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.
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.