We have a new obsession. We’ve fallen in love with the YouTube channel, Living Big in a Tiny House. The episodes are presented by Bryce Langston, a New Zealand native, who is passionate about sustainable, downsized, eco-friendly living.
Bryce and his partner, Rasa, who does all the gorgeous camera work, travel the world in search of tiny houses and present them, along with their owners, weekly.
The houses range from a $9 hut in the woods to compact houses in the low hundred thousands. Most fall into the mid-range of $40,000 – 60,000 since many people use shared land and do their own labor.
The unique and wonderful element of the entire channel is how the amazing people who live in tiny houses have simplified their lives, focusing on relationships, their passions, and freedom from the rat race.
Last night, I discovered this episode that focuses on a completely sustainable eco-friendly hemp house, built by an architect and his wife for their family.
Please watch for a brilliant introduction to hemp as a viable, healthy, sustainable building material.
And if you liked this video, please subscribe to Bryce and Rasa’s channel to see more amazing, tiny houses.
What is hempcrete?
Hempcrete is a sustainable building material composed of hemp, water and lime. It has been used for millennia globally as a building material.
Hemp is an incredibly eco-friendly material at every stage of the growth, production and build cycle.
As a plant, it has the ability to pull CO2 from the air. Even when it is cut and used in buildings that property continues, making it super healthy for construction workers to be around and people to live in.
Moreover, as the lime and hemp calcify, the material becomes almost as hard as stone, making it last hundreds of years.
Is Hempcrete breathable?
Hempcrete is breathable. From Return to Now:
‘It’s breathable not in the sense that air gets through — it’s airtight — but it’s breathable for water.
“In a typical wall you have a cavity that you seal tightly and fill with insulation. No matter how hard you try to keep it out, water will get inside that cavity, because that’s what water does.
“So we want to create a wall that welcomes water, but doesn’t rot when it lets the water in. And that’s exactly what hempcrete does.
When it becomes humid out, it absorbs the extra humidity and holds it until the humidity drops and then it will let it back out, regulating and balancing the humidity inside the home.
In the meantime, because the high pH lime is wrapped around the cellulose, it won’t rot.’
How to work with hempcrete
Anthony from Art du Chanvre, who has built over 45 houses using hempcrete as a natural and sustainable insulation material, shows you how to do it.
Does my house have to look like a hippie hut?
No, your house can be sleek and modern, traditional, or any style you can imagine, including a hippie hut!
Is it expensive to build a hemp house?
It’s getting cheaper and cheaper as hemp becomes homegrown and not imported. Plus, you’ll save on energy costs in the long run.
Am I going to get high breathing in my house?
No! Hemp isn’t psychoactive.
Can I use hempcrete in cold climates?
Yes, hemp is adaptable to any climate.
Can hempcrete be used as a foundation?
No, it will biodegrade if used as a foundation.
Can I use Hempcrete as a structural material?
No, it is a non-structural material. You will have to use some other form of framing.
Structural questions pertaining to hemp
What about fire? Is hempcrete fire resistant?
Yes, it is. It is also resistant to rot and insects.
Why should I use hemp to build my house?
Our consumption and lifestyles are ravaging nature, other species, and our planet. If we care at all about anything or anyone that comes after us, we will want to build a sustainable future. That means leaving a smaller footprint and living in harmony with nature.
A slow, meaningful life full of adventure, free time, human connections, and family sounds a lot more appealing than working for the man in order to pay a mortgage on a huge house that we have no time to enjoy.
Having time to grow our own healthy food, can, preserve, and savor it with loved ones is so much more enjoyable than eating in noisy, expensive restaurants.
Living in small communities where we know our neighbors, instead of crowded impersonal cities, replete with congestion and pollution is the way forward.
We need to know that less is more and that as housing in major cities gets more unaffordable, we can create alternative lifestyles.
Hemp, whether it is used in housing, the production of clothing or foodstuffs can add value to a slower more sustainable lifestyle.
If hemp is so great why has it been illegal all this time?
Hemp was legal prior to 1937 and won a reprieve during WWII, since it was needed to create industrial materials necessary to the war effort. However, the problems began when it was lumped in with the psychoactive strains of cannabis due to the efforts of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Hearst found hemp was a competitor for his interests in lumber and paper mills. He was aided by Harry Anslinger, who following the failure of Prohibition, wanted to build up his new department, the DEA.
Together, they stirred up mass hysteria resulting in such nonsense as Reefer Madness and classifying marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, which lead to the criminalization of the substance.
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