The most popular building materials today are wood, steel and concrete. While engineers and architects utilize these materials almost by default, a new material on the market may soon shift their interest.
Hemp has been growing in popularity for its many uses, including as a building material. The plant is a nonpsychoactive form of the marijuana plant that has been used for a long time to manufacture bioplastics, insulation and rope, as well as other industrial products due to its rapid growth and strength.
Hemp is becoming a viable option for building, given its differences from and similarities to wood. Its favorable carbon footprint has also helped increase its use in construction.
The plant was legalized under the amended 2018 Farm Bill, which heightened interest in the plant from product manufacturers and entrepreneurs.
Hemp can be grown in about 90 to 120 days, which is 100 times faster than an oak tree. This is in addition to isolating four times more carbon than a forest that is similarly sized. The plant absorbs roughly 20 metric tons of carbon per hectate, which is doubled by its ability to be harvested twice a year.
Many building products made from this plant use its fibers in different ways, including strengthening cementitious materials and weaving textiles. Companies such as Fibonacci, a supplier of hemp products, also manufacture furniture, frames, cabinets, flooring and lumber using hemp. The company’s objective to recreate density, hardness and stability of oak in a hardwood-like material. The hemp product manufacturer notes that its material, dubbed HempWood, is almost twice as strong as oak.
Plantd, a hemp startup based in North Carolina, also recognizes the plant’s considerable carbon performance and strength, with its cofounders Huade Tan and Josh Dorfman noting that this makes the plant an optimal material for use in residential building applications. The company is planning to manufacture hemp-based oriented strand boards, which the Tan and Dorfman claim will be less expensive.
Oriented strand board (“OSB”) is a material possessing favorable mechanical properties that make it ideal for load-bearing applications in construction.
In the short term, hemp may struggle to compete with wood, steel and concrete, as its building products are still confined to interior applications and shorter spans. However, in the long term, it will begin to compete with these popular building materials, especially in the residential construction space. At the moment, its popularity continues to grow, driven by the recent lumber scarcity that has led to a hike in lumber prices.
Hemp isn’t just proving its value in the CBD and construction segments; entities such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) are showing just how superior hemp textiles can be, and the market is taking note of this new fabric grabbing headlines.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) are available in the company’s newsroom athttps://cnw.fm/FLGC
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