Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low carbon hemp house put to the test

Date:
September 16, 2010
Source:
University of Bath
Summary:
A consortium in the UK has constructed a small building on a university campus out of hemp-lime to test its properties as a building material. Called the "HemPod", this one-storey building has highly insulating walls made from the chopped woody core, or shiv, of the industrial hemp plant mixed with a specially developed lime-based binder.

HemPod at the University of Bath.
Credit: Nic Delves-Broughton

Used to make paper, clothing and car body panels, hemp could also be used to build environmentally-friendly homes of the future say researchers at the University of Bath.

A consortium, led by the BRE (Building Research Establishment) Centre for Innovative Construction Materials based at the University, has constructed a small building on the Claverton campus out of hemp-lime to test its properties as a building material.

Called the "HemPod," this one-storey building has highly insulating walls made from the chopped woody core, or shiv, of the industrial hemp plant mixed with a specially developed lime-based binder.

The hemp shiv traps air in the walls, and the hemp itself is porous, making the walls incredibly well insulated. The lime-based binder sticks together and protects the hemp and makes the building material highly fire resistant.

The industrial hemp plant takes in carbon dioxide as it grows, and the lime render absorbs even more of the climate change gas, effectively giving the building an extremely low carbon footprint.

Dr Mike Lawrence, Research Officer from the University's Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, explained: "Whilst there are already some houses in the UK built using hemp and lime, the HemPod will be the first hemp-lime building to be constructed purely for scientific testing.

"We will be closely monitoring the house for 18 months using temperature and humidity sensors buried in the walls, measuring how quickly heat and water vapour travels through them.

"The walls are breathable and act as a sort of passive air-conditioning system, meaning that the internal humidity is kept constant and the quality of the air within the house is very good. The walls also have a 'virtual thermal mass' because of the remarkable pore structure of hemp shiv combined with the properties of the lime binder, which means the building is much more thermally efficient and the temperature inside the house stays fairly constant."

Professor Pete Walker, Director of the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, added: "The aim of the project is to provide some robust data to persuade the mainstream building industry to use this building material more widely.

"Hemp grows really quickly; it only takes the area the size of a rugby pitch to grow enough hemp in three months to build a typical three-bedroom house.

"Using renewable crops to build houses can also provide economic benefits to rural areas by opening up new agricultural markets. Farmers can grow hemp during the summer as a break crop between their main food crops, it doesn't need much water and can be grown organically.

"Every part of the plant can be used, so there's no waste -- the shiv is used for building, the fibres can make car panels, clothing or paper, and the seeds can be used for food or oil. So it's a very efficient, renewable material.

"Lime has been used in construction for millennia, and combining it with industrial hemp is a significant development in the effort to make construction more sustainable."

Environmentally-friendly building materials are often more expensive than traditional materials, but the Renewable House project (www.renewable-house.co.uk) funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) demonstrated a cost of around 75,000 (excluding foundations) to build a three-bedroom Code 4 house from hemp-lime making it competitive with conventional bricks and mortar.

The project is sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) under the Renewable Materials LINK Programme, and brings together a team of nine partners comprising: University of Bath, BRE Ltd, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Hanson UK, Hemp Technology, Lhoist Group, Lime Technology, the NNFCC and Wates Living Space.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bath. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bath. "Low carbon hemp house put to the test." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100915205229.htm>.
University of Bath. (2010, September 16). Low carbon hemp house put to the test. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100915205229.htm
University of Bath. "Low carbon hemp house put to the test." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100915205229.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Did Nike Fire Most Of Its Nike FuelBand Team?

Why Did Nike Fire Most Of Its Nike FuelBand Team?

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nike fired most of its Digital Sport hardware team, the group behind Nike's FuelBand device. Could Apple or an overcrowded market be behind layoffs? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins