Hemp has a contradicting character, on the one hand it is almost a miracle plant that has immense capacity to absorb good amounts of carbon dioxide, and on the other hand its source is rather scandalous. It can breathe four times more carbon dioxide from trees during its rather quick growing cycle of 12 to 14 weeks; and takes just four months to mature when compared to regular trees that take an average of 20 years to mature. It is these attributes that make hemp an eco friendly choice and the reason why the owners of Knapp’s Castle in Santa Barbara plan to build a sustainable home from hempcrete, a mixture of hemp, lime and water.
Hemp Technologies, a Carolina based construction company has already built hemp homes in Hawaii, Texas and Idaho and its North Carolina project , known as ‘NauHaus,’ in fact received the LEED platinum status too. Before the company embarked on the use of hempcrete, they toured extensively across U.K, France, Switzerland, etc and then finally approved the use of hemp.
The greatest hurdle in using hemp is the fact that’s its production is banned across most states. Industrial hemp is derived from Cannabis sativa, the plant that produces marijuana. It contains traces of tetrshydrocannabinal, the primary ingredient responsible for the ban of marijuana.
The conditions in California are almost war like over the use of hemp. The thing to be seen is whether the goodness of hemp overpowers its downside. Fascinatingly, one acre of hemp can produce as much fiber pulp as can four acres of trees, thus also being a solution to the ever declining forest cover.