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Hemp lime construction: A guide to building with hemp lime composites (EP 85)

Hemp lime construction: A guide to building with hemp lime composites (EP 85)

by R Bevan and T Woolley (12-Sep-2008)


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Book Description

Hemp lime is a composite construction material that can be used for walls, insulation of roofs and floors and as part of timber-framed buildings. It provides very good thermal and acoustic performance, and offers a genuinely zero-carbon contribution to sustainable construction. Hemp masonry is breathable and is able to absorb and emit moisture, leading to much healthier buildings. Comprehensive guidance on using this novel material for housing and low-rise buildings is given for the first time in this book, which is full of practical information on materials, design and construction. It is fully illustrated and includes case studies and design details, and explains how the use of hemp-based material can capture and store carbon dioxide in the fabric of buildings. The guide is the output from a Defra-funded study commissioned by the National Non-Food Crops Centre.

Given the deluge of eco friendly and zero-carbon terminology being indiscriminately tossed about within the construction industry, it is a pleasant surprise to read a green building book that is more than an ostentatious decoration for the coffee table. Bevan and Woolley have done an excellent job in making an important and innovative building technique accessible to both layperson and professional. If I had to recommend one construction book from 2008, this would be it.

Andy Wilson, Sustainability Journal

The Authors
Rachel Bevan is principal architect at Rachel Bevan Architects, based in Northern Ireland. Rachel focuses on integrating accessible design, conservation of historic buildings and specification of ecological building materials.

Tom Woolley is professor of architecture at the Graduate School of the Environment at the Centre for Alternative Technology and an acknowledged expert on natural building and related environmental issues. He is chairman of the UK Hemp Lime Construction Products Association.

Illustrations: 23 line drawings, 56 photos

Format: 189 x 246mm, paperback 120 Pages


  • Foreword - Marianne Suhr
  • 1 Introduction
    • What are zero-carbon buildings? Searching for alternatives. UK government policy. History of hemp building. An outline of hemp lime construction. Methodology of the study. Performance of hemp lime. Supply of materials for construction. Glossary
  • 2 What is hemp construction?
    • Non-food crops. Hempcrete or hemp lime? Construction of walls. Timber frame. Blockmaking. Finishes and spraying. Renovating existing buildings. Sourcing materials and DIY? Acceptance and accreditation of hemp
  • 3 Case examples of hemp lime buildings
    • Adnams brewery. Timber frame foundry. Barn conversion. Self-build renovation of bungalow. Two-storey extension. Social housing. Exhibition stand at Ecobuild. Office. Summerhouse. Extension to traditional cottage. WISE Building, CAT
  • 4 Growing hemp for building
  • 5 Building construction techniques
    • Timber frame construction for walls. Wet or dry construction? Offsite construction. Wall details. Methods of placing. Block construction. Roof construction. Footings and ground floor slabs. Surface finishes. Membranes. Fixings. Renovation and use in historic buildings. Plastering with hemp and lime. Timber frame and hemp model
  • 6 Mixes and materials
    • Specifying hemp. Specifying lime-based binder. Further notes on lime
  • 7 Durability, moisture, ventilation, indoor air quality and thermal performance
    • Ventilation. Thermal performance. Continuity of insulation. Thermal mass and comfort. Overall thermal performance. Cavity walls, roofs and floors. Air tightness. Summary8 Scientific issues related to hemp lime
  • 9 Structures, fire and acoustics
    • Structures. Structural overview. Future research. Resistance to bending and shear. Time-dependent deformation. Structural performance. Superstructure design. Roofs. Internal walls. Foundations. Site preparation and moisture resistance. Fire regulations. Acoustics regulations
  • 10 Life cycle and carbon sequestration
    • Initial considerations. Potential tools. What is life cycle assessment? What is embodied carbon? Issues for further consideration. Assessing hemp-based building products. BRE environmental profiles method. Ecopoints score. Embodied energy and embodied carbon. Environmental product declarations. Cement and concrete. Extracts from life cycle analysis carried out in France. Summary
  • 11 Natural products for use in conjunction with hemp lime
    • Spraying hemp onto permanent shuttering. Using other natural insulations. Other crop-based materials. Related products in more detail
  • 12 The advantages of hemp and lime
    • Government energy targets for housing and building. Modern methods of construction. Costs. Future development and information sources. Main advantages of hemp construction
  • References and notes
  • Appendices. Resistance to compression and stress-strain properties. Thermal measurements
  • Useful contacts
  • Index

Review quotes
Rachel and Tom have pulled out all the stops in producing a very comprehensive guide on building with hemp and lime. Professionally produced, carefully indexed with plenty of clear diagrams, photos and images, this is a practical, visually supported handbook for those interested in using this sustainable and renewable natural product in construction. & this is a remarkably thorough and engaging guide to the use of lime hemp construction and I recommend it highly.
Building Limes Forum Ireland newsletter, October 2009

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Rammed earth: design and construction guidelines
Earthships: building a zero carbon future for homes
Earth masonry - Design and construction guidelines.
Sustainable masonry construction

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