There are thousands of uses of hemp, and one of them is hemp as a building material. An organic French winery, Chateau Maris, recently built a wine cellar using bricks made from hemp and lime. Together with a green roof and solar panels, the building is a net-zero energy building, meaning that it produces as much energy as it consumes.
In addition to being energy self-sufficient, the 9,000 square-foot wine cellar is also biodegradable. The bricks keep a consistent temperature without the use of heating, cooling or ventilating systems. It maintains a constant level of humidity, and absorbs carbon from its surroundings.
The hemp bricks insulate the building and are also breathable, so the structure is kept warm in winter and cool in the summer.
The owners of the winery spent five year researching different natural building materials, and decided on the hemp/lime combination because it was the least expensive and produced locally.
Hemp doesn’t rely on irrigation or fertilizers and it grows very quickly, producing good soil structure, eliminating erosion issues. Another benefit is that the bricks are very light which makes them both easy to transport and work with.
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