of insulation and thermal inertia,” reducing the energy required for heating.
Another advantage of hemp is its carbon-negative profile. Hemp acts to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by absorbing and trapping CO2 within the Hembuild™ walls.
And as a crop, hemp’s fast cultivation cycle makes it a much more sustainable material than traditional timber.
These unique properties have made hemp a popular choice for eco-friendly housing projects around the world. Hemp-based materials have already been used to build houses in Canada, the U.S. and other parts of Europe.
The Scotland project, developed by Ardtornish Estate and Roderick James Architects LLP, has permission to build 20 houses in total. 6 homes are designated as affordable housing, with an average build cost of less than £100K.