Happy Hemp!

The hemcrete is shoveled in between shutters. Once dry the external shutter will be removed to allow the hemcrete to breath.
Today we built our Hemp wall, and boy were we excited! It has been a long time coming. It is something new for our architects, our builders and us. Mixed in the cement mixer, this hemp and lime mix will create stability and insulation for our classroom walls. Over the last few months, Jemma from Seven Architecture, has been working closely with Lime Technology to get our design just right.
Unlike the rest of the building, there is no cavity, no stud wall and no insulation – just solid hemp through and through. For those of you who have not come across hemp before, you may be familiar with another variety – the cannabis plant. Different varieties of hemp have different uses and characteristics including medicinal, nutritional and even as a biofuel.
We are using hemp to consolidate and insulate our walls, as well as acting as a moisture regulator for our lovely new classroom space. Plus as hemp absorbs carboon dioxide and releases oxygen as it grows, it is seen as a carbon negative product – even better for our carbon footprint!
It is so simple to use, a quick mix in the mixer with the lime and water, and then into the walls and left to dry. It was so simple, it was a task we could all help with – although I think we may have slowed the process down more than we speeded it up…

Sharon puts in her first shovel of hemcrete

Volunteer Ann soon follows suit


..and Sarah our graduate is not far behind.

But of course, I had to have a go too!

In some areas of our building we have used a recycled aggregate block for structural support, and although hemp can act as structural support we do not have enough time to allow it to harden – many weeks. The timber frame within the hemp therefore has to take the load of our roof.

But don’t fear, I have lots of samples of all the materials we have used within our build to have on display when you visit, and don’t forget we will be open in May!

Fordhalls new facilities have been generously part funded by Advantage West Midlands


Comments: 4

  1. Thank you Charlotte! I have not been to Fordhall yet but I enjoy reading your newsletter and have just looked at all the photos of the new build. I feel I know you all and one day I will come for a working w/e It looks so much fun.

    Good luck with everything!

    Sally Wasser

  2. What you are all collectively doing is a brilliant job.

    I am very proud I’ve managed to propagate parsley seeds in the sooty
    streets of Chelsea.

    Hope to visit you one day soon.

    All best wishes,


  3. The work on the new space looks fantastic. I think I bought shares before my three
    old little girl Violet was born and it will be great to bring her to visit this
    Well done on continued great progress.

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