At the end of 2018 it seemed possible that hell had in fact frozen over when the Conservative-led Senate took Hemp off of being a schedule 1 drug, and legalized it for the purposes of boosting the farmer’s economy. There’s been an interesting sort of backlash/reaction from this, one being in the decriminalization of marijuana in some states because discerning between hemp and marijuana since hemp, however, is not marijuana.
Hemp is a really close cousin to Miss Mary Jane, but the two are different; though they both be cannabis plants, hemp lacks the psychoactive THC that “gets you high”. Hemp is a wonderful, little miracle plant. It requires substantially less water to grow than a crop like cotton; it naturally detoxifies the soil as it grows making it perfect for crop rotation, aiding in a better yield for the next crop; hemp also grows notoriously fast and brings a larger profit than crops like soy by an astonishing amount. Aside from these natural perks, hemp can be manufactured into a great many things, including insulation. How does it stack up to the traditional spray foam or pink batting insulation? We’re so very glad you asked.
A Natural Substance
In case you were only half paying attention in our preamble, let us once again state the fact that this plant is incredible for the environment. Unlike a crop such as Almonds – that take up 10% of the entire state of California’s water supply, aka 80 million gallons – hemp can grow with little irrigation, requiring only half the amount a cotton crop needs. Aside from this, when it comes to creating a green home, you want to start with natural and eco-friendly products. Hemp insulation is about as natural as you can get for furnishing your home with stellar insulation to lower your energy bills and keep the temperature nice and comfortable.
Hemp insulation is created by mixing the chopped up fibers of the stalk with lime to create a sort of concrete-like block. See? Natural. Free of chemicals or toxins. Just clean.
A second, equally wonderful, quality of this mighty plant is that in its insulation form, hemp is Master at controlling moisture within the walls of your home. Hemp absorbs moisture, which prevents mold from growing and reduces humidity and condensation in the surrounding air.
Okay. It’s natural. It’s the best at handling moisture. But how does it do at insulating? Amazingly, actually. The R-value (resistance to heat flow) for hemp insulation is R-3.5 and its U-value (how much heat passes through a material) is at .040 which is exactly what you would get with 8 inches of thickness of fiberglass. There are other natural insulators (sheep’s wool being one of the most popular) but hemp outperforms them all in terms of actually insulating.
What’s the cost? There are a lot of variables that affect the cost, mainly because the specs aren’t neutral across the board. But on average you can expect to spend as much, if not a little more, than you would for traditional fiberglass insulation. But when you compare all the benefits (and the diversity among them) it’s completely worth the extra cost. You’ll be saving money on your heating and cooling bills, and you’ll have an insulation that’s durable, effective, and free of toxic chemicals. Problems, solved.