By Jim Miller


Thermal mass for human habitation started with the use of caves, then the Berbers used heavy felt blanket/tents, Eskimos used ice, then to mud bricks, concrete (blocks, poured, shot), stone, rammed earth tires, fiberglass, ground cardboard, sawdust and shavings, and now we add a new material to the list, that of “hempcrete”.

Energy, humidity, and noise attenuation evaluations of hempcrete buildings:

Building with Hemp Part 1 / 2

Building With Hemp Part 2/2

Hemp House in Asheville, NC

Building with Hemp:

Hemp Building Presentation:

Hempcrete is based on an old idea turned into a “new” application – that of creating thermal mass for outside walls of buildings, plus the inculpative value of closed cells withing the chopped hemp stalks. Use of fibers in concrete is old hat. Even blowing concrete in its various forms is old hat: Swimming pool contractors, stucco contractors, shotcrete contractors, concrete pumping rigs for precise delivery of poured concrete, else?

However, the sticking point is that building code officials are slow to adopt new technology and create considerable cost to the innovator – at least until the new application becomes “old hat”. Thus this paper has its main focus on getting past the reluctance of code officials to allow the outside walls to be filled with hempcrete. Hemp would not necessarily be the only agricultural crop as a serious candidate for the filler, but is probably the best and most cost effective.

While allowed in most other countries, industrial hemp is treated by the Federal government as an illegal plant, despite that it has only 3% of the alkaloid THC of medicinal hemp. We can solve the Federal issue by importing chopped hemp fibers from Canada, the UK or France. The stems of industrial hemp could much easier be grown in the U.S. but the politics of the “war on drugs” is present , thus denying our U. S. farmers a source of income from a fast growing annual crop which is also a nitrogen fixer. Experimental crops need to be permitted. Apart from use as a filler for hempcrete, the industrial hemp has many beneficial uses as will be shown later in this paper.

Let’s start with existing standards and move toward hempcrete technology. Let’s use standard slab-on-grade concrete foundation with an extra wide footing and stem wall and let’s go two stories. The standard frame building would have the first story and use 2 x 8 studs set at 24″ OC. The second story could be 2 x 6 studs. When the roof is on, the wiring, plumbing and HVAC is roughed in and drywall applied to the inside of the outside walls, then we have cavities which can be filled with blown hempcrete. As a vapor barrier, these cavities would first be “painted” with a coat of latex and while still damp, the hempcrete is shot into the cavities.

Pause read and look at these Youtube videos so you get the idea of how hempcrete can be pneumatically applied. The machinery is standard gunite or shotcrete systems.

Spray applied hempcrete:

Spray applied hempcrete:

Hemp plaster

Using Hempire as an internal render

Once we get over that a close cousin to industrial hemp has “medicinal” qualities, we can focus on the real use of industrial hemp as a giant grass. I suppose the closest substitute is “Elephant grass,” , Miscanthus Giganteus, which we could grow as a temporary “pseudo-hemp” crop, then eventually when the politicians are tired of being hammered by the wantabe consumers and growers of industrial hemp, we can switch to industrial hemp as they have in Canada. See: Hemp Biodiesel – Craig Lee @ MO Hempfest:

An action to legalize industrial hemp has been proposed by Cong. Ron Paul: Industrial Hemp Farming Act:

Movements are afoot: Hemp History Week 2010, Asheville, NC – Events Preview:

We will need some idea of the cost of the different systems and the materials. Let’s start with the equipment which come new and use in all sizes.
Shotcrete equipment:

The low-slump (stiff) wet concrete is pumped by an auger through a hose to the nozzle. The shotcrete nozzle adds compressed air to blow the concrete onto the target surface. Water can be added to make the mixture wetter during the mixing in the nozzle. Here are some videos to illustrate the operation and application:

Small machines:
QuikStart is a two-wheel trailer mounted unit which can handle up to 1/4″ aggregate and fiber.

