Dr Marcus Barber, a Strategic Futurist and Value Systems specialist with LUFG, recently spoke to Liz Trevakis from ‘Drive’ on ABC radio Darwin. During his appearance, he suggested that hempcrete is the future of Australian homes, saying:
If we think of places like Australia and other areas around the world where we’re having significant bushfire challenges, this becomes really useful as a stock-standard, almost regulated requirement for what we build homes out of.
And Barber is right. As he pointed out, hempcrete is the perfect building block for Australian homes, as it’s bushfire resistant, lightweight, pest resistant, and provides excellent insulation. In fact, hempcrete scored a perfect ‘0’ on the USA’s ASTM E84 test, meaning it fails to catch fire or produce smoke when exposed to fire.
Hempcrete dates back to the early 1960s when people first began experimenting with “waste product” building blocks. These bricks were originally made with straw, but the straw was eventually swapped with hemp to create a cheaper, stronger and greener block. As you make hempcrete by combining limestone with the off-cuts of hemp plants, you can harvest it from plants that are grown for hemp flower and seed products (like hemp oil). This makes it very environmentally friendly, as it reduces the amount of the hemp plant that’s wasted.
Despite its great promise, hempcrete is a relatively new obsession for Australians. It only started to become popular in 2016/2017 when cannabis building products started to gain attention globally. Still, there are a handful of Australian companies that build hempcrete houses today (some of which you can find on our Cannabis Companies database).
Though hempcrete is new, it could one day be standard for Australian homes. And you only need to watch a video of someone blasting hempcrete with fire to see why.
If you’d like to listen to Barber’s full segment on Drive, you can find it here.