Donald Trump has been known to cut costs on construction projects before, and if material costs are a major issue in building his infamous border wall, a hemp based material known as hempcrete could get the job done for a mere $700 million. This is much lower than the current estimates ranging around $5-6 billion, which Trump allies believe could potentially swing Democrats into voting for the wall, while the idea may be futile, it’s worth a shot.
One of the big contentions from the Democrats has been the cost, and while they have other issues with the wall, hitting it from the cost angle is one strategy to get fiscal Conservatives on their side.
According to Richard Rose a long-time U.S. hemp pioneer and industry advocate: “The hempcrete could be poured into a form to make tilt panels, which would be trucked to the site and literally put in place, just like regular concrete panels.”
If a 30’ tall and 2’ wide hempcrete (a mixture of hydrated lime and hurd, hemp’s woody core) wall was built for 1,954 miles along the southern border, the structure would translate to 619,027,200 cubic feet of space. Each cubic foot would require 17 lb. of hempcrete, extrapolated to a total output of 5,261,731 tons of materials for the entire structure.
Obviously hemp + concrete = hempcrete, but what on earth is hempcrete and how does it work? We wondered the same thing.
Hempcrete is a bio-composite material, a mixture of hemp hurds and lime (possibly including natural hydraulic lime, sand, pozzolans) used as a material for construction and insulation. Hempcrete is easier to work with than traditional lime mixes and acts as an insulator and moisture regulator. It lacks the brittleness of concrete and consequently does not need expansion joints.
Hempcrete has been used in France since the early 1990’s to construct non-weight bearing insulating infill walls, as hempcrete does not have the requisite strength for constructing foundation and is instead supported by the frame. France continues to be an avid user of hempcrete; it is growing in popularity annually.