Hygrothermal performance of an experimental hemp-lime building

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Abstract

The use of hemp-lime as a construction technique is a novel approach which combines renewable low carbon materials with exceptional hygrothermal performance. The hemp plant can grow up to 4m over a four month period, with a low fertilizer and irrigation demand, making it very efficient in the use of time and material resources. All parts of the plant can be used – the seed for food stuffs, the fibre surrounding the stem for paper, clothing and resin reinforcement, and the woody core of the stem as animal bedding and aggregate in hemp-lime construction. The unique pore structure of the woody core (shiv) confers low thermal conductivity and thermal and hygric buffering to hemp-lime. The construction technique promotes good air tightness and minimal thermal bridging within the building envelope. All these factors combine to produce low carbon, hygrothermally efficient buildings which are low energy both in construction and in use, and offer opportunities for recycling at end of life. This paper reports on the hygrothermal performance of an experimental hemp-lime building, and on the development of a computerized environmental model which takes account of the phase change effects seen in hemp-lime.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-421
Number of pages9
JournalKey Engineering Materials
Volume517
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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