Researchers at Bath University believe that hemp could be used to build environmentally friendly homes of the future.
By Staff, theengineer.co.uk
A consortium, led by the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials based at the university, has constructed a small building out of hemp-lime to test its properties as a building material.
Called the ’HemPod’, the one-storey building has highly insulating walls made from the chopped woody core, or shiv, of the industrial hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder.
The hemp shiv traps air in the walls, and the hemp itself is porous, providing a good level of insulation. The lime-based binder sticks together and protects the hemp and makes the building material fire resistant.
The industrial hemp plant takes in CO2 as it grows, and the lime render absorbs even more of the climate change gas, effectively giving the building an extremely low-carbon footprint.
Dr Mike Lawrence, research officer from the university’s Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, said: ’While there are already some houses in the UK built using hemp and lime, the HemPod will be the first hemp-lime building to be constructed purely for scientific testing.
’We will be closely monitoring the house for 18 months using temperature and humidity sensors buried in the walls, measuring how quickly heat and water vapour travel through them.’