Medium machines:
Warrior Shotcrete System:

Large machines:
Only a few large contractors exist which service a large metro area with large rigs. Usually, these companies support swimming pool companies with dry mix gunite systems and large government contractors in the wet cement shotcrete industry. Here’s examples:

Decorative stamps on just about any surface:

Stamped concrete:

Concrete Network (knowledge base):

Concrete walls:

Swimming pools:

Hempcrete house exterior walls:


Here is a sample of the many uses of industrial hemp:

Automobile parts:

Light truck parts and fuel:

Biomass to gas and electricity: Pot Power- Turning Hemp into electricity:

Paper: Hemp Paper in Tasmania:
Global warming: Hemp For Victory – A Global Warming Solution:

Medical: Diabetes care: Hemp Oil Used To Cure Diabetes (worth a watch):

Cosmetics: WCAV – Charlottesville Mayor: Hemp Farming Should Be Legal in Virginia:

Healthy homes and living:

Fuel: How to make your own biodiesel:


Water in Diesel and Biodiesel:

Hemp Bio-Fuel:


Hemp is Fully Green !

Bioneers – Industrial Hemp 1of 2:

Bioneers – Industrial Hemp 2 of 2:


Canadian industrial hemp production: Industrial Hemp production basics for Ontario:

Farming hemp:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Caledonia Organic Farm – A Saskcess Story :


A practical application:
As a field trial after full exploration of the pending issues, we should create a proposal for a field trial of a hempcrete house on a Northern California Indian Reservation, as a demonstration/learning/self-help project. The proposal will involve all of the appropriate sciences, architectural, engineering, biological, legal, environmental, and political science students who volunteer to help in the design and specification stage, negotiation with the tribe and local authorities. The chopped hemp would be sourced in Canada and the lime as locally derived as possible.

Such project has been developed, that of the Maka Akan Wicoti (Community Upon The Earth), or Eco-Wicoti project at the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota.


Attempts in California to enact the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act have encountered heavy head winds, despite broad bi-partisan support. California Governor Jerry Brown allowed the legislation to encounter a “pocket veto”, claiming that Federal law prohibiting the plant trumped the attempt to create a pilot project in California.

The “legislative” solution lies in removing industrial hemp (Cannibus sativa L.) from the DEA list of Controlled Substances Act. We could achieve this result by filing a petition with the appropriate Federal agencies, then when denied, filing suit in a Federal District Court. The action would be for a writ of mandate requiring the HDS/DEA/FDA to remove the plant and its derivatives from the list and prohibiting DOJ and all federal agencies from prosecuting all types of cases involving industrial hemp.

This article is copyrighted under the Creative Commons license and may be freely republished for educational, scientific, and critical review purposes, but not republished for commercial purposes without the author’s permission.

