The notion of California dreamin' is poised to reach a whole new level with the state's first home made out of hemp. The owners of the ruins of Knapp's Castle in Santa Barbara plan to begin building a home out of a sustainable construction material called Hempcrete, a mixture of hemp, lime, and water.
Hemp makes a good building material because it's extremely energy-efficient, non-toxic, and resistant to mold, insects, and fire. Plus, it absorbs carbon dioxide, making it good for the environment. Hemp Technologies, a North Carolina-based construction company working on the California project, already has built homes out of hemp in Hawaii, Texas, North Carolina, and Idaho. The North Carolina project, known as "NauHaus," received LEED platinum status.
"We got started about 3 years ago and I was looking for sustainable building products. [Co-founder Greg Flavall] was in Europe, found Hempcrete and we basically did a tour of Europe and looked at everything that they had done in the U.K., France, Belgium, and Switzerland,” says co-founder David Madera. “We did our first seminar in 2009, and it was the most important thing that helped promote it.”
Photos courtesy of David Madera