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Melissa Hutsell is an award-winning freelance journalist with a deep rooted passion for both community and international journalism. She was born and raised in Northern California, and has lived, studied, worked, and traveled in more 20 different countries. Melissa holds a Master's degree in Global Journalism from City University London, as well as degrees in Journalism and Globalization from Humboldt State University. Though she covers various topics as both a writer and editor, she specializes in business and cannabis journalism.
In the last few years we've seen our planet ravaged by natural disasters, some of which have levelled entire cities and islands. While the scientific evidence tells us this is only the beginning of an era of extreme climate events, leaders in the U.S. and elsewhere remain in denial.
People in vulnerable communities, however, are becoming aware of the need to adapt to the new normal and build homes that can withstand the next natural disaster.
Hemp may be one of the most viable solutions.
Greg Flavall, contractor and founder of Hemp Technologies, described witnessing firsthand the durability of a hemp home. The home sat on the side of a mountain in a 300 mph wind zone; one particular gust ripped the top half of the roof off, but the hempcrete remained in place and untouched.
Flavall helped establish alternative building methods from a "synergetic mix" of hemp and lime in countries throughout the world. He explained that while hemp may not be the bio-accumulator it was once thought to be, there are plenty of obvious and hidden benefits to building structures from hempcrete and lime.
Benefits mainly come from the renewability of hemp, he explained. While it takes 10-20 years to grow trees, it takes only 120 days to grow enough hemp to build a home. Plus, it’s fire, water, and mold resistant; and it’s super insulating and sound absorbent.
The average energy bill in hemp homes is $30-$40, he added, and studies have shown the rate of doctors visits and days off of work to go down among residents of these homes.
Ultimately, Flavall asserts that, “There’s no other material on the planet that gives you both the thermal mass and conductivity built into one material. Not only that, it will last forever, “ he added. “If your great grandchildren don’t like it, they can tear it down, use it as fertilizer or remix it to build something else.”
Host Snowden Bishop further discusses the advantages of building with hemp with Flavall and filmmaker Diana Oliver.