Contact the author:
James E. Miller, BA, BS, JD
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Hemp Field, Americas 1st “legal” Industrial hemp:
The term “gunite” refers to a dry-mix process that was invented in 1909 by naturalist Carl Akeley. Gunite is a process involving a “mixture of Portland cement and sand thoroughly mixed dry, passed through a cement gun and conveyed by air through a flexible tube, hydrated at a nozzle at the end of such flexible tube and deposited by airplace of final repose.” “When properly mixed and applied, Gunite is extremely strong, dense and highly resistant to weathering and many forms of chemical attack. It is heat resistant to a high degree and can be made more so by substituting refractory aggregates for part or all of the sand. Resistance to abrasion is extremely high. The bond to other Gunite, well cleaned masonry or other materials is equal to or greater than the shearing strength of the material to which it is applied.” (from “Gunite and Shotrete” by the Gunite Contractors Association).
“Shotcrete is an all-inclusive term to describe the spraying of concrete or mortar that may be accomplished through either a dry- or wet-mix process. Gunite refers only to the dry-mix process in which the dry cementitious mixture is blown through a hose to the nozzle, where the water is injected immediately prior to application. Because complete mixing of the water and dry ingredients is not possible in the nozzle, mixing is completed as the material impinges on the receiving surface, through manipulation of the nozzle. This requires a very highly skilled nozzleman, especially in the case of thick or heavily reinforced sections. Large aggregate is seldom used with the dry-mix process. Wet-mix shotcrete involves pumping of a previously prepared mixture, typically ready mixed concrete, to the nozzle. Compressed air is introduced at the nozzle to impel the mixture onto the receiving surface. The mixture usually contains minus 1/2 in. aggregate, although larger-size aggregate has also been used. The use of the term “shotcrete” first occurred in Railroad Age magazine more than 50 years ago in place of the then proprietary word “Gunite,” and has been used by the American Concrete Institute since at least 1967 to describe all sprayed concrete or mortar.” (American Shotcrete Association)”
Elephant grass:
Comparison to corn (ethanol)
Compared to other ethanol inputs, giant Miscanthus grass produces more mass overall, as well as more ethanol. For example, a typical acre of corn yields around 7.6 tons of biomass per acre and 756 gallons of ethanol. Giant Miscanthus is capable of producing up to 20 tons of biomass and 3,250 gallons of ethanol fuel.
Another major benefit of Miscanthus grass is that it is not a food crop. Corn-based ethanol, which is the version most people are familiar with, is based on creating fuel from a product that could be used to feed people. When market forces change the demand for corn, prices can fluctuate wildly, deeply affecting the ability of many to purchase food. Since Miscanthus grass is not a food crop in the western hemisphere, changes in demand will not have a direct effect on the price of food.
QuikShot Vertical Mix Shotcrete Machine
The QuikShot Vertical Mix Shotcrete Machine, distributed by FossilCrete Inc., is a typical shotcrete pump, only smaller. And that makes it perfect for decorative concrete contractors.
The scaled-down machine goes through less concrete per batch. A contractor can mix two buckets of concrete, shoot it, then lay the gun down and go to work shaping the wet mud. “Basically, this is a miniature shotcrete machine,” says FossilCrete president Stanton Pace. “You can do small batches at a time.”
The QuikShot is manufactured by Quickspray Inc. to FossilCrete’s specifications, and it is sold bearing the FossilCrete name. “We’ve used Quickspray’s products before,” Pace says. “I used to use one of these as a contractor. This is everything we like in a machine.” The QuikShot pumps 25 bags of vertical mix in 15 minutes, or 1.5 yards per hour. It requires only 110 volts of electric power and uses only 10 cfm of air.
The portable machine propels material with peristaltic squeezes through a soft rubber tube. The system can handle up to 1/4-inch aggregate and can easily pump fiber mix. No internal moving parts come in contact with the material as it is pumped, which minimizes maintenance. The rubber tube is inexpensive and easily replaced. What’s more, the machine’s parabolic hoppers don’t have corners that might clog. If any outfit knows vertical concrete stamping, it’s FossilCrete. The company manufactures a number of unusual stamps, including several fossil designs, as well as its own vertical stamp mix.
A large, conventional shotcrete machine is a hassle for decorative concrete contractors. Leasing one of these behemoths can run $1,000 a day, not including concrete, Pace says. “With QuikShot, you don’t have to rent a huge air compressor.”
FossilCrete introduced their shotcrete machine at the 2005 World of Concrete show. It costs $7,200 and comes with a 40-foot material hose, vertical stamp mix gun and spare pump hose.
For more information, visit the FossilCrete Web site or call (405) 525-3722.
Western Shotcrete Equipment Inc. Accessory equipment to shotcrete industry and used shotcrete pumps:
Warrior trailer mounted pump
Announcing a hemp building project at Kiza Park starting May 11th
Kiza Park is located 3 miles north of Manderson SD, on BIA 33, near Wounded Knee, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A hempcrete building project/workshop will be conducted at this site from May 11th through June 15th, supervised by American Limetec. We’re calling this project Maka Akan Wicoti (Community Upon The Earth), or Eco-Wicoti.
