hempcrete buildings in South Africa
hempcrete buildings in South Africa

What is 12-Stories High and Made of Hemp? South Africa Gets Ready to Open First Hemp-Built Hotel

Hempcrete is starting to gain market share around the construction world

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Monday Jul 17, 2023

hempcrete buildings in south africa

The World’s Tallest Building Made Out Of Cannabis Is Going To Open Soon


The construction and building industry has primarily been using the same materials for decades now.


Unfortunately, many of these materials are found to be dangerous to either the environment or to humans, sometimes both. Nowadays, there is a growing awareness of the health impacts of the materials we use to build homes and the other structures we need in society.


But over the last few years, the effectiveness and environmental-friendly uses of hempcrete has risen in popularity. Hempcrete is an eco-friendly alternative to concrete; it’s a high-performance material that surpasses other types of construction materials, while also being strong, comfortable, and healthy for occupants. More nations are understanding the importance of using hemp-based concrete in building, and we may soon see more constructed with it.


Now in South Africa, the tallest building in the world made out of industrial hemp will be opening to the public soon. Standing 12 stories high, 84 Harrington in Cape Town will have 54 guest rooms with breathtaking views of the iconic Table Mountain. Agence France-Presse reports that the hotel was constructed using hempcrete, which was created using the wooden parts of hemp plants, particularly among the hotel’s walls.


“The plant absorbs the carbon, it gets put into a block, and it is then stored into a building for 50 years or longer,” explained Afrimat Hemp’s director, Boshoff Muller, to AFP. Afrimat Hemp is the company behind the hotel’s construction in partnership with Hemporium. Afrimat Hemp, a Cape Town-based construction firm specializes in industrial hemp natural building solutions as well as hemp processing.


“I bought 84 Harrington in 2016, with the idea being that it would become a flagship Hemporium store, a steak restaurant, and that it would house the Hemp Hotel, a place where people can experience living in a hemp-constructed space,” says Duncan Parker to Engineering News. Parker is the CEO and founding partner of Hemporium.


“From a sustainability and eco-construction perspective, we wanted to take hemp construction in South Africa to the next level, while also contributing to the inspiring hemp construction projects being undertaken globally,” he adds. “We also believed that once licenses for the commercialization of hemp in South Africa were issued, having innovative examples of what can be achieved with hemp would assist with leading the way for the fledgling hemp industry in South Africa,” Parker says.


In addition, both companies have noted that there is a significant increase in demand worldwide for bio-based construction. This is largely driven by the need for reduced CO2 emissions, and it is already being recognized that hemp in construction is already being seen as the gold standard when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions in building structures.


Best Modern Use For Hemp: Construction


The value of hemp has long been known since ancient times, as civilizations around the world cultivated it for use in fibers, textiles, paper, and more.


However, in modern times, perhaps construction may be the best use of hemp – this is especially due to the climate change crisis we are experiencing.


Hempcrete is made by mixing it with a binder that results in hardening it to a material that’s solid enough to be used as blocks, as well as panels. The dried, wooden core of the hemp stalk is used, often combined with a lime-based binder. The end result acts very much like concrete, but unlike concrete, hempcrete can actually sequester as much as 19 pounds of carbon dioxide in every cubic foot, whereas concrete generates 8% of carbon dioxide emissions.


That said, hempcrete still leaves much to be desired when it comes to mechanical strength. It still can’t be used as building foundations or for taking structural loads, so cement would still be needed. On the other hand, it does make a fantastic eco-friendly material for self-insulating walls instead. New structures can still be created from hempcrete, or old structures can be updated using hempcrete.


Aside from that, there are other compelling reasons to use hempcrete in construction. Since it’s completely safe and made from natural materials, it causes no toxic emissions that are dangerous for humans or the environment. It even protects from mold and bacteria because the lime content in hempcrete is effective in deterring them.


Furthermore, using hempcrete is effective in saving money – as well as reducing electricity bill costs. Bioclimatic houses made with hempcrete reduce the need for heating, and also decreases the need for air-conditioners.


While South Africa seems to be paving the way in hemp-based construction, other countries will soon be following suit as there is a growing acceptance and demand for eco-friendly building materials. In the United States, hemp is already being grown widely as an agricultural crop. It’s extremely renewable with its short growth cycle of around 3-4 months. On the other hand, soft wood takes anywhere from 25 years up.

Even when hemp is being grown, it already absorbs significant amounts of carbon in the air. Because of that, hemp’s ability to help combat climate change is unsurpassed.





New materials aren’t often seen in the construction and building industry. But the potential uses and benefits of concrete in building makes total financial and economic sense because it makes use of materials that are low-impact, natural, and ideally sourced from sustainable sources such as by-products or waste.


Hempcrete meets all the criteria needed for the ideal construction materials. It’s also a much more affordable solution.





What did you think?

ganja leaf left  Keep reading... click here  ganja leaft right

Please log-in or register to post a comment.

Leave a Comment: