Over the past decade, the UK has experienced a steady increase in the uses of hemp and straw as natural crop-based building materials. Historically, these materials were used to build houses and farm buildings, but in previous decades there has been a decline.
The construction industry is now looking for ways to combine modern building techniques with natural materials. Using hemp in buildings is particularly new, because it was illegal to grow hemp in the UK from 1928 to 1993.
Renewable natural materials such as hemp and straw can contribute significantly to low-carbon construction, but information is lacking as to their long-term performance. Until this information is available, there are steps one can take to minimize the risks.
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