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Are Hemp And Lime Carbon Neutral ?

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) aims to investigate whether hemp and lime insulated homes have the potential to be carbon neutral. Organiser of a conference which will explore the topic, Ranyl Rhydwen, said: "To build and run our buildings currently accounts for up to 50% of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions.

Therefore using materials that reduce carbon dioxide emissions seems sensible, and hemp hurds (currently being used for horse bedding) mixed with lime (Hempcrete) is a material that potentially causes no emissions at all".

"Houses built from hempcrete have been found to create less waste and need less fuel to heat than conventionally constructed homes, both saving carbon dioxide emissions associated with a building.

"The hemp crop already has a multitude of uses, although using hemp hurds for buildings is a potential new and large market for builders and farmers in the UK."

Fast growing hemp captures and stores carbon from the atmosphere during growth and overall the CO2 balance of the hemp crop means that CO2 may actually be removed from the atmosphere and locked away into the fabric of hempcrete homes.

To be a carbon neutral building material, hemp needs to be British hemp and therefore the potential of hemp being a profitable crop to the UK farmer will also be investigated by John Garstang (ADAS advisor and Co-author DEFRA: Hemp and Flax report 2005) and Bodil Pallersen (Danish Agricultural Advisory Service Hemp and Flax advisor).

The conference will offer a wealth of expertise in the area of hemp and lime construction, including architect Pat Borer, who is currently building CAT's Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE), Ralph Carpenter (architect for several hempcrete builds) and lime expert Stafford Holmes (co author "Building with Lime").

The conference is to be held on Saturday 28th April 2007. For more information visit the CAT website www.cat.org.uk/courses.

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