France Built the World’s First Carbon-Negative Building — Made From Hemp!

Oct 21, 2022by Olivia Harper - F&F

A French architecture and landscaping firm have designed and constructed a new public building in the small town of Croissy-Beaubourg, east of Paris. This building is not made from just any regular building materials, it’s made from hemp!

The Pierre Chevet sports hall is now the first carbon-negative building in the world, let’s take a look!

Interior Pierre ChevetInterior Pierre Chevet

Image: Elodie Dupuis / Lemoal Lemoal

How Is This Hemp Building Designed?

Lemoal Lemoal, a Paris studio, has used hempcrete blocks to build the sports centre in France, which the studio believes is the country's first public building built from the biomaterial!

Named Pierre Chevet, the 380 square-metre sports hall is located in the town of Croissy-Beaubourg near Paris. It contains an exercise hall and changing rooms, with its walls infilled with hempcrete blocks. The blocks were made from lime mixed with hemp hurds, which are the woody inner parts of the stems or shives of the hemp plant.

The exterior of the building is clad in white, cement-fibre panels that protect the hemp blocks. Inside, the building features a wooden, half-vaulted structure for support and allows for large open space indoors.

Hempcrete BricksHempcrete Bricks

Image: Elodie Dupuis / Lemoal Lemoal

What Exactly Is ‘Hempcrete’?

Hempcrete is growing in demand as a super effective construction material for a multitude of reasons. This mix of hemp hurds, lime, and water is a lightweight, bio-composite building material weighing eight times less than concrete! Yet, it has some great qualities such as high thermal, acoustical, and structural performance.

Hempcrete is also fire resistant to the REI 30 standard, which means it will maintain its integrity for 30 minutes in a fire. The blocks used in the building can be assembled dry and have an interlocking system that does not require adhesives or mortar. The hempcrete also removes the need for additional insulation due to its natural insulating qualities. How awesome is that?!

Hempcrete BricksHempcrete Bricks

Image: Elodie Dupuis / Lemoal Lemoal

Why Is Hemp One Of The Most Sustainable Building Materials?

Did you know that construction materials account for 11 percent of global carbon emissions? As the building industry continues to search for ways to reduce its carbon footprint, they’re seeking natural materials.

Hemp is gaining popularity as being one of the most sustainable materials in the world. Hemp’s carbon sequestering properties are super impressive — more effective than trees, the plant is able to absorb up to 15 tonnes of carbon per hectare; it’s also fast-growing, can be grown with less water in most soil types, and is lighter than wood!

The hemp used for the building was grown within 500km of the construction site, reducing transportation emissions and supporting the local economy. Hopefully, hempcrete will lead to a wider adoption in architecture worldwide!

The Pierre Chevet sports hall is the first public building in France to be constructed from the hemp-based biomaterial, and we anticipate to see more buildings constructed in the country with hempcrete and globally too!

What are your thoughts on this new carbon-negative building made from hemp? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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