Natural building blocks out of hemp

The hemp plant (Cannabis sativa L.) gets a bad rap because of its association with drugs, but it was already in use 8.000 years ago and is present today in a wide array of sectors ranging from medicines, body care products, and clothing to the automotive industry.

One promising application for this plant is as a building material for Bioclimatic architecture in the form of a brick.

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The Spanish newspaper El Mundo reports about Cannabric (Spanish only), a company launched nine years ago by the German architect Monika Brümmer in Guadix, province of Granada. Her career project researching vegetable building materials led her to this hemp product, achieved through an arduous trial and error process.

(Photo: Courtesy of Cannabric)

This “eco-brick” is composed of industrial hemp, natural slaked lime and a mixture of minerals. The higher price this brick commands versus a traditional one is more than compensated by a series of advantages:

  • Growing hemp improves the condition of the ground. It is a robust and fast-growing plant that requires neither herbicides nor pesticides during its cultivation.
  • Industrial hemp has a very low thermal conductivity, producing a brick with vastly superior insulation properties against both cold and heat.
  • It produces no toxic by products and is fully recyclable
  • It absorbs sound and is non-flammable

It is a popular material in the cave houses typical of the area around Guadix, in Granada and it is also gaining ground in other regions around Spain, as it is especially suited to areas reaching extremes of temperature in summer and winter. It has even been used in the restoration of a monastery in the province of Palencia. Hemp bricks have also been used in projects in France and England.

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8 Comments on “Natural building blocks out of hemp”

  1. lingfield Says:

    This is truly amazing – do you know how big the price difference is?

  2. Dean Says:

    I understand that the hemp blocks, similar to the concrete blocks, are actually
    cheaper,
    (more)
    The hemp blocks have a much higher insulating value. Saves resources for heating and cooling.
    The hemp blocks are much lighter. Saves on delivery energy, and construction labor.
    The material (hemp) is a very renewal resource. (unless you live in the US.
    Check out the real reason the US has a ban on hemp cultivation. (hint, follow the money) Growing hemp improves the soil health.
    Chemicals and fertilizers are not needed to grow hemp. (see hint)
    After you use/ take the hemp fiber you still have the oil to run your diesel engine on
    (do I hear less forign oil importation, see hint)
    and you grind the seeds into a fine powder that can provide about 50% protien and
    all your essential amino acids. Cheaper than red meat or chicken and better for you.
    But we can’t grow it in the US because our elected officials passed laws against it.
    The hemp industry would create many jobs.
    The hemp industry would create health for our body and economy and enviroment.
    It makes a very durable textile.
    I could keep going, you should get the point by now. It’s about time for hemp here.

  3. Peter May Says:

    Please keep me informed! Thanks.

  4. Calvin Says:

    Where can you buy the Hemp blocks?????
    Thanks

  5. rita bastardo Says:

    Buenas me encuentro haciendo mi tesis sobre el bloque de cañamo..la cual lo empleo como una alternativa en materiales de construccion para que sea utilizado en venezuela estado Bolivar…pero aqui no se encuentra ese bloque..quisiera saber como podria obtenerlo para poder presentarlo en mi tesis.de ingeneria civil

  6. RAY CADA Says:

    where can i get hemp blocks ray

  7. edy Says:

    I need to buy several truck loads of hemp blocks for building my house. Where do I get them? I feel the alternatives available are all inferior products pushed on me by the government.


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