The House That Hemp Built: 3D Printing Hemp Homes

in #cannabis2 years ago

The House That Hemp Built: 3D Printing Hemp Homes

Only a few shorts years after the legalization of cannabis, hemp’s utility surged. The recent revival of hemp post its prohibitive decades indeed seems poised to save the world. Australian company, Mirreco, answers the challenge to shift the current homebuilding paradigm of high-cost, high-waste. In what sounds like a sci-fi amalgamation, Mirreco combines 3D printing, industrial hemp, and energy-generating windows. The sum? Cheap, eco-innovative, and sustainable possibilities for homebuilding that benefit everyone. Your future home could be the house that hemp built.


Economic trouble lies ahead which feels like the worst-kept secret at this point. The ubiquitous compounding debt makes buying a house either dangerous (with a bank loan) or difficult (without a bank loan). The sole reason for both the danger and difficulty lies, of course, in the insurmountable price tag. Combining 3D printing with hemp offers us more reasonable options.

3D printing in and of itself reduces waste and pulls down cost 30-55%. Hemp, as a renewable resource, also anchors down cost. Hemp takes but roughly 3 months to fully grow. Mirreco's team looks to take advantage of hemp's quick turnover with the commercialization of mobile hemp-processing machines; further, their harvest estimate sits at 20 tons per hour. Assuming they fulfill their expected projections, the cost of harvesting hemp plummets—ergo, so too does the price for consumers. We can leave Fannie and Freddie out of our homes and pockets.


Who doesn't want to live in a clean environment? Hemp slashes down not only emissions from building the house itself but also from emissions already present. Mirreco's Carbon Asset Storage Technology (CAST) revolutionizes solutions toward CO2 emissions. CAST combines hemp with polymers to capture CO2 and store it within hemp walls, floors, and roofs. Read more about carbon capture here.


According to the US Department of Labor, one in five worker deaths occur because of construction's "Fatal Four". The Fatal Four consists of falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between an object. With 3D printing automation, the opportunities for accidents fall down. More on the Fatal Four here.

Window Glazing Energy

ClearVue Technologies adds to Mirreco's 3D house-printing vision and provides solar energy-harvesting windows. Their glaze redirects ultraviolet and infrared radiation into the edge of the glass where it converts to electricity. As of the time of this writing, ClearVue's windows produce a minimum of 30 watts per square meter (10.76 square feet). If you own a two-bedroom house, you might have 8 windows. Let's average the glazing of each window to a conservative 6 square feet. In our hypothetical scenario, you have about 48 sqft worth of glazing. 30 watts per 10.76 sqft ≈ 133.8 watts of power. Throw that in conjunction with solar panels, your energy bill goes way down; further, this brings us another step closer to a world with free, clean energy.

Fuller's Maxim Applied

Buckminster Fuller expressed: "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." In this context, are you worried about the environment? Build something better—something so much better where reversion to the old model seems like utter nonsense.

Final Thoughts

In our lifetime, solar-powered harvesters process hemp biomass that 3D printers use to build homes energized by solar technologies all the while costing drastically less than the run-of-the-mill house.

If that run-on sentence doesn't amaze you, I encourage you to read it again.

This revolution will not be televised.
It will be printed.


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Great Post! I really feel that living in harmony with the environment is so important to our wellbeing. Buckminster Fuller is one of my hero's. <3 Solar energy harvesting windows are amazing. Thank you for the awesome information.
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Thank you so much! I absolutely agree; though, I'm guilty of neglecting a natural harmonious living for a long time. It's never too late haha and agreed on Fuller--a brilliant mind. I'm happy you took something of value from the article 🙂

Hempcrete is even more environmentally friendly than using hemp fibers with polymers.

It is simply the hemp fibers from the stalk, left over after using the leaves and buds for CBD oil / animal fodder / medical marijuana, or whatever the primary use may be, then mixing the chopped fiber with crushed limestone and water, forming it in place, and allowing it to cure.

Hemp fibers, alone among the plant world, when combined with limestone in this way, literally becomes stone. There are bridges and buildings in Europe, built by the Romans, that they have only recently begun realizing were built in this manner, and have lasted for thousands of years and counting.

And, like 3D printing, the costs of building are low, and the expertise and skills needed are also low, allowing for many people to build their own homes with their own labor.

With the US House of Representatives having just passed legislation to legalize cannabis, and expunge the records of those with criminal records of low level possession, this is a gamechanger, and could lead to a huge upswing in real economic recovery.

Wow! I had no idea hempcrete lasted that long. Given the opportunity, I'd love to build my own home with hempcrete. Of course, we'll soon hear, "These hemp builders and hemp suppliers steal our jobs." Disruptive, innovative tech will do that haha anyway, thank you for this informative reply! I'll definitely pay more attention to hempcrete.

You're welcome!

Yes, in the beginning care needs to be taken, as it cures over a period of months, though it hardens superficially in a few hours.

One build in Asheville, NC, for example, had mice manage to chew their way in early in the process, but thankfully hempcrete is also easy to patch. There are good YouTube videos that document the steps in that particular build.

And, once it cures, it's pretty much impervious, provided that care was taken in the build. The typical hempcrete wall is between 15" and 18' thick, with the hempcrete pounded into place (to eliminate air gaps) between wooden forms. From what I've read, it can be safely built up to about 15' without needing additional structural bracing.

When a section is completed, the forms are moved upward, and the next section is begun. All very user friendly, in terms of skills required, which basically comes down to being diligent in using a good level and setting the forms correctly.

I would love to build a home out of hempcrete, but realistically, we'll likely start with a small cabin first.

Like adobe, because of the thick walls, hempcrete homes are cheaper to heat and cool than typical homes, and are naturally cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

That said, like any sort of earth building it's a lot of work, but the labor pays off handsomely.

Again, I appreciate your informative response! I wasn't aware of the cheaper cost of cooling and heating. I'm curious as to when a massive transition will occur toward utilizing hemp. Further, I'm curious about any drawbacks regarding hempcrete and hemp builds. So far, I can only find a lack of demand—given the demonization of hemp plants in general. I suppose a lot of work is involved also, as you've said.

You're welcome!

I believe that this is the house I was talking about, which was the first permitted hempcrete house in the US. This video is from Nov 2009.

Once it starts to gain more acceptance as a building material, the fixed costs of building a house can go down dramatically, especially if the owners are willing to do much of the labor themselves.

This house has relatively thin walls, but the build was in Asheville, NC, which is in the South, and thus not subject to the weather extremes of the Great Plains, for example.

Alternative housing choices, sustainable hemp, sequestering carbon while we save housing costs, and 3D technology to make it affordable and fast. LOVELY to see what's emerging in the world and helping is to make better choices that don't indebt us forever and don't destroy Mother Earth.

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We're living in Star Trek times! It really is quite something. I'm so incredibly optimistic about the future. The real gamechanger will be when our tech can massively resupply scarce resources while simultaneously building us homes and transportation. I'll take this, though. It's certainly a good start :)

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Interesting! :)
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Thank you both so much!

Those futuristic-looking homes seem like something out of Heavy Metal magazine. Way cool, I wonder what they look like inside? I'm going to share this on my Twitter account if you don't mind. Well done! :)

I appreciate the kind words! Yeah, totally. Share this away :)

Excellent post
This is the future!

Thank you :) and agreed! There's so much innovation about to revitalize our world. I'm incredibly optimistic.

Hehe, that's awesome...

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Thank you :)

a 3d printed revolution! I really have to look into this hempcrete. Thanks for sharing and yes to lower cost housing, more environmentally friendy and goodbye to the freddies and the fannies!!!