An eco-village which utlitizes hempcrete in all 12 of its homes recently opened in Western Australia.
“We are pretty sure this is the biggest hempcrete construction project in Australia,” and may be be the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere, Project Manager Paul Llewellyn recently told local media.
Located in the town of Denmark, the village is known as the DecoHousing project. Llewellyn came up with the idea five years ago and now is enjoying life in the village as one of its first residents.
Strong sustainability ethos
Developed by DecoHousing Denmark Group, the project is a local initiative to create a co-housing community with a strong sustainability ethos among its collaborative owner/builders.
The group formed its own company to build the 12 affordable and sustainable housing units. The AU$4.9 million ($3.45 million) project is just 250 meters from the Denmark city center.
Intended in part as a way to demonstrate hempcrete as a superior building material, Llewellyn said the DecoHousing project already inspired others in the area to build with hemp.
“There is a hempcrete house in construction on the other side of town, there’s one in Torbay and we have been supporting that family,” he notes. Others have also expressed an interest in using the material in the future, he said.
Material suited to conditions
Citing the ability of hemp to withstand fire and heat, he believes it’s an ideal material for a region which suffers from bush fires. “If anyone was going to build a house out of hempcrete on a bush block, I think they would feel very safe in their homes and that’s what we think should be a benchmark in Australia,” Llewellyn said.
The materials for the DecoHousing village were imported but Llewellyn believes Western Australia could supply its own hemp in the future. “Ideally, we should grow our own hemp and set up our own processing facilities,” he said. “You could set up a fully-integrated hemp industry in WA.”
The news comes hot on the heels of other positive stories from the region. The government of Western Australia is providing $200,000 AUD ($145,000 USD) in grants to support the state’s hemp industry. Likewise, the recent legalization of hemp foods in Australia has been a boom for WA and other states.