Hemp blocks are now certified for mass construction across SA and are well-suited to a warm climate and come with green benefits
December 23 2022
Of all the exciting moments in commercial property this year, the adoption of hemp as a building material is one which stands out as developers embrace green materials. While hemp has not been used in the construction of offices on a mass scale just yet, it has been used to build a number of homes and in building select commercial spaces.
A global first, the largest hemp building in the world, constructed with hempcrete blocks and building materials, 84 Harrington Street, spanning 12 storeys, happens to be in Cape Town.
It was built in partnership between Hemporium and Afrimat Hemp and is setting the benchmark for how to build a safe, carbon neutral, multi-floored structure, using hemp.
Founding partner and director of Hemporium, Tony Budden says hemp construction is considered as the gold standard for CO2 reduction in buildings.
He says residential homes have traditionally been built from hempcrete but large office buildings require hemp blocks. Hemporium worked with Wolf & Wolf Architects and R&N Master Builders to develop the hemp blocks.
“Now that hempcrete is being produced locally and for commercial use, we should see more construction companies showing an interest in hempcrete. Consumers are also taking an interest in using it when building or renovating homes, which will also help to bring the price down,” says Budden.
“Hemp blocks are certified which has given the construction industry confidence. We have built demo buildings which will instil confidence in he material for the project. My house built ten years ago, was done so with hemp. We have the hemp soup kitchen in Khayelitsha and our hemp hotel in Harrington Street,” he says.
Hempcrete is high in cellulose which helps it to stay between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius, which makes it good for hot and cold climates.
Hemp blocks are being used in an attractive pipeline of buildings across SA, Malawi and Mozambique. The use of hemp is being brough into construction courses and will find its way in university courses.