Growing houses: hempcrete could be the answer to building supply shortages
Houses made from hemp grown in South Australia could be the next sustainable solution to the nation’s building supplies crisis.
“It has massive potential and there’s lots of interest in being able to build houses now from hemp,” said the University of Adelaide’s Professor Rachel Burton, Researcher in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.
Hemp is emerging as a greener alternative to more traditional materials, such as bricks and concrete, for building more energy efficient buildings
This is one of the topics in the University’s latest podcast series, The Discovery Pod. The series covers diverse subjects from hemp homes to using dogs to sniff out diseases and how computers may be used to help treat mental illness.
“Hemp is an extremely good insulator. It has been recognised that it controls humidity and it provides a lovely living environment for humans,” said Professor Burton.
“It’s fire retardant, so ideal for Australian conditions and maybe California and other places that are hot and dry.”
Industrial hemp is a type of cannabis that doesn’t have high levels of THC - the chemical that triggers the “high” associated with marijuana.
It is a good crop alternative for farmers and well-suited to South Australia’s climate.
Fibres from inside the plant’s stem can be mixed with water and lime to produce a concrete-like mixture, known as hempcrete, which can be used to create bricks or the fibres can be used in pre-cast panels for sound-proofing or insulation.
“There are still many barriers to producing hempcrete but hemp houses and other plant-based products have huge potential to change how we build. People are looking for more environmentally friendly ways to reduce reliance on scarce resources.”The University of Adelaide’s Professor Rachel Burton, Researcher in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.
“There are still many barriers to producing hempcrete but hemp houses and other plant-based products have huge potential to change how we build,” said Professor Burton.
"People are looking for more environmentally friendly ways to reduce reliance on scarce resources.”
Professor Andy Lowe is back for season three, hosting the latest 14-part series of captivating conversations with top researchers about the world we are living in and how they are helping to tackle some of society’s challenges.
Episodes one to 10 of The Discovery Pod are already available online.
- Can we build a greener future with plants? – Professor Rachel Burton
- Biomimicry: Engineering solutions inspired by nature – Dr Noune Melkoumian
- Saving lives with a sniff: How can we decode disease with scent? – Dr Anne-Lise Chaber
- Is blue carbon the answer to lowering emissions? The science of sinking carbon – Dr Alice Jones
- The Business of Innovation: What does it take to bring big ideas to market? – Dr Stephen Rodda
- The computer will see you now. Can AI therapy fill the gap? – Associate Professor Carolyn Semmler
- Our fuel for the future? Breaking down green hydrogen – Professor Gregory Metha
- How can we rethink reoffence? – Dr Julie-Ann Toohey
- Dedication or deception? How greenwashing impacts us all - Professor Melissa Nursey-Bray
- How can we build better care for men's mental health? The conversation Australia needs to have - Professor Deborah Turnbull.
More episodes will be released fortnightly.
To listen, visit the Discovery Pod webpage www.adelaide.edu.au/research/the-discovery-pod, Spotify or Apple Music.
Professor Rachel Burton, Researcher, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide.
Phone: +61 (0)419 769 713 Email: email@example.com
Jessica Stanley, Media Officer, The University of Adelaide.
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