Hemp fibre grown in South Australia will be used in new building products currently being developed in Adelaide. Vircura are leading the way by developing an innovative new construction panel to be used in future housing projects. The new products will be made primarily of hemp fibre to replace traditional systems used for internal wall panels.
Innovating Hemp Wall Panels.
Hemp panels are fire resistant and have superior acoustic and insulation properties. Traditionally, hemp is used to construct houses with hempcrete, a mixture of hemp hurd (the woody component of the stem) and a lime binding agent. Hemp blocks are becoming popular to build domestic houses but precast hemp panels save construction time and reduce building costs.
Hemp panels are lightweight and renewable. Depending on the process, hemp house construction can be carbon negative. This means more atmospheric carbon is locked in the wall materials than is emitted during its production. In any case, building with hemp has positive environmental spin-offs giving a uniquely natural living environment for occupants to enjoy.
A First for South Australia.
For the first time in South Australia, hemp fibre varieties grown commercially will provide raw materials for Vircura. Vircura will build a hemp fibre processing facility near Adelaide, and crops sown in the Limestone Coast region will be harvested in March 2023 for proof of concept. Good Country Hemp are proud to be coordinating the sowing, growing and harvesting activities for Vircura. Hemp growers in the region have switched from growing hemp seed varieties to fibre this season and accepted the challenge. Successful development of new hemp building materials by Vircura will be a huge boost to the hemp industry. It will also move housing construction towards being more carbon neutral and sustainable whilst providing natural and healthier living spaces.
Growing Hemp Fibre.
There are many varieties of hemp, and only a few will grow successfully in our region. Seed, fibre and medicinal varieties are selected for end use, and each type has their own growing requirements. Hemp fibre varieties can grow up to 4 metres tall with a thicker stem and produce very little seed. Timing the crop is crucial to maximize fibre yield and to slot between seasons and other crops. Hemp gives the soil a boost so the benefits of hemp start in the paddock and continue to the final product.