Hemp building advocates in USA see a ‘perfect storm’

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An international panel of global hemp building experts will address the U.S. Hemp Building Summit Oct. 24-25 in Ketchum, Idaho. The event is the first by the U.S. Hemp Building Association (USHBA), a newly formed industry group that aims to advance building with hemp based materials. 

With the U.S. construction industry valued at more than a trillion dollars per year, proponents say the hemp building sector can eventually grow to surpass CBD, which now leads all hemp sectors.  “While hemp in construction is a very small niche in the U.S., it represents a perfect storm of economic opportunity and a great chance to help reverse climate change,” said Eric McKee of Colorado-based Wnder LLC, a hemp builder and founding member of the USHBA. 

Advocacy & standards

The new Association hopes to advance those opportunities through education and advocacy, and will play an active role in standardizing hemp building materials, McKee said. 

“Hemp construction today suffers first from a lack of processing facilities and a lack of plants in the ground,” McKee said of the challenges facing the sector in the USA. “That keeps the costs slightly higher than traditional building methods. Once we start to see improvement there, hemp construction will be not only more sustainable but more cost effective as well.”

Speakers confirmed

The Hemp Building Summit, to be held at Ketchum’s Argyros Performing Arts Center, will mark the formal launch of the Association. Speakers already confirmed for the event are: Steve Allin, Founder of International Hemp Building Association, author of “Building with Hemp”; Christopher Magwood, Canada, Founder of the Endeavour Centre, Author of “The Essential Guide to Hempcrete Construction”; Alison Mears, Architect, Healthy Materials Lab, Parsons School of Design; Alex Sparrow, Founder of UK Hempcrete, Author of “The Hempcrete Book”; Liam Donohoe, Hempcrete Building Energy Data Analyst and Consultant, Lecturer at Dublin Institute of Technology; Matthew Mead, Founder of Hempitecture Inc, US Hemp Building Association Founder.

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