Hemp used to get a bad rap, but times are finally changing. Australian design studio Stefen Welsch Architects unveiled their dual-occupancy home for three generations made from a combination of rammed earth, timber and Hempcrete. The hempcrete is a bio-composite made of the inner woody core of the hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder, and it's one of the world's most sustainable building materials. Hemp walls have porous surfaces that regulate the humidity inside and allow the space to breathe, and boasts a whole host of other benefits as well. Step in for more details.
The Northcote Hemp Houses in Melbourne are two attached family homes that share a backyard and are built with a combination of rammed earth, timber and Hempcrete walls. The project received an 8-star energy rating and boasts passive solar design. The walls have high thermal mass and insulation thanks to rammed earth and hempcrete walls, both of which are increasingly used by environmentally conscious builders. Hempcrete is made of the woody core of the industrial hemp plant, it is easy to source, has a very low embodied energy footprint and the potential to make a wall carbon neutral.
The Melbourne houses provide an excellent example for sustainable design that, thanks to a cleverly conceived courtyard, maximizes natural light and is coupled with a range of energy and water-saving measures.