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Hemp in Construction

Updated: Jun 12

You may know that hemp has a variety of uses. This super versatile plant has proven itself in revolutionizing the supplement, cosmetics, and textiles industry. But did you know that hemp is also making waves in the construction industry, and is providing the world with greener, cleaner, and cheaper options for building homes and other buildings? In this article we will explore the new options that hemp is supplying, their economic qualities, and the environmental benefits of using hemp for construction.


Hempcrete is a material made by mixing lime and hemp shiv (stalks). Developed in the 1980s in France as a substitute for wattle and daub in deteriorating medieval buildings, hempcrete proved to be more suitable for post-war reconstruction than Portland cement (basic cement). Portland cement was not breathable, meaning that it held all the moisture and would cause the wood frames to rot. Hempcrete is much more breathable, and was a good alternative for preserving these historical buildings.

Hempcrete is so breathable because of the nature of the hemp stalk fibers and the lime. Because it transfers moisture so well it also serves as a great form of insulation.

Since its development, hempcrete has been catching on as a good alternative to other, non-renewable, more costly building materials. Since it is made from natural material, eventually it will decay, which is a better choice for builders who want to make a smaller impact on the environment. And because it uses the by-product of industrial hemp, it is relatively inexpensive to create. It can be mixed on-site or brought in prefabricated, providing builders with numerous options to streamline their projects. It is even possible to apply hempcrete in a spray without losing the benefits of using the product.

Other Hemp Construction Materials

There are a number of other construction materials that could be made out of hemp.

  • Plaster producers have been including hemp in their products instead of animal hair or grasses. This improves the durability of the plaster by almost 3 times.

  • Hemp fibers can be included in quilt insulation, provided a comparable level of insulation to processed materials. This can be a safer alternative to chemical-based insulations. They can also be made into normal batt insulation which could be easily incorporated into a building project without the toxic and unpleasant vapors that accompany normal insulation.

  • There is a rising industry of 3D printed houses. Companies across the world are working to perfect the art of making small houses for cheap to help fight global homelessness. Some of the potential materials being considered as a good building material includes hemp, with its natural strength and environmental compatibility.

  • Because of its price and sustainability, hemp building materials are also being used to create tiny houses in communities across the US for the underprivileged.


There are a number of distinct advantages to using hemp for building and insulation. First of all, since hemp is a natural product, it is very breathable, and can transfer moisture easily. This makes it a great form of insulation and keeps the inside of the project dry.

Many forms of hempcrete are also fireproof. This is because of the nature of the lime that is used to create the product. Some companies boast that their hempcrete is 100% fireproof, which could be a huge advantage with the uptick in fires throughout the western states.

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages to hemp products is that they are much better for the environment than concrete and cement. The hemp takes in lots of carbon dioxide (CO2) while growing, and can even continue to positively affect the environment after being turned into hempcrete. Cement production contributes a large percentage of overall CO2 emissions. Although it is a lofty goal, replacing cement with plant-based building materials can potentially reduce worldwide CO2 emissions by 7%.

Hemp is the Future

Whatever space in the hemp world you occupy, Sonder Accounting is here to provide you with high quality, industry-specific accounting. We have years of experience helping hemp-related businesses, from CBD brands to building materials to services, use their financial data to make stronger decisions.

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About the Authors

Sonder Accounting was founded in 2016 by Kara Janowsky to serve the financial maagement needs of the nascent cannabis industry. Our small and specialized team has partnered with over 250 businesses in similar industries to build functional financials that drive business growth:

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