Hempcrete: The Future of Concrete?

Did you know that more concrete is made each year than any other man-made material? It’s second only to water as the most consumed substance on the planet. It’s been reported that each year, more than one ton of concrete is produced for each person on earth!

Hempcrete is being billed as an eco-friendly alternative to concrete. Hempcrete is a generic term for a hemp-based building material that can be used in place of concrete. It consists of a mixture of hemp, lime, sand, plaster, and cement, and can be used in the same way as concrete.

There are a number of trademarked variations for hempcrete. Here are some of them:

Hemcrete, or Tradical Hemcrete, is a trademarked version of hempcrete produced by Lime Technology in the UK.

Canobiote consists of hemp hurds coated with mineral salts. Canobiote is intended to provide insulation for wood-framed, closed lofts and floors . It’s particularly ideal for those that receive regular use.

Canobiote was patented by a group called La Chanvriere de L’Aube (LCDA). LCDA is a French company that specializes in production and processing of industrial hemp. Established in 1973, LCDA works together with many hemp farmers located in Champagne – the vineyard region in Eastern France.

Also patented by LCDA, Canosmose is a light-weight concrete made with hemp hurds and natural lime. Canosmose is intended for non-load bearing masonry, such as walls sectioned with wooden supports.

Isochanvre was created by France Périer, who previously worked for LCDA promoting Canobiote. Like Canobiote, Isochanvre is typically used for acoustic and thermal insulation. It is also increasingly being used as a construction material.

The Difference?
These products appear to be quite similar. Isochanvre and Canobiote are slanted towards insulation, while Canosmose and Hemcrete are promoted as a construction material.

As with many proprietary products, it’s not absolutely clear what the technical difference is between these products. What we do know is that they are all hemp-based, and used for housing construction. We also know that hempcrete has some great benefits over concrete.

The Future of Concrete?
Who knows what the future of concrete will be. Given the sheer scale of the concrete industry, I think it’s unlikely that one solution will completely replace concrete. I suspect we’ll see more and more environmentally friendly versions of concrete. Hempcrete will be one of the many. But one thing’s for sure; hempcrete won’t make any headway in the U.S. until the U.S. government finally recognizes hemp for its outstanding potential.

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