Dec 10, 2021
United States Hemp Building Foundation Brings Future of Construction to Alabama

As the world focus falls on the urgent need to take drastic action to decrease our collective carbon footprint, the hemp building industry is poised to take a leading role. The building industry accounts for 40% of the world’s carbon footprint. High performance sustainable building materials are needed to continue growing as a society without sacrificing the planet. Hemp-lime, or hempcrete, construction is emerging as an answer to this existential crisis.

Sustainable building practices are increasingly being championed by many groups. One group is the Ekvn-Yefolecv, an ecovillage of Indigenous Maskoke persons who, after 180 years of displacement, have returned for the purpose of language revitalization, regenerative agriculture, and natural building. Ekvn-Yefolecv Co-Director Marcus Briggs-Cloud stated, “We are dedicated to coupling knowledge from our traditional Maskoke ecological worldview with emerging innovative approaches to regenerative lifeways that respond to, and will help us navigate, climate crisis. We appreciate our partnership with USHBF, HempStone and BastCore to manifest this first hempcrete project in our traditional homelands.”

The US Hemp Building Foundation, USHBF, was established to help fund projects to develop the US hemp building industry. One of their initiatives is the workforce development program, which is designed to train groups in underserved communities on how to build with hemp. President of the USHBA, Jacob Waddell explains, “We believe that creating an inclusive community in this emerging market is crucial.”

Ekvn-Yefolecv and the USHBF have come together to help train members of the Ekvn-Yefolecv community on how to build with hemp-lime. Jennifer Martin of HempStone LLC, a pioneer and a major industry force was brought on to lead the training. “Ekvn-Yefolecv’s commitment to sourcing local materials has undoubtedly moved the industry forward in the Southeast US and paves the way for others to obtain local hempcrete materials in their region. It’s an honor and a privilege to work alongside such thoughtful, committed, and creative people.” said Martin.

The groups worked to collaborate with local supply chain partners to decrease their carbon footprint and strategically develop the supply chain. BastCore is a leader in hemp processing innovations based in Montgomery, AL and is aiming to become a major supplier of hemp hurd in the US. BastCore donated the 6,000 lbs of hemp hurd for the project. “We have supported the USHBF for several years and are happy to supply this project with our hemp hurd. Building a domestic supply chain is the foundation for the hemp building industry. We believe very strongly in the workforce development program and are excited to see the market shifting towards carbon storing materials, as opposed to traditional carbon emitting materials” said, Managing Director of BastCore, Austin Bryant.

This project shows what can be done to change the story of the building industry, from one of major carbon contributors to one of the most innovative and influential sectors for advancement as we create a more sustainable future.