WHAT’S NEW IN HEMPCRETE BLOCKS?
It was really interesting to see IsoHemp’s new Hempro loadbearing system for hempcrete block walls under construction on site last month. The new system consists of normal hempcrete blocks that have been adapted to allow the casting of a reinforced concrete frame inside the hempcrete wall as the building goes up.
PROS AND CONS
Obviously this increases the carbon footprint of the building as the structural frame is now an emitter of CO2 (concrete) instead of a carbon-sequestering material (timber).
However, in the short term, this system has the potential to significantly lower the cost of hempcrete housing in commercial contexts, make hempcrete more “accessible” to large scale developers and increase the take up of hempcrete in housing developments across the UK.
WHY IS THIS DEVELOPMENT IMPORTANT?
Hempcrete blocks from a range of manufacturers have been used in the UK for many years now. They bring huge advantages over conventional construction blocks in terms of their thermal performance, passive moisture management, and low/zero-embodied carbon.
Unfortunately, the fact that they are a thermal (non-load-bearing) block has always been a barrier to “mainstreaming” in commercial construction projects. This is because a timber structural frame is needed. Some large developers see timber frame as a more costly or complex system to construct on site. The new Hempro system from IsoHemp has the potential to change that.
WHERE DO I FIND OUT MORE?
This architect-designed self build new build house in Belgium was the first opportunity the UK Hempcrete team have had to see the new Hempro system under construction. We can’t wait to use it for the first time here!