Hemp is conceivably best known for its Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that make it an excellent addition to a healthy diet, or perhaps as a cotton substitute used in the manufacturing of ecologically-sound clothing. But it can also be manufactured into a vast array of resourceful, environmentally-sound building materials.
Hemp is typically categorized as a long or bast fiber crop with its stem consisting of an outer skin that contains long, strong fibers and a hollow wood-like core or nucleus. When the stems are processed it results in two different types of materials: hurds and fibers, both of which possess properties that make them extremely useful in building construction.
The hurds themselves are derived from the inner short fiber and are capable of being used in the manufacturing of numerous wood-like, earth-friendly, long-lasting building materials, such as fiberboard, roofing tiles, wallboard, paneling, insulation and bricks.
A material of stone-like strength that is commonly known as “hempcrete” is also produced using the hurds of the hemp stalk which is claimed to be up to seven times stronger than the traditionally used concrete, half as light and three times as elastic.
The added bonus of using the superior strength and flexibility of concrete manufactured with hemp hurds is that foundations which are constructed using these particular types of materials are resistant to stress-induced cracking and breaking, even in earthquake-prone areas such as the state of California.