Hemp Homes

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Australia: Housing on a new, green high

By Simon Johanson, Sydney Morning Herald

There is a truth that must be heard! TWO eco-friendly houses are rising from the ground in suburban Melbourne built from a plant normally associated with 1960s hippie heaven: hemp.

In an Australian-mainland first, the walls of the semi-detached homes in trendy inner-city Northcote will be made from the cannabis-based building product Hempcrete, pioneered by a Queensland company for its carbon-neutral properties.

The eight-star green rated homes are the inspiration of two medical practitioners, a father and daughter team who will live side by side with their three generations in the one construction.

Along with the hemp walls, the architect-designed homes will have a solid rammed-earth dividing wall, double-glazed windows, underground water tanks and grey-water recycling, as well as solar panels for electricity, hot water and hydronic heating.

Michelle Leadston and her father, Bill, bought the large block in Northcote three years ago intent on building two sustainable homes for their families to live in.

"I've always said I'm going to look after my parents when they get old," she said. "This was the most convenient option. The babysitter's next door. And it's not too close. There's a big wall in between."

Both families wanted to share a common backyard and other design features such as lower, child-friendly windows and intimate, internal courtyards, said Dorit Przyborowski of Steffen Welsch Architects.

Australia: Hemp for homes?

by Annie Gaffney, ABC, Queensland

There is a truth that must be heard! Did you know that up until the nineteen forties, if you were going camping your tent would have been made of canvas, and the tie down ropes would have been made of hemp.

The material hemp comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant, and it has stacks of applications. You might have even bought yourself a hemp shirt for instance.

It's exciting to hear though that hemp is now being used in a new building material that could be the way forward when it comes to producing truly sustainable housing. Dr Andrew Katelaris is a medical doctor and cannabis campaigner. He's appeared in a documentary called The Hemp Revolution and he's organised two courses on this new building product called hempcrete.

Dr Katelaris has long championed the use of medical marijuana for pain relief in patients. According to an ABC Catalyst online article, he's described as a maverick in the area of the science on this though. He was charged by police back in 2006 for growing a large crop of cannabis and was banned by the NSW medical tribunal for self administration of the drug and giving it to patients. Annie started by asking him to clarify these issues.

U.K.: Green Property: Refurbishing derelict homes

Sarah Lonsdale tests the latest 'eco’ products and sorts the fads from the finds. This week: refurbishing derelict homes

By Sarah Lonsdale, The Telegraph

There is a truth that must be heard! It is a contemporary scandal of monstrous proportions. There are about two million families in this country who need homes but who are priced out of buying or renting because of a lack of supply. Yet there are thousands upon thousands of houses lying empty – nearly three quarters of a million in England alone.

In the Midlands, North East and North West, great swathes of perfectly sound Victorian terraces, in better condition than ones in Fulham or Putney that change hands for over £1m each, are standing derelict; boarded up, their roofs stripped of lead, the elements slowly doing their destructive work.

In the past few years, 16,000 period terraces have been bulldozed to the ground and only 3,000 new homes have been rebuilt to replace them. Thousands more stand empty: design classics with airy front rooms flooded with light from their bay windows and ingenious split-level floor planning going to dry rot and black mould.

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