Hemp is the New Oak: Americas First Hemp Wood Factory is Being Built

Wood from trees has been one of the most popular building materials known to man. Used throughout history to build houses, wood is also a natural resource that is fairly abundant in many places on earth. While wood is a renewable resource, because of the demand for wood for building projects, it's very expensive, and there are also regulations in place about where wood is obtained for certified building materials and how it's grown and harvested. As we move forward and expand our options for building materials, there have been other materials introduced and hemp is one of them. Even though hemp was widely grown before it was made illegal, it hasn't been grown in abundance for decades and has been heavily restricted and regulated, even illegal. In more recent days, with the legalization of marijuana, hemp is being accepted more by other industries for clothing, textiles and even building materials. Bamboo is a similar idea to hemp that has been used in more recent times, and that's where the idea for Hempwood came in. The company members including Greg and his team of technologists have been working for over 10 years to adapt a similar process that makes bamboo into flooring and building materials and relating that to making hemp into these products too.

The company is owned and operated by Gregg, who has the help of others to get this project off the ground. Their mission is to help people by offering another building material that won't contribute to deforestation, and that will help farmers all over the world. So they are working on creating the most efficient and affordable way to turn hemp into wood. It will be harder and more stable than Oakwood and will have a similar look to bamboo products. They will also add competitive pricing to the mix, and they will price their products competitively with the current building materials out there. Since hemp is able to grow really quickly and abundantly, they should have no problem doing this either. Hemp wood will have a lower eco-footprint than timber, and it can be used for the same types of projects as wood is used for including flooring, furniture and building materials. It's 100% environmentally friendly and renewable and large sizes will be available. Creating hemp wood will also create a new market and new crops for farmers to grow and make a living from.

This company also repurposes sustainably harvested pulp grade logs into solid wood products, including their blocks, which are 6”x6”x6’ and Pre-sawn boards, which are 6”x.5”x6’. An amendment to the 2014 Farm Bill allows growing hemp for state-run research programs which makes all of this possible until hemp is considered legal to grow anywhere. They started a pilot plant in Murray, Kentucky, which is a 3,500 square foot factory that has all of the best equipment in it. People are now able to place pre-orders online for boards including a sample package for $50 which includes 3 pieces at 0.5x6x18” and Boards at 0.5x6x72” $60. They'll also have custom orders available soon too and will help people with shipping. What an interesting product and a very interesting time to be alive to see these new advancements in building technology. There definitely needs to be more environmentally friendly building products to make building more earth-friendly and more cost-effective. Some people are building with a product called hempcrete too, which is made using shredded up hemp leaves mixed with water and earth. That product can be made easily and is also very environmentally friendly, just like hemp wood is.

More about this story can be found at: Hempwood

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