By Sun Joo Kim
Hemp plants are making their way into homes in a healthy way. The fibers of the hemp plant are used in the form of panels and are a version of paper-crete, a mixture of Portland cement, lime (the substance that makes concrete workable) and recycled fibers. Because of the high density of air pockets created in the manufacturing process, the fiber-crete becomes a light-weight, insulating material. This makes it suitable for all but the most severe climates.
The new use of hemp and other fibers reflects an increasing effort to make U.S. homes healthier as well as energy efficient. According to proponents of the new building product, hemp-filled walls are non-toxic, mildew-resistant, pest-free and flame-resistant. The plant material also absorbs carbon dioxide, acting as a built in air filter.
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