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The house that hemp built: Fargo developers build hempcrete home to study energy-saving benefits – INFORUM

FARGO, ND — At first glance, they look like identical houses rising up in the middle of the 300 Block of 10th Street North.

Both are tall, vertical buildings, with matching diagonal roofs, a 12-foot-high ceilin…….

FARGO, ND — At first glance, they look like identical houses rising up in the middle of the 300 Block of 10th Street North.

Both are tall, vertical buildings, with matching diagonal roofs, a 12-foot-high ceiling and identical placement of windows and doors.

But step closer, and the difference becomes clear. One house is built the usual way, with a wood frame, fiberglass insulation and white Tyvek house wrap.

The other features nubby, tan-colored walls which look like they’re made of tightly compacted wood mulch. Step inside and you feel like you’ve entered a life-sized sand castle.

A close-up of the hempcrete during construction. This will be covered with plaster after a six-week curing period.

Contributed / Grassroots Development

Except these aren’t walls of sand or wood chips. These walls are made of hemp. A lumber frame still gives the house its supportive skeleton, but the insulation and walls are molded with hempcrete, a mixture of hurd (the shredded inner core of the industrial hemp plant), a lime binder and water.

These two structures were built by Justin Berg and Sydney Glup of

Grass Roots Development in Fargo

as a demonstration project/scientific study. And by “built,” we mean literally.

In late July, Berg, Glup and a small crew constructed the 12-inch-thick walls from the ground up in four days. “Our hands are all over this thing,” Berg says, grinning.

Using a mortar mixer to blend the hurd splinters with a special lime mixture and water, they carried bucket after bucket of the stuff to the frame of the house and hand-packed it between plywood forms, much like those used to shape concrete walls.

“It was almost like chicken salad consistency,” Glup says, explaining how the hemp material felt when mixed with binding agents. “We kept saying, ‘We need more salad over here!’”

A worker helps hand-pack the shredded inner core of hemp, mixed with lime and water, to form the hempcrete walls of the house, which was built by Grassroots Development of Fargo.

Contributed / Grassroots Development

The hempcrete, which gives off a cloyingly sweet, vaguely hay-like smell, now must be left for six weeks to “cure,” before it is finished with a lime-based plaster.

Meanwhile, sensors embedded in the walls will provide an ongoing stream of information on everything from air quality, temperature and moisture levels to energy consumption, Berg and Glup say.

The small house on the left is made with traditional construction materials. The house on the right uses the same design, but it is built with “hempcrete,” a construction material made from hemp.

Finn Harrison / …….

Source: https://www.inforum.com/business/the-house-that-hemp-built-fargo-developers-build-hempcrete-home-to-study-energy-saving-benefits

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