Leon Battista Alberti, known to have been the first to write a treatise on perspective, during the Renaissance, had decanted the quality of hemp in the construction field. He affirmed that, added to the mortars, that are the binders used to keep together the construction materials, such as bricks, it improved their efficiency. The use of hemp in the construction field appeared again, only in recent years. Unfortunately, we assisted to a suffocation of this cultivation for a long time and only now we are discovering again its amazing possibilities.
Hemp has the advantage to be naturally sustainable. Don’t requiring the use of chemical substances for its cultivation, the biological factor is almost intrinsic to the type of crop. Here’s why, work with this plant, is not only good for the environment as it protects and heals it, but makes also interesting and stimulating its handling.
The most famous usages are the ones in the field of cosmetics, for creams and oils, or in the health field as a painkiller and natural relaxant. But the use of hemp is beginning to include several fields, thank’s to the countless and exceptional qualities it has.Construction, health, beauty, textile, packaging and automotive industries: there are no limits to the possibilities of this plant.
Let’s now discover some of its less known, but always curious and useful uses.
The use of hemp in green-building
We are assisting to a real race to the patenting of new materials that base on hemp in the green building field and surely the environment doesn’t complain, actually, it thanks. The years of hemp rediscovery brought to the (re)birth of bricks, varnishes, plasters and also insulations that take advantage of the properties of this plant. For example, from a study made by the ENEA Research Center and the Milan Polytechnic, was born the “biobrick”, construction material made of lime and barks. The bark is nothing but the nucleus of the hemp stem, the woody part of the plant, that is chopped and mixed with other components. Once united to the lime, it turns into a stone through the process of carbonization. An example is the wall made of this material by Edilcanapa.
These compounds have extremely lightness features, are thermal and sound insulations and are able to retain carbon, reducing pollution. Here’s why hemp is considered as an innovation in construction field.
Kanèsis, this is the name of the Italian bioplastic, created with hemp. . Not only every part of the hemp is usable in various fields, but also the waste materials from the processing, might be turned into useful and sustainable products. Bioplastics have, obviously, higher prices than the petroleum derivatives, that’s why have always been scarcely considered by the companies. But from 2025 the Member States will be obliged to reduce plastic consumption, so finally we will be able to hope for an improvement. We talk about innovation not only for what that concerns supermarket plastics such as bowls, packagings, cutlery, but also alternative solutions for cell phones or cars.
Bioplastic is obtained from the plant stem, or better, from cellulose, a polymer able to give robustness and flexibility. Think that hemp contains a lot more cellulose than wood: the 65/70% than the 40% of wood.
ABITI DI CANAPA, BENESSERE CON STILE