Big Plans For Tiny Hemp Homes

This tiny home will be packed with big environmentally friendly ideas – and one of them is the use of hempcrete.

GreenBuilt, headquartered in the Hudson Valley, near Albany, New York, is a community dedicated to designing better, more durable and healthy buildings with hemp.

Greenbuilt is attempting to get the “HempHome: Tiny+” concept off the ground through crowd-funding. If successful, Tiny+ will be the modular HempHome to achieve the lofty healthy building and energy efficiency standards of The Passive House Institute and the Living Building Challenge.

Among the home’s features will be 12 inch thick hempcrete walls; a green roof, solar power system, heat recovery ventilation and energy efficient triple pane windows.

“Tiny+ does not require the burning of any fossil fuels even in the cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers of the Northeast,” says the project’s KickStarter page.

Being modular, owners will be able to add rooms to it as required.

Hemp home with solar power

Through GreenBuilt, founder Jim Savage is also managing a process to jump-start hemp-lime commercial development in the USA.

Hempcrete  is a very simple building material consisting of chopped hemp shiv mixed with lime and water. Hemp shiv, also known as hurd, is the woody core of the industrial hemp plant. It has a high silica content, which it enables it bind well with the lime.

Various forms of hempcrete have been in use for construction for well over a millennia. Recently we reported the material has preserved caves in India for 1,500 years.

Hempcrete is an incredibly efficient insulator, it’s cheap and easy to work with, recyclable, renewable, pest and mold-resistant and fire-retardant.

In terms of insulation, hempcrete formulations generally have R-values of around 2.5 per inch; so R-30 for a 12” (30cm) thick wall.  A single acre of industrial hemp can produce enough hurd in a little over 3 months to build a 60 square metre house with 20 centimetre thick walls.

Another advantage of hempcrete as a building material is that it doesn’t require a vapor barrier, additional sheathing or rain screens.

The name hempcrete can be a little misleading however as it doesn’t feature the load-bearing properties of concrete.