These stunning homes are sustainability goals.
Hemp can be used to make products from furniture to toys to clothing to cars (yes, cars), and more – this is such a versatile construction material there’s virtually nothing you can’t do with it. But, homes? Why make a home out of hemp?
Well, it’s said that hemp insulation actually performs better than most modern insulators and can also outlast it. Hemp may allow for greater breathability in a structure so moisture can escape, and it’s also non-toxic, termite-resistant, fire-resistant, and mold and bacteria-resistant, which is ideal for those with allergies. Hemp homes are able to be greener, and cleaner in their construction. New home, without that (toxic) new home smell? That’s a way to really start fresh.
While the hempcrete (a hemp-lime composite building material) that’s used to build homes is creating some pretty innovative structures, archaeologists believe a similar technology was used as far back as the days of ancient Egypt. So, make no mistake – this ‘trend’ is actually a return to our roots – and what better time than now, when sustainability is as pressing as ever. Here are a few gorgeous structures that prove hemp can do pretty stunning things.
This villa is the first house in Israel that’s built almost entirely from hemp. Built to be an ‘archetype of sustainability,’ the 270-square-meter structure is meant to spark a dialogue about the environment. The architects avoided cement almost entirely except for the foundations and a mandatory bomb shelter and instead, it relies on hemp and hydraulic lime and wood. The architect, Maoz Alon says, “the walls are soft, they breathe and they smell good… they make you feel wrapped in softness.”
This refurbished house in the French village of Douvaine was ‘dilapidated’ before it was bought by a family who asked Swiss architecture office FRAR to turn it into a holiday home. While its original condition was preserved as much as possible, hempcrete was a major part of the holiday home’s rebirth – the walls are now made of stone and hemp, and have been left exposed in every room. The architect, Kaveh Rezakhanlou says, “(the project) was about restoration and refurbishment. The old and new become complementary and you appreciate one because of the other.
According to Nikolaas Martens, the architect behind this hemp-insulated bungalow in Belgium, “in the 1950s, 60s and 70s Belgians were building houses that were badly or not insulated so renovating these houses in a sustainable way is expensive. Hempcrete combines the insulation and finishing in one layer which reduces building costs.” The house is self-sufficient in terms of energy thanks to the hempcrete insulation and also a wood-burning stove which provides all the heating and hot water, solar panels which generate electricity, and a rainwater filtration system that cleans water for drinking.
Located in Asheville, North Carolina, this 3,400 square ft. house by Push Designs definitely boasts dream-home-level design, but is light on energy usage, and overall costs. It uses hempcrete as an insulator, the interior walls are made from Purepanel, a recycled paper product, and window frames are salvaged, and made with high-tech glass, all adding up to a light footprint. The home got some coverage by CNN and USA, celebrating the fact that energy-efficiency and modern design can co-exist.
500 bales of hemp were used in the construction of this 320-square metre farmhouse-style home in the rural town of Taranaki, New Zealand. The home, which is the first of its kind in New Zealand, was featured on the NZ TV series Grand Designs. In addition to its sustainable design, it also boasts electromagnetic shielding in the walls and on the windows in the bedroom wing, and also, an affordable price tag – it came in above the $1 million budget. The home belongs to ‘alternative lifestylers,” Greg Whitham and Gayle Avery – who actually thought about growing their own hemp to make their home, but processing would have been too pricey.