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‘Hempcrete’ Offers Builders an Insulation Alternative

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The recreational marijuana market is becoming a growing source of projects for the construction industry. But what happens when the plant itself becomes one of the materials used to build projects? That reality is already here.

As reported by Montana State University (MSU), a research project on campus is looking at ways to use leftovers from industrial hemp plants for construction projects. Drew McNally, a junior student, takes the plant’s chipped-up inner stalk and combines it with a lime-based binder to make “hempcrete.”

“It doesn’t really flow like normal concrete,” she told the campus news service, adding that the material is lightweight and can be used to provide insulation and structure in walls. But this is not the only advantage of the product, which has been used in Europe and Asia and has a resistance to fire, mold and pests. It also can be used as an alternative to foam-based insulation.

Kirby Hancock, a lead architect at Constructive Solutions, approached MSU about the project and secured funding from Farmers Union Enterprises to cover its material costs. He added that the project can help builders fine-tune their material mix. “I think there’s a lot of potential for this material, which is why I’m excited about it,” he added.

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