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Hemp Crete vs. Normal Concrete

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

From ancient Rome to modern China, concrete is one of humanity's favorite building materials.

Concrete is versatile, but it isn't easily repurposed. It's also long-lasting, and will outlive materials like wood and metal. There is though the fundamental contradiction of concrete: incredibly flexible while you're making something, utterly inflexible once it's made. Reinforced concrete is much stronger and more practical than the un-reinforced stuff. It can span larger gaps, allowing concrete to soar in the form of bridges and skyscrapers.

But here’s the problem: if cheaply made, it will rot from the inside as water gradually seeps in through tiny cracks in the concrete and rusts the steel. And, in a country like ours where most of the concrete is created cheaply from repurposed waste from mining (marble), we all are at a risk of a more costly and unhealthy damage.

This can be explained by understanding the bigger picture here. Concrete making is not restricted to limestone and mica and all the processing following in between.

In India, where mining is the backbone of the economy of some states, there is the need to create a surplus and with that comes the mining waste. These hoards of waste comes with the price of environmental pollution, the loss of agricultural top soil, air pollution, low vegetation and health issues.


To restrict these, the private sector in this industry has come up with a smart plan, where all this waste rich in certain minerals is recycled to produce cement/concrete which is used by all of us throughout the entirety of any kind of infrastructure. This sounds like a great plan! Cuts out the pollution, lessens the time and resources to make concrete and even create a functional society without involving third parties. There have been quite a few researches that point out the benefits of such a optimal energy saving process.


Versatile, long-lasting and durable, concrete is a cost-effective, sustainable choice for both residential and commercial buildings. Being an inert construction material, concrete does not burn. It also does not feed rot and mildew. It does not off-gas any volatile organic compounds and provides excellent indoor air quality


These are the two side of the same coin. Everything has a positive and negative aspect to it, so does concrete. But why is there attention being brought towards this matter?


It is because, there is a better and more environmentally sustainable option for us in the market, which provides the same tenacity as concrete does.

For the environmentally conscious, there is hemp and canvas concrete.


Hemp concrete is a high performance material for green-building and retrofitting. Emerging tendencies, inspired by environmental and energy saving criterions for building envelopes, refocus on a new challenge: the use of plant materials as bio aggregates in green concretes. Hemp concrete has not only a positive balance in its climate change indicator; it also has a positive health impact. Increasing research, developed mainly over the last 15 years, highlights innovative applications of natural fibers for the green building sector among which hemp concrete is one of the most promising.


Construction is known to consume actually about 40% of the world’s global energy, 25% of the global water and 40% of the global resources (UN Environment Program, 2016). This consumption can be drastically reduced with the substitution of mineral aggregates by plant aggregates. This measurement not only locks carbon dioxide inside the building envelope but also reduces operational energy, e.g. air conditioning, what makes the insulating hemp concrete extremely interesting to combat climate change.


Hemp Concrete is a the mixture of the woody core of the hemp plant and lime composite is used as a binder. This process consumes very low amount of energy, making it environment friendly in its production itself.


It is actually gaining world wide interest; science is achieving important knowledge to manage the performance of this innovative system, approaching optimum results and durability, required for its present and future applications.


There is an evolved sibling called canvas concrete.


Compared to traditional concrete solutions, Concrete Canvas is faster, easier and more cost effective to install and has the additional benefit of reducing the environmental impact of concreting works by up to 95%. It is available in bulk and smaller batch rolls.


A compact comparison between the three, where they are ranked from 1 to 3, 1 being the best in the specific character, 2 being good and 3 being average.


Characteristics 1 2 3

Workability

Normal Concrete Canvas Concrete Hemp Concrete

Comprehensive strength

Hemp Concrete Normal Concrete Canvas Concrete


Durability

Hemp Concrete Canvas Concrete Normal Concrete


Economical

Canvas Concrete Hemp Concrete Normal Concrete


Sustainable

Hemp Concrete Canvas Concrete Normal Concrete


Safe

Hemp Concrete Canvas Concrete Normal Concrete



The reason, why one needs to be aware about these details regarding a simple concrete solution is because at the end of the day, it is us, who decide what to put in our own houses, something, so close to use, both literally and metaphorically. And this is not just limited to houses but any infrastructure for that matter. Everyone is entitled to all the right information and make the right choice for themselves knowing what consequences it would entail.


-HIMALAYAN HEMP

Himalayan Hemp cooperative community preserves the indigenous Himalayan hemp strain by using an eco-socio-capitalistic model with the help of farmers residing in the Himalayan Belt.


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