New standards can help push hempcrete into mainstream, say U.S. builders

U.S. Builders Embracing Hempcrete

The U.S. Hemp Building Association (USHBA) is predicting a major shift in the building industry as hempcrete gains traction in the mainstream construction market. The Association believes that new building code standards and material certifications are key to this transformation.

Inclusion in Building Codes

One of the most significant advancements for hempcrete is its approval as a building material for residential structures by the International Code Council (ICC). This decision will be included in the 2024 update of the International Residential Code (IRC). The inclusion of hempcrete as a non-load-bearing building material and wall infill system is a crucial step in integrating hemp-based construction materials into the mainstream.

A Guide for Builders

The acceptance of hempcrete in building codes provides essential guidelines for builders and architects, making it easier to specify and use hempcrete in construction projects. The ICC’s decision paves the way for widespread adoption in the United States and potentially in other countries that adopt the ICC’s building codes.

Expansion into Commercial Projects

While the residential building code update is a significant win for hempcrete, the USHBA is already looking ahead to the next hurdle – the inclusion of hempcrete as a standard infill insulation in large commercial projects. The Association is set to release a guide to specifications for hempcrete’s use in commercial buildings, providing architects with the necessary language to include hempcrete in bid documents.

Quality Standards

The USHBA is also focused on developing testing procedures and standards for the production of consistent building-grade hemp hurd. These standards will ensure that the materials used in construction projects meet the required quality and safety standards. The USHBA is taking proactive measures to set the bar for processors and has planned tests at reputable universities to establish quality standards for hemp hurd.

In summary, the U.S. building industry is on the cusp of a significant shift as hempcrete gains recognition and acceptance. With the new standards and guidelines set to be implemented, 2024 is poised to be a groundbreaking year for the integration of hemp-based construction materials into mainstream projects.

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