Saturday, March 29, 2008

Building With Hemp

Imagine you get into the deeper regions of the future Urwald [ancient forest], and in that future people just don't act the way we do today. Products and methods of production in the deeper regions of the future include advanced space crafts made from highly versatile hemp fibres. Deeper into the future human habitations are build from extremely advanced hemp based products. Solar panels are designed to convert light into energy using developments based on a careful study of the photosynthetic properties of the hemp plant. Naturally, people in the future grow hemp plants out of respect to this versatile and illuminating plant being. Inside the deeper regions of the Urwald people understand that cooperation with nature provides humans with a viable future. Understanding nature provides humans with a vehicle to journey into cosmos and survive.

Is There Really a Shortage Of Wood?
The U.S. timber products industry spends millions of dollars each year promoting the idea that building with wood is an environmentally sound choice. Their ads claim that there are more trees in America today than ever before. The subtle trap is that these statistics do not differentiate between young sapwood trees and high-quality heartwood, or between diverse natural forests and single-species tree farms.

In the U.S. today, less than five percent of our original forest cover remains, and the clearcutting of old-growth forests continues. Intact forests support indigenous peoples, shelter wildlife, maintain the quality of fisheries and watersheds, conserve soil, moderate the global climate, and store much of the planet's genetic material. They may be our most important natural resource.

The construction industry uses 46 percent of the softwoods harvested in the U.S., for framing lumber and plywood, most of which comes from the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. The U.S. Forest Service predicts that harvests from the Pacific Northwest have peaked and will fall steadily over the next ten years (Adams, 1994). Present demand has exceeded our forests' ability to supply lumber, even with the industry's prevailing unsustainable practices. British Columbia, however, now has one of the highest logging rates in the world: an acre of old-growth forest is clearcut every 66 seconds (Rainforest Action Network, 1995). It is imperative that we reverse this trend.

Changing the way we use wood in construction can alter the course of forest destruction, allowing us to save some forests from being turned into tree farms and preserving forest ecosystems for future generations.

Alternatives: Industrial Hemp

Building With Hemp
A variety of wood-like products, such as fiberboard, roofing tiles, wallboard, paneling, insulation and bricks, can be made from the compressed hurds. The fibers can also be used like straw in bale wall construction or with mud in a sort of modified cob style of building.

Pipes can be made out of hempcrete and they, too have greater flexibility and greater elasticity than other those made from conventional materials, and they are resistant to cracking. Stones can also be made out of hemp by wetting the stalk’s cellulose, and forming it into a hard black rock, which can be cut, drilled, cast, carved or formed into any shape.

A hemp crop can be grown without the use of herbicides or insecticides and produces up to four tonnes of material per acre per year. Hemp is categorized as a bast fiber crop. It has a stem consisting of an outer skin containing long, strong fibers and a hollow wood-like core or pith. Processing the stems results in two materials: hurds and fibers, both of which have properties that make them extremely useful in building construction. Hemp For Houses

Hemp - Building Material of The Future
Hemp has been used by mankind for thousands of years. It has always been considered a valuable raw material for clothes, paper, oil & medicine. In recent years the demand for more cost effective natural construction materials has allowed for the regeneration of the hemp industry. Since 1996 the cultivation of low-narcotic hemp has been permitted again in parts of Europe.

As hemp grows, it helps to restrict environmental pollution because it decomposes CO2. Uniquely, it also improves the ground soil as it leaves the ground loose & totally weed free. Because hemp matures to a height of 4m within 100-120 days, weeds have no chance to grow so no herbicides or pesticides are necessary during cultivation.

The increasing demand for natural construction materials is leading to a regeneration of hemp as a natural raw material. This demand has lead to the development of regional cultivation & processing, which in turn helps to provide a product that is cost effective & environmentally friendly.

Hemp is naturally anti-microbial, is resistant to mold, mildew, rot and degradation by UV-light.