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Hemp in modern construction

19.09.2019

In order to achieve maturity and compete on equal terms with companies that manufacture building materials from fossil raw materials, it is necessary to conduct a huge amount of research, offer the construction market effective materials and technologies, and also change the stigma of thinking of potential consumers .

Steam, heat insulation, glues, plasters, building mixtures, as well as other environmentally friendly materials based on hemp have excellent prospects in modern construction. 

Various biological-based building materials, consisting of organic raw materials, are actively studied at universities and research centers, often in tandem with enterprises specializing in the production of building materials. One of the most popular plant materials is the various components of technical hemp, which are actively used both as a base and as fillers of traditional or ultra-modern building mixtures, plasters, impregnations, heaters, etc. We can say that this kind of interest on the part of both manufacturers and buyers in the near future will lead to the commercialization of such trends.

For example, since June of this year Nature Fibers manufactures hemp insulation panels. According to the management of the above Canadian company, the exclusive building properties used in the building materials produced at their production facilities are excellent insulation, water repellent characteristics, excellent hypoallergenic and acoustic qualities of heat-insulating plates produced at the factory. 

Nature Fibers Production Capacity

At the facilities of the Nature Fibers factory, primary trusts are processed (separation of fiber from the fire). In the future, it is from fires that most of the products are made, which are then sent to the construction business. According to one of the company’s employees, “In the harsh North American market of thermal insulation materials, hemp heat panels manufactured by their company are the only environmentally friendly product so far.”

 

Hemp insulation

“Despite the fact that while hemp insulation materials are mainly used by artisans and just a few construction contractors in Canada, it’s just a matter of time before they get into the“ Mass market ”category. In particular, there is a huge development potential for integrating natural fibers into building materials such as insulation. The department is actively exploring the potential of wool, hemp, linen and other crops, ”says Pierre Blanchet, professor at the Department of Wood and Forest Sciences at the University of Laval (Quebec).

The faculty of engineering at the University of Sherbrooke (Université de Sherbrooke) has developed a vapor barrier based on hemp waste. The purpose of this kind of research is twofold: on the one hand, to increase the profitability of agricultural producers, on the other hand, to create technologies that use less energy than when producing synthetic materials.

Since 2009, the company Art du Chanvre has been specializing in the use of natural hemp building materials (it is engaged in the insulation and decoration of premises made of bonded concrete). Using five natural materials - lime, hemp, wood, sand and clay, the company builds entire houses - from the foundation to the interior decoration. Despite the fact that the construction process takes from six months to a year and the cost of hemp construction is 20-30% higher than that of a traditional one, there is still no rebound from customers. A feature of the operation of hemp rooms is not only their environmental friendliness, but also much lower operating costs, allowing for only a few years to recoup investments in the construction of a building from hemp building materials.

Despite the fact that the Art du Chanvre business is still insignificant (the company builds about three houses a year and carries out 12 to 20 construction, insulation and finishing works), Canadian citizens are increasingly interested in such methods of creating modern buildings and structures . According to Anthony Nero, director of the enterprise, “In Quebec we can eat organic food, wear organic dress, but we can build organic housing so far not exclusively on an industrial scale.” 

   

 Hemp indoor / outdoor Art du Chanvre

Until recently, Mr. Nero used hemp building materials made in France and Belgium, but after the launch of the Nature Fibers factory he will use Canadian materials, which will significantly reduce the cost of hemp buildings and structures being built by him.

For example, Nature Fibers was able to apply for approval of its hemp fiber panels. The manufacturer is developing an environmental product declaration, a specialized form based on the ISO 14025 protocol. “The potential is huge, but the construction market is slowly adapting. We must convince entrepreneurs one after the other, ”say factory managers predicting an“ exponential ”growth in hemp panel sales in the coming years. However, at the moment hemp heat insulation boards are sold five times more expensive than traditional fiberglass foam. While this product remains a niche in the market. 

Commentary of the Ukrainian Technical Hemp Association

A huge number of the main components of the modern construction industry are currently made from fossil raw materials. For example, the technologies used by the petrochemical industry are more than a hundred years ahead of similar bioresource industries. Therefore, in order to achieve maturity and compete on equal terms with companies that produce building materials from fossil raw materials, it is necessary to conduct a huge amount of research, offer the construction market effective materials and technologies, and also change the stigma of thinking of potential consumers.

The platform for solving the problems of the hemp construction industry developing in Ukraine will be the round table “ Hemp raw materials - technologies for its use in construction, production of biocomposite materials and furniture ”, which will be held on November 12 as part of the Hemp University at the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine.

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14.10.2020

 

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