Hemp retrofit of century-old home is first in Pennsylvania project

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A Pennsylvania company said it has nearly completed a home retrofit with hemp-based materials. The single-family dwelling is the first full home renovation in the state which employs both hempcrete and HempWood in its structure, according to the developer.

The retrofitting of the 100-year-old stick frame house, located in New Castle, Pennsylvania, is a pilot for Project PA Hemp Home, an affordable housing initiative under DON Enterprises, a non-profit that supports independent living by the disabled based on civil rights principles.

DON Enterprises, the second largest employer in Pennsylvania’s Lawrence County with more than 1,000 employees, provides services ranging from attendant care to construction.

Building materials hub

Project PA Hemp Home is funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture through two grants. A specialty crop block grant pays for research and testing, and a hemp promotion grant covers part of the construction and activities that promote Pennsylvania hemp.

DON Enterprises said late last year it is developing a decortication factory in the western part of the state to serve farmers within a 200-mile radius in Pennsylvania and neighboring Ohio. DON received a Pennsylvania Specialty Crop Block Grant of $11,450 to support its efforts to establish those operations.

The company said floors in the New Castle house will be of HempWood, material that mimics traditional wood. DON said it also plans to set up a factory to make that product, part of the local hub it is developing for hemp-based construction materials.

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