By Susan Shaffer ///
If you have been following trends in the construction industry for a long time or developed different properties over the course of the last few years, you will realize that the cost of lumber has risen in price. In some US states, Lumber has risen by 400%, making homes a lot more expensive than they should be. Today, the cost of lumber has added an extra cost of about $36,000 a home, and this cost will only continue to rise.
Homebuilders seek solutions
Despite the rise in lumber and other building costs, the demand for housing will continue to exist, so builders in the construction industry continue to see out alternatives. One alternative that may save the day is coming from an unlikely source. Industrial hemp blocks.
Although it is not popular in the US, hemp blocks are widely used in Europe and have become quite popular over the last 30 years. Why it has taken this long for constructors to consider it an alternative to lumber is still shocking. However, many experts hope that this will serve as a turning point. Rather than use lumber, advocates believe that hemp blocks can be used instead.
Lightweight and low cost
To begin with, hemp blocks are much lighter when they are precast and used for building. They are mixed with chopped hemp and a special lime binder with good insulation rates to protect interiors from harsh weather elements.
Moreover, they are much easier to transport and easier to assemble compared to lumber. Engineers also report that they are mold-proof, pest proof, fireproof, and very durable materials that will last for years.
New Firms, New Technology
Already, many firms are blazing the trail by coming up with new hemp block-making infrastructure. For example, Vicat Group has developed a beam support system that can replace conventional block walls. Another Australian supplier by the name of HempBLOCK USA sells the licenses of Vicat Systems to builders in the US.
However, it has not been widely accepted because hemp blocks or hempcrete as they are also called have not been legalized by US authorities yet. So they are quite uncommon.
Potential for growth
Hemp is an amazing material with up to 25,000 uses. It has found its way into the textile, health care and energy industry, and construction. Even in agriculture, there are moves underway to legalize it for animal feeds. Since the 2018 Farmers Bill passed by Congress legalized hemp Delta 8 THC for recreation drug use, the debate for it to be legalized for other economic activities has taken a new dimension.
So many observers believe that legalizing it for recreational use was the first and most important step. They also believe that rising lumber costs will force policymakers to have a rethink.
It remains to be seen whether builders and consumers will embrace industrial hemp blocks as a viable alternative. If they do, the average cost of constructing a single house unit will drop, and many more people will be able to afford their own homes. Hemp might just be the way out.