Hemp House On Wheels – Sustainable non-toxic plant-based construction

October 8, 2019 | DesignPhiladelphia, 2019 Festival

Environmental cataclysms, global warming, depleting natural resources and our dependency on diminishing oil reserves beg for changes in the built environment, an area responsible for a large portion of the problems. Toxic substances are often used in the production of conventional construction materials, and at the end of their life cycle they are dumped into landfills in massive quantities.



Our mission is to disrupt this cycle by bringing a product to market that requires no pesticides or herbicides to grow, no harmful chemicals to process, that can last for hundreds of years and yet biodegrade when returned back to the earth.

This Hemp House On Wheels (Hemp HOW) was built to showcase the applications of hemp and its adaptability to modern design and pressing sustainability issues; it was designed and built without petroleum-based products.


The walls of Hemp HOW are constructed of hempcrete, or hemplime, - a non-structural bio-composite insulation material that is cast in place around traditional wood framing.  It is comprised of hemp hurds (the woody inner core of the hemp stalk), a lime-based binder, and water.  These simple materials come together to form a product that is mold, mildew, rot, pest and fire-resistant.  Hempcrete is typically finished, as it has been here, with a three-coat, traditional lime-based plaster system on the inside and out.  This finish allows the hempcrete to “breathe”, passing water vapor freely through the wall system as the lime interacts with varying humidity levels.  It is due to this action that hempcrete is able to regulate humidity in a built environment, and why it is touted as a dynamic thermal and acoustic insulation.  This system replaces the siding, house wrap, plywood sheathing, insulation and drywall in traditional American home construction.  It is hempcrete’s compatibility with other materials and its versatility and performance that set it apart from other well known sustainable building methods.  



Our floor has been sealed with Hempsheild, a hemp-oil based natural sealer for wood floors and decking. 


The acoustical ceiling tile, designed by Coexist, is made of hemp hurds and mushroom mycelium.


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