by Stefanie on 07/06/2018 | Cultural

HempFlax presents: building sustainably with hemp

Building sustainably Hemp has gained a lot of traction in recent years, due to the increasingly relaxed attitude towards the Cannabis Sativa L. plant as a whole. Possible applications of industrial hemp are endless, especially in construction. This is why HempFlax, together with the municipality of Oude Pekela, hosted a workshop/trade show for and by industry professionals.

HempFlax invites construction professionals to Oude Pekela

HempFlax’s ‘Building with hemp’ fair took place in March 2018. If one needed to be convinced, its slogan spoke volumes: “’Healthy, comfortable, and sustainable living with hemp”.

Professionals of the construction industry from all over Europe were gathered to hear about the latest developments regarding applications of industrial hemp. The event was held in Oude Pekela, HempFlax’s hometown. Neighbours Siep@Co, a foundation dedicated to crafts formerly practiced in the village, lent their facilities for the event.

Our host, Gertjan Bruins, Business Line Manager for HempFlax, had one major objective: to give a taste of the technologies developed with their partners from precious hemp fibres, the heart of their activity.

Everyone present was delighted to receive presentations for the products carefully designed and perfected by their fellow hemp entrepreneurs.

The Sensi Seeds crew, invited for the occasion, was eager to film this two days long, intensive brush-up on ‘everything hemp’. Take a look at the video above to get a glimpse of what was in store for the lucky attendees.

The importance of building with hemp

Lime hemp, a mix between hemp fibres and limestone, was definitely the main focus of this unique mini-fair. And with reason; in the construction industry, the somewhat still uncommon material is definitely a rising star.

Let’s start with a bold statement: using lime hemp is a walk in the eco-friendly park. Just add water, and the resulting substance becomes a much versatile resource.

Building and renovating with hempcrete

Lime hemp is mostly known by the non-hemp-aficionado in hempcrete form.

Alternatives to concrete have been gaining a lot of traction lately. In addition to being quite far from eco-friendly, with a real damper when it comes to its lack of biodegradability, concrete has turned out to be a fleeting trend.

While decades of modern building have made it seem like concrete was a reasonable solution for durable, reliable structures, time tells a different story. At this point, buildings relying on concrete are about to become obsolete, as their durability as well as their potential for renovation have been more than challenged.

Hempcrete, on the other hand, makes quite the indestructible resource. The combo of high thermal mass, moist-regulating properties, and resistance to flame make it a true asset when it comes to quality of life. In other words, hempcrete allows a comfortable, healthy indoor climate, while providing reliability, safety, and strength.

The best insulation

Because lime hemp can be shaped into a hollow structure, it can act as an insulation layer for wooden structures, and many other types of walls. Its moisture-regulating and CO2-absorbing qualities make it an ideal material for insulation, thermal as well as acoustic. It can also be sprayed onto an existing skeleton or a structure, and then be shaped into a strong yet lightweight isolating layer.

Hemp in construction: a few facts to remember

Hemp needs your support! We can think of a few reasons why:

  • Hemp is a naturally non-toxic, carbon negative material
  • Highly breathable: ideal for a healthy, comfortable living environment
  • Temperature and moisture regulations are hemp’s forte; save on heating and air-conditioning!
  • Highly insulating properties, thermal as well as acoustic
  • Lightweight: requiring less rigid load-bearing structures
  • Prevents moulding
  • Extremely suitable and extra effective in ‘vapour permeable’ building constructions
  • Long lasting: and we mean hundreds of years.

Need some real-life show-and-tell? Watch our video (again?), or read on and reach out to the many experts that were in Oude Pekela with us.

European entrepreneurs unite for hemp

While companies and representatives present at the fair originated from everywhere in Europe, the event definitely broadcasted a Bene(lux) flavour;

Kalkhennep Nederland, a Dutch company based in the Overijssel province, is a cooperative whose main objective is to encourage the use of lime hemp in construction. They believe the versatility and eco-friendliness of lime hemp are unmatched. This is why they are raising awareness of these benefits to construction professionals as well as individuals looking for sustainable alternatives when building their homes.

EcoBouwSalland, another Dutch company originating from the same region – known for its beautiful natural reserves and many historical towns – also plays for team lime hemp. Their experts were present to show impressed attendees exactly how it works. The verdict? Surprisingly easy; any homeowner already planning to do construction work on their property can create their own blocks of hempcrete made from lime hemp without any help.

Isohemp, based in Belgium, focuses on “sustainable building and renovating with hempcrete blocks”. Said ready-made hempcrete blocks are among the easiest options on the market. Their products can be used for foundations, walls, insulation-focused renovations, flooring, roofing, and more. Take a look at their past projects to get an idea.

Despite its impressive sustainability, environment-friendliness, and major affinity with thermal and acoustic insulation alike, lime hemp is not prominent in all countries, mostly for lack of exposure in the first place.
This makes HempFlax’s initiative all the more important.

HempFlax carries on with its hemp-centred mission

For decades, HempFlax has taken on the task of reviving the market of industrial hemp in Europe. On top of being the sole trusted provider of plant material used for Sensi Seeds CBD products, the company works with numerous partners, participating to the creation of a more sustainable future, one roof at a time.

Speaking of roofs, as you may have read on the Sensi Seeds Blog, HempFlax is working on its very own Hemp Design Villa, and on renovating their main location. Akta-BVP, a French duo, is currently working together with them to create a hemp gable that will top the newly renovated office building. Their “béton végétal” (plant-based concrete) will be used to create this essential piece of the HempFlax headquarters.

Roofers actually were quite represented during the show: the crew from Gebroeders Kranenborg was also in attendance. They use HempFlax Plus, a high-quality insulation material, for renovating and installing roofs.

The team from 3 Draft Ingenieurs, a long-time partner of HempFlax, was also invited in order to show their work. This engineering office that focuses on architecture, building and construction shares a lot of projects with HempFlax, notably to produce prefabricated hempcrete solutions.

Do you want to know more about building with hemp?

Visit the HempFlax website, and their partners’ (mentioned  throughout this article), and do not hesitate to reach out to them for any additional information you may need.

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