For a variety of reasons, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota is one of the poorest locales in North America. The population grows while employment opportunities are nearly non-existent. Federal assistance under the Bureau of Indian Affairs is substandard. The supply of adequate housing diminishes each year.
A crisis, (and now an opportunity) presented itself on December 20, 2007. The family homestead of Alex and Debra White Plume burned to the ground as the result of an electrical fire. The house was home to Alex and Debra, daughter Rosebud and her children, and grandchildren Tyson and Denise. The home served as the hub around which the White Plume clan turned. Many irreplaceable artifacts, ceremonial items, and records from their lifetime of work in human and indigenous rights are now gone.
Alex has been Oglala Sioux Tribal President and Vice President. The White Plumes oversee a political action group called Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) that is stopping uranium mining on the reservation and the Black Hills. Owe Aku is also active in protecting water, sacred sites, and economic development through renewable energy as well.
In 2002, the White Plumes became the only farmers within the boundaries of the USA to have raised and delivered a crop of hemp since 1968. The United States quickly made it impossible to do so again. The Lakota Hemp Project is still fighting what they see as legal and political stupidity.
Now, the perfect moment in time for the global hemp movement to take action has arrived. Building a home and community that demonstrates the potential of hemp to the world is now underway.
Hempcrete is a building material that is formed by combining air-lime based binders with the chopped core of the hemp plant stem. It can be pored into a form almost identical to pouring concrete, or spray applied. Hempcrete homes are lightweight, fire, water, earthquake, and rodent resistant, have excellent thermal mass and insulation characteristics that allows the homes to breath, which saves money on heating and cooling costs, has high sound insulation, and good flexibility.
This building technique also sequesters a lot of carbon, reversing the damaging effects of greenhouse gases, providing one the best value materials for low impact, sustainable and commercially viable construction. The Roman aqueducts were most likely built this way, as were still active bridges in France dating to the sixth century. Homes such as these are being built in Europe today, and a new Chicago company called American Lime Technology is ready to use this technique here in the U.S. The White Plume’s community center will be the first building of its kind in America.
With help from friends, relatives, and the global hemp community, rebuilding efforts are now in progress. A surviving portion of the foundation of the burned home has been re-used to build a simple building to get the family under a roof. The community center, located above Kiza Park, will be the site for this hempcrete building project.
The community center is intended for neighbors to use for wakes and meetings, while serving as the hub around which a sustainable community will be built. The community center needs to be rebuilt, because much of the building materials in it have been used to rebuild Alex and Debra’s new house. The community center already has a floor, a foundation, and a timber frame, which are the requirements for a hempcrete building. Underneath the siding is a plywood wall that will be used to facilitate the spraying of the Hempcrete. The roof on the center needs to be replaced. A green tin will be used, which lasts much longer than asphalt. Then a solar powered water heater will be installed over the tin. The center already has electric power, and an original homestead well is nearby where a solar well pump will be installed. The inside of the building needs funding and labor to finish the interior rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and utility.
Every possible conservation and sustainability technique will be incorporated into all aspects of the design, including water consumption, composting toilets, heating and cooling, and renewable energy. A green pool where plants instead of chemicals clean gray water for gardening is in the planning, as well as a greenhouse system. The entire lot will be fenced off to keep horses out of the gardens, which will have row covers to keep the grasshoppers out. Housing/rental bungalows built out of straw bale and cob will then be strung along the ridge beside the road all the way down to the Kiza Park. A natural amphitheater in front of Wounded Knee creek, and a bridge into the campground will then be built, linking the community center with Kiza Park.
The idea is to create a thriving eco-community that provides workshops and information for others on Pine Ridge and around the region, teaching them how to live sustainable by providing a sustainable model. Then an eco-hemp store will be opened in Kiza Park to bring economic development and further knowledge to the area, which will be passed on to others, providing a location where tourists, hemp enthusiasts, and visitors can come and stay in a green cottage, ride horses and mountain bikes, take classes, and eat buffalo and other organically grown local foods, all in a comfortable and educational environment.
The 8th Annual Hemp Hoe Down (May 8-10, 2008) at the Elkview Campground near Sturgis, South Dakota, will be held as a benefit for the White Plume building project. This year’s event proceeds will be applied to help build the green home. The Hemp Hoe Down regularly features workshops regarding sustainability, and will be expanded this year to allow attendees the option to travel to Pine Ridge after the