Swedish hemp company Ekolution AB is supplying insulation panels filled with hemp fiber in what the company says is the “world’s largest” construction project of its kind using hemp building materials.
The panels are going into a high-tech logistics center under construction by Swedish real estate developer NREP in Bålsta north of Stockholm. The hemp insulation is combined with advanced solar energy infrastructure in the project, which will support distribution operations of some of the leading logistics companies in Sweden.
“It’s a milestone for the whole hemp industry and in particular hemp building materials,” said Remi Loren, CEO and founder of Malmö -based Ekolution. “The environmental impact is immediate and this will be the first of many state-of-the-art logistics facilities.”
The 20,000 sqm facility, which sits on a 126,000 sq. m industrial site., will be the world’s first logistics building to achieve 100% CO2 neutrality over its entire lifecycle, Loren said.
Steve Allin, Director of the International Hemp Building Association (IHBA), confirmed the project is the largest building in the world using hemp insulation. The hemp construction materials include 8,000 cu. m of hemp fiber insulation set in 2m x15 m. panels for the 15-meter-high walls and roof of the building.
“This is a very important development for the hemp building industry requiring approximately 240 tons of hemp fiber or at least 70 hectares of industrial hemp,” said Allin, who first met Loren when the latter organized a hemp building course in 2013 in Kristianstad.
“It’s an example of the potential for producers of industrial hemp to provide hemp materials purely to the construction sector, focusing on hurd for hempcrete and fiber for insulation batts,” according to Allin.
Hemp + solar
The solar installation, which covers the entire 80,000 sq.m. logistics park, is to be made up of 16,553 high-quality bifacial panels that have double-sided, long-life active solar cells to power logistics space including chilled, refrigerated and temperate zones, and offices. Surplus energy from the solar park can be redirected back to the overall power grid, and the facility can reuse excess heat.
The logistics center is to be certified in accordance with standards for sustainability in the construction industry under BREEAM-SE.
Legacy Euro hemp company
The groundbreaking project comes as Ekolution, which started in 2013, marks one decade in business this year. The company developed its insulation product based on hemp bast fibers after completing initial hemp-based construction projects in 2018 and 2019. Since then the company has scaled up as it secured several large commercial projects, according to Loren.
Ekolution’s hemp fiber insulation is being distributed by Optimera, Sweden’s biggest building materials and timber supplier, and the company said it plans to pursue deals with pan-European distributors.