New hemp-based building method could replace traditional building techniques as an eco-friendly alternative
London-based practice Architecture has built a family home using prefabricated hemp panels. The architects worked closely with their clients at Margent Farm, located in Cambridgeshire, England, which operates a hemp and flax farm for the development of bio-plastics. The result is a sustainable three-bedroom home, called the 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 inherently radically low carbon house. "
The neutral carbon house, low gray energy or low carbon house
The two-story 'flat house' was designed as a prototype hemp-based construction, with the intention of introducing this new method to the building industry for larger scale projects. Together 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 moving away from high carbon materials, as the plant sequesters carbon during its growth, making it a negative carbon material," explains the firm. “We are still waiting for our final carbon calculations to demonstrate that it is zero carbon. The house is notable for its drastically low embodied carbon content, which was achieved through the use of primarily natural and locally grown materials ”.
The 100m² family home was built with a timber frame and cassette panels with hemp and lime insulation. Additionally, the house is uniquely clad in hemp fibers and sugar resin corrugated iron, both of which are 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 home with an 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 wonderful double height kitchen, living room and dining room. , as well as private rooms located on the second floor.
Plenty of hemp panels were left exposed throughout the interior of the home, adding warmth to its aesthetic. The natural material of hemp is breathable, which allows it to improve air quality and control humidity in the air, while preventing the growth of mold. The house is equipped with a biomass boiler for its heating needs and solar panels on its roof for off-grid living.
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 of delivering hundreds of hemp homes across the UK.