Take the company Just Biofibre, based out of Calgary, Alberta. They’ve been making sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon-capturing building systems products, namely their block product, since 2014 and are making headlines for providing a product that meets the necessity of structural integrity while being incredibly sustainable.
Let’s get into the details.
These blocks are hemp-based, made out of Hempcrete, which is made of:
- Hemp hurd or shiv (weird names, but stay with me here), which is
- The wooden core of the hemp plant.
- Lime (Just Biofibre's proprietary mix)
- An internal structural composite frame, which does not include plastic
The blocks are easy to handle, can be cut by hand or power tool but don’t contain Portland cement. They are also mould and insect repellent and have a two hour fire-rating.
The blocks use flax-lime mortar and glue for bonding, and have an interlocking pattern for integrity. The company claims that the blocks go together very quickly (of course, that depends on experience with the system), and has the structural integrity to meet 3 rd party structural engineering sign-off on 3-4 story buildings and smaller – though this is a different block than what they sell for general residential construction. In the near future they’re planning to have full CCMC approval for building code.
So they’re easier for the team to work with, less harmful and just as good as conventional products which have been getting used for years. They’re also incredibly sustainable, being made of Hempcrete, and eco-friendly. Just Biofibre boats that each block has enough hemp in it to sequester 6.5kg of C02, and that the building system is able to be assembled carbon negative in place, taking into account all of the emissions from extraction of raw materials, transport, processing, installation, use and recycling – they claim that this is truly a sustainable building system.
JBF also boasts that energy use is cut way down when using their blocks because the R-value is higher than conventional building products, temperature change in day-night cycles is reduced by the high thermal mass of the hemp-lime in the block, and be creating a more air-tight building envelope than conventional methods by building a monolithic structure.
With somewhat similar systems like ICF gaining huge popularity, a product like JBF’s could very well be the next big thing in sustainable, energy-conscious and eco- friendly building. 'Keep an eye on these guys.