Hemp, the optimal sustainable building material

The Extract travelled to Carlow to catch up with Henry Thompson of The Old builders Company and talk hemp and its use as a wall & roof insulator in construction. Just why this conservation expert recommends natural breathable materials such as hemp wool and hemp-lime to insulate homes and why “there should be incentives to use hemp in building”.

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From Cloughjordan to France, let’s look at a restoration project in the making, hemp’s starring role in construction, Harry’s passion for preservation and why compatibility is the key.

“If you’ve got an ecological agenda with your building project, hemp is compatible. It’s not rocket science.”

What is Hemp insulation

Hemp insulation is made from naturally grown hemp plant stalks, it is a composite material. It is particularly useful as an insulator as it has a low U-value, this low value means it is an excellent material to allow heat pass through during summer and retain heat during winter. By choosing help as an insulation material you are lowering your carbon footprint and the installers will thank you as it's a much safer option with no itchy and irritating compounds often associated with Rockwool and similar modern methods.

Why we love Hemp Insulation

  • Long lasting decades due to the stable and tear resistant hemp fibres, remember hemp ropes helped shipyards across the world for centuries.
  • Hemp does not promote mould growth.
  • Naturally keeps your home warm and comfortable all year round by preventing summer overheating and retaining the heat in winter.
  • Helps moisture to evaporate, reducing risk of condensation, improving the quality of indoor air.
  • No skin or respiratory irritation for the installers
  • You save money with lower energy bills
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How to install Hemp insulation

  • Hemp comes in a roll and can be easily shaped with a Hemp knife or any  serrated knife.
  • Simply measure the space between the rafters or studs and cut a piece 2 cm larger than you need. The insulation should then be squeezed into place.
  • 400mm wide rolled out Hemp can compress by up to 10mm without compromising the effectiveness of the insulation.

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