Hempcrete: Is Colorado’s Hemp-Based Concrete a Game Changer?
If you're familiar with Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke, you probably remember that an entire van was made out of marijuana. Well, as far-fetched as that may have seemed at the time, something similar is being used more and more in the Centennial State that's actually similar to the comedy's weed van, and that is hemp-based concrete.
Hemp-Based Concrete Grows in Popularity in Colorado
Hemp-based concrete, or hempcrete as it's sometimes called, is a composite of hemp hurd and lime, sand, or other comparable materials that has been used in France since the 1990s.
It's easy to work with, doesn't require the use of expansion joints, and acts as both an insulator and moisture regulator. In addition, because it's plant-based, hempcrete absorbs carbon dioxide for the entire duration of its life.
There are, however, a couple of drawbacks to this hemp-based concrete, as it is more permeable than traditional concrete and allows vapor to get in. Plus, hempcrete isn't as strong as regular concrete and therefore requires additional framing and shouldn't be used for load bearing.
However, small buildings and houses are being built around Colorado using the product, the first of which was erected near Berthoud, Colorado.
Like anything, there are pros and cons to using hempcrete instead of traditional concrete, but the phenomenon continues to gain popularity and appears to be proving to be quite the game changer.