This Little House Is Absolutely Incredible – And Its Made From Hemp! Hempcrete Cottage is based in Byron Bay Australia and built by Balanced Earth, a progressive team of builders and designers who recognize the impact of building materials and construction methods on a building and its inhabitants. Specializing in hempcrete and reclaimed hardwood, they bring creative solutions with sensible costs to all of their projects. Hempcrete Cottage is a lovely example of an eco-friendly house in a simple design that takes advantage of its location and the materials used to build it. The home has a covered entrance and another covered patio that looks out at the surrounding natural view. Inside you will find plenty of windows to let in the natural light and surrounding views, with wooden floors and high ceilings for a spacious feel.
Hempcrete is a central component in many of their buildings and is a material example of the low-impact building philosophy of Balanced Earth. Their first hemp project was at Sky Farm, where the three founders of the company first met. They primarily build hemp walls in-situ, packing a mix of hemp hurds, natural lime binder, and water between formwork around a timber frame. The formwork can be removed the next day to expose a wall that is typically rendered externally and either rendered or left raw internally. The following are some of the key benefits and properties of Hempcrete.
Whole wall system. Rendered hemp around a timber frame forms a complete wall, eliminating the need for the layers of materials in a more traditional wall system such as cladding, wall wrap, insulation, gyprock plaster, paint, and even skirting and architraves.
Carbon sequestration. Hempcrete sequesters carbon from the atmosphere for the life of the building. An average home using 50 square meters of hemp will lock up around 5.5 tonnes of carbon. This can be measured against the vast emissions from a regular wall system (around 45 to 50 tonnes), resulting in a net carbon benefit of around 50 tonnes.
Highly fire resistant. Accredited Hurd and Lime products available in Australia have been rated for use in BAL-FZ (Fire Zone), the highest possible rating.
Hempcrete is an insulator. They typically build the walls to a thickness of 250mm. This achieves an R-value of 3.55, standard insulation batts are around R-2.5.
Mould, damp, rodent, and pest deterrent. The natural lime binder acts as a repellant to mold, rodents, and other pests.
No paint is required. Hempcrete eliminates the need for paint, one of the largest contributors to Volatile Organic Compounds in a home.
Low impact farming. Hemp as a crop requires minimal irrigation and fertilizer and no chemicals or pesticides.
Hempcrete as a retrofit and renovation building material. They have successfully retrofitted brick veneer homes with internal hemp walls, providing much-needed insulation to these notorious Australian hot boxes.
Healthy home. All of these points combine to provide a natural, breathable, healthy home. More and more frequently they are contacted by clients with respiratory and other health concerns as well as by building biologists who recognize it as a positive alternative to traditional building methods.