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‘It’s almost carbon-negative’: how hemp became a surprise building material

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Hemp, a non-psychoactive variant of cannabis, is emerging as a sustainable building material known as hempcrete, offering a low-carbon alternative to concrete
• Hempcrete is praised for its environmental benefits, including non-toxicity and resistance to mould, fire, and infestation

🔭 The context: The cement industry contributes to approximately 8% of global CO2 emissions
• Hempcrete, made from hemp mixed with lime, represents a viable, eco-friendly substitute, capturing more CO2 than it emits during its growth cycle
• Legalized in 2018, industrial hemp in the U.S. is gaining traction for building and insulation purposes

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Hemp cultivation can significantly impact carbon capture, with the potential to sequester up to 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare
• Its use in construction materials aligns with global efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, offering a renewable resource that reduces the carbon footprint of buildings

⏭️ What's next: The hemp-lime industry faces challenges competing with established construction practices prioritizing cost and control
• However, the global market for green building materials, including hempcrete, is expected to grow, driven by increased awareness and demand for sustainable construction options

💬 One quote: “This material is almost carbon-negative...we can make healthy homes for people to live in – and you’ve loaded your deck to make a healthy indoor environment built using historic building materials with a track record that’s thousands of years old.”

📈 One stat: The global market for hempcrete is projected to grow at 16% a year from 2021 to 2028, with the overall market for green building materials expected to reach $419 billion by 2026

Click for more news covering the latest on carbon

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