This past week, my husband Aaron and I had the opportunity to attend the first hemp and lime (Hempcrete) Building Course in the USA, taught by world renowned hemp and ecological builder Steve Allin of the International Hemp Building Association. The event was sponsored by Original Green Distribution (OGD), Prescott WI. OGD provides 2 product lines — Hemp Shield and the OGD brand HempStone lime component binder.
The course was held at the Eagle Rest Eco-Village, a Sustainable Community & Land Conservation Development Organization in the Lower Saint Croix Valley near Prescott, WI. The Eagle Rest Eco-Village will be more then just the Eco-Center; it will be a community of homes, schools and farm land that will provide families with a safe place to live, re-connect with their food and grow as a community.
This 3 day hemp course provided educational background on building with hemp, it history, binders, timber types, frame systems, casting, bricks, mixing, shuttering, window details, application of hempcrete into wall shutters and the final render (hemp plastering).
Hempcrete is a blend of hemp hurd and a lime binder. The lime based binders have hydrophobic characteristics that are mixed with other materials to increase compression strength and lessen set-up time. When working with lime binders, wearing a face mask is suggested. Hempcrete is breathable, has thermal inertia and latent heat characteristics, and produces an ‘echoing’ effect of self cooling or heating. Hempcrete buildings keep a even temperature year round and create a healthy living environment and air quality. On top of all that, hempcrete has been calculated to be overall a carbon negative product. It is pretty amazing to shutter a wall, pour in the hempcrete, give it a light tamping, remove the shutter, and before you know it you have a living breathing wall!
If you would like to learn more about building with hemp you must order the 2nd edition of Steve Allin’s book Building with Hemp.
CBS WCCO Channel 4 presented a story on the construction, and I must say they did a good job of representing the event.
At the end of the course we learned our Certificate of Competence in working with Hemp Building Materials and left behind this first hemp wall in WI!
Many thanks to the OGD team and Steve Allin for sharing his knowledge.