In the Founding Fathers’ day, hemp was used to make rope and “unsightly” (according to Thomas Jefferson) clothing. It could now return to its roots as something used for work instead of play, if James Savage of Green Built has his way. He wants to start making buildings out of hempcrete.
“It just happened to be the thing with all the attributes we were looking for in a building material,” he tells The New York Times. “Who knew hemp would be the answer to what we were looking for?” Made from the inner woody part of hemp plants (hurds) plus lime and water, hempcrete is a good insulator (Savage says he’s insulated his walls with hempcrete and no longer needs air conditioning), flexible, mold- and pest-resistant, and nearly fireproof. And you can’t smoke it, as the strain used in the building material contains only 0.3 percent THC, while medicinal and recreational varieties have 5 to 10 percent.