Hemp has been known to be a utilitarian plant used in many industries aside from the cannabis industry. It is useful in food, fabrics and has now been termed as the future of construction in the shape of hempcrete. The growth of cannabis and the increasing demand for cannabinoids like CBD has allowed most manufacturers to focus more on the use of hemp for cannabinoids. This however seems to be changing as more manufacturers are looking into the opportunities in hempcrete. This article will be centered on the growth of hempcrete so far in the building industry and its prospects for the future.
Some top companies dealing with hemp are already identifying the opportunity and incentives in harnessing the building capacity of hemp. HempFlax, the largest independent grower of hemp in Europe doubled down on the potential of hempcrete in May 2020. This they did by acquiring an insulation manufacturer from Germany and launched a building supplies division. Thermo-Natur was eventually renamed HempFlax Building Solution for the production of Thermo Hemp insulation. This move by HempFlax shows how the company is diversifying in terms of hemp products which is also a move other hemp-based companies are bound to follow.
EU’s climate neutral goal
There are numerous factors that are favoring hempcrete being the future of construction. Climate change and environmental sustainability have made the EU consider plans for a carbon-neutral economy. This move will be a plus for hempcrete in the building industry. However, this move is sure to meet strong opposition in terms of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 and a lack of hemp building standards.
HempFlax CEO Mark Reinders also identified this possible problem while acquiring Thermo-Natur. They acquired Thermo-Natur quickly after they stopped production and resumed production in less than a month. This quick move was made in order to ensure that the company has more than just CBD-dependent revenues. CBD business is the major source of HempFlax’s revenue along with some animal-care bedding and nesting lines. By expanding its reach, HempFlax gets to increase the productivity of just over 2,000 hectares of hemp cultivated yearly.
The goal of becoming a climate-neutral economy by 2050 is very important to the EU and maximizing hempcrete is a great way of doing that. The 27-membered body sketched out a plan to achieve this goal called the Circular Economy Action Plan. Hempcrete falls in line with the objectives of this plan which includes minimizing resource and energy consumption and curtail waste generation. The construction industry accounts for 50% of extracted materials and over 35% of the waste generated in the EU. These are the targets the climate-neutral goal seeks to change which makes hempcrete a worthy venture for the EU construction industry.
The EU with the circular economy has a series of strategies aimed at promoting sustainable construction. This includes employing stricter measures and hardening their stance on eco-design end energy labeling. The special attributes of hemp make it the best alternative for players in the construction industry to switch to.
Construction industry post-pandemic
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been monumental on all sectors and the construction industry has not been spared. Commercial activities and home-building exercises slumped due to the effects of the pandemic in 2020 but they are already showing signs of resurrecting. With the restriction on business operations easing despite the turn of the second wave, signs show the sector is rising again. The rise of the industry now is bound to be premised on sustainable forms of construction which are where hempcrete comes to play.
Hemp insulation is a special niche in the construction market that is yet to be fully maximized. A meager 0.5% of the whopping 3.3 million tons of insulation done each year pertains to hemp. Companies like HempFlax are banking on exploiting this opportunity to increase the use of hempcrete for building in Europe. With many also looking to renovate houses, there is a great opportunity for the use of sustainable materials.
The future of hempcrete
The stage looks set for hempcrete to take over the EU construction space and ultimately that of the world but there are some things that need to be in place first. More hemp companies will be required to put in place the necessary infrastructure to maximize the production of the material. The hurd used in the production of hempcrete is disposed of when these companies use hemp to get cannabinoids. It is mostly discarded since it is not needed or used to produce compost. Focusing on this will reduce the waste produced by such companies and serve as a way of maximizing non-CBD revenue opportunities.
For the future of hempcrete to grow in the industry, players in the construction industry must be educated on the material. As a newcomer, it is important that proper handling methods, and usage is taught to those that will be working with the material. It is also important to ensure that the public is made aware of the benefits of using hempcrete for construction. This will enable more homeowners and those who are looking to make renovations to go for hempcrete.
With these steps being put in place, the demand for hempcrete is bound to increase thereby fueling its growth in the industry. This is what companies like HempFlax are banking on as the driving force for delving into hempcrete. Hempcrete is beneficial to the environment and can be easily grown without risks of pests or rot. The special material also has the added benefits of being a thermal insulator which makes it perfect for every home. Despite the present drawback of being expensive and taking time, hempcrete is the future of construction in the coming years.
Many in Europe are already embracing hempcrete and soon enough the rest of the world is bound to. This will open up a new world for the construction industry. it will also help to further stretch the influence of the cannabis industry and its companies.
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