New hemp-based building method could replace traditional building techniques as an eco-friendly alternative
The London agency Practice Architecture built a family home using prefabricated hemp panels. The architects worked closely with their clients at the Margent Farm, located in Cambridgeshire, England, which runs a hemp and flax farm for the development of bio-plastics. The result is a sustainable three-bedroom house, called Flat House, whose design is based on the use of materials grown on the 8-hectare property.
"Flat House was inspired by the provocation to build a kit house with materials grown on the ground around the building," said Practice Architecture à New Atlas. “This is a revolutionary house made from inherently radically low carbon.”
The carbon neutral, low energy gray house or low carbon house
The two-story “flat house” was designed as a hemp-based construction prototype, with the intention of introducing this new method into the building industry for larger-scale projects. In collaboration with engineers and materials specialists, the architects succeeded in creating a prefabricated panel filled with hemp.
“Hemp has the potential to play an important role in the abandonment of materials with a high carbon content, because the plant sequesters carbon during its growth, which makes it a material with negative carbon content”, explains the firm. “We are still waiting for our final carbon calculations to demonstrate that it is zero carbon. The house is remarkable for its radically low incorporated carbon level, which has been achieved through the use of mainly natural materials grown locally. ”
The family house of 100 m² was built with a wooden frame and cassette panels with hemp and lime insulation. In addition, the house is uniquely coated with hemp fibers and corrugated sheet in sugar resin, these two materials being grown on site. The hemp-filled cassette panels and siding were prefabricated off site, allowing the main part of the house to be assembled in just two days.
The end result is a rustic three bedroom house with open living space, a bathroom and an adjacent warm house. The interior of the house offers large open spaces, natural wood and floors throughout, an abundance of windows, natural light and good air circulation, a magnificent double height kitchen, a living room and a dining room , as well as private rooms located on the second floor.
Many hemp panels have been left exposed throughout the interior of the house, which adds warmth to its aesthetic. The natural material of hemp is breathable, which allows it to improve air quality and control air humidity, while preventing the development of mold. The house is equipped with a biomass boiler for its heating needs and solar panels on its roof for an off-grid life.
The final cost of building the Flat house was not revealed by the architects, but the project led to the creation of Material Companies, a sister company of Practice Architecture, which will take up the torch with the ambition to deliver hundreds of hemp houses throughout the United Kingdom.