Hemp is finally making its comeback. Belgium's Martens Van Caimere Architecten has renovated a local home with a sustainable hemp-based insulation, known as hempcrete. The hemp-based render, made out of a mixture of hemp, lime and water, provides a more sustainable and economical building solution than concrete, and boasts superior insulation properties.
Hempcrete is actually quite similar to concrete, but is carbon negative, waterproof, fireproof, insulates well, and is completely recyclable, making it an optimal green building material. Architect Nikolaas Martens, one of the two co-founders of Martens Van Caimere Architecten, told Dezeen that hempcrete’s sustainable qualities make it an easy choice for home renovations.
“In our projects we try finding solutions to lower the building costs,” he told Dezeen. “In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Belgians were building houses that were badly or not insulated. So renovating these houses in a sustainable way tends to be expensive. Hempcrete combines the insulation and finishing in one layer, reducing building costs.” “Plus,” he continued, “it is durable and sustainable, because it is made from a waste product.”
In working with the Belgian architects on their home renovation, the owners wanted the house to be as efficient as possible. Accordingly, the hempcrete insulation was used in the renovation process in addition to other energy-efficient features such as solar panels and a rainwater filtration system that provides water heated by a wood-burning stove.
Photography by Cedric Verhelst