Primer

Hemp: A Durable, Low-Carbon Building Material

This rapidly renewable material is excellent for textiles and non-structural concrete. (And no, it will not get you high.)

October 6, 2017

Building professionals are constantly presented with new, technologically advanced materials and products meant to achieve high-performance construction. But one of the best-performing materials available has been around for a long time: hemp. Cultivated in China as early as 2800 BCE, hemp offers many benefits as a building material—as well as a food and clothing material.

From colonial times through the mid-1800s, hemp was widely grown in the U.S. Because of its strength, durability, and resistance to decay, hemp fiber was commonly used to make paper, rope, canvas, and cloth. But, largely due to the fact that its cultivation has been outlawed in most states for decades, many in the U.S. have had limited knowledge about it.