It has become very clear by now that the construction industry is among the most polluting sectors of the economy, yet society cannot do without it. It is also just as clear that trees are the most effective measure against CO2 pollution. Now, British researchers have decided to take the best of both worlds and develop bio-materials out of hemp plants that can sequester carbon from the atmosphere.
Just because a building has to be solid and tough, it does not mean that the materials used to construct it have to be hard-core polluting steel and concrete. Not long ago we drew your attention to eco-friendly cement, which can be used in the making of concrete, now it is time to move on to other eco-friendly materials. A team of scientists from University of Bath, UK, working under the HIVE project, has set their eyes on using hemp as a replacement to oil-based products in insulating materials.
To be more precise, the guys decided to focus on hemp-lime and hemp fiber. Building materials made of these were found to have perfect insulating properties, they absorb moisture from the air, and can control the internal temperature of the building. To make the material suitable for construction, all that is needed is to mix the hemp with lime-based binder and turn it into highly resistant to fire and decay building panels.
According to the inventors, the hemp-based building material is perfect for the construction of zero-carbon buildings, as the main ingredient, is above all, carbon-absorbing. This takes the green building concept to a whole new level, as now solar panels and fancy heating systems are not the only way the owners can green up their homes.
The use of this material not only reduces the CO2 emissions, but also provides a new type of air filtering system for the interior of building, where the walls actually absorb polluting air particles. The development of this new bio-material could well be the stepping stone that the construction industry needs in order to meet governmental targets and set the green example for others.
Image (c) Corbis