The move towards prefabricated building components is growing as interest grows in construction based on hempcrete and hemp fibers.
The trend is reflected in the program of the 11th International Hemp Building Symposium set for Amsterdam Oct. 10-11, according to Steve Allin, director of the International Hemp Building Association, the symposium’s organizer.
“Many companies and groups of entrepreneurs are looking into making a local version of hempcrete blocks or panels,” Allin said.
Steven Clarke of Heavengrown, the developer of a new hemp block in Mexico, will present his product, while Robert Schwemmer of Silent Fiber, Germany, and Werner Schönthaler of Schönthaler, Italy, will talk about the development of hemp acoustic panels during the event.
Municipal hemp building
The use of hempcrete as an infill for modular housing panels has been a recurring topic at the IHBA symposium. This year Chloe Donovan of Natural Building Systems, will present a new easy-to-build system from a team in the UK. Also, Remi Loren, Ekolution, will present projects that feature a system of panels filled with hemp fiber insulation developed by his Sweden-based company.
Participants will make a field trip to visit the massive hempcrete casting rebuild carried out at the Voorst town hall in Twello, Netherlands, where the city has created a public example that reflects the municipality’s climate change and sustainability goals. Built in the 1980s, the original building was typical of structures from that era in that it could not perform in an energy-efficient manner.
Hemp composite and mycelium?
Possibly one of the most revolutionary concepts to be presented at the symposium this year will be the combination of hemp composite and mycelium, according to Allin, a leading international practitioner and teacher of natural building. “I remember being very skeptical when I first heard about the use of dried fungus root being proposed as a building material but it has since proved its worth,” he said. Igmar Nopens of CBiotech in the Netherlands will explain the hemp-and-mycelium concept during the two-day event.
Material lifecycle will be addressed by Joseph Little from Technical University Dublin, who will describe the effects of time and weather on an experimental structure he built and later dismantled in his garden.
Other topics on the IHBA program include large- and small-scale processing, carbon accounting and carbon credits, trialing emergency shelter concepts and education in light of predicted future growth of the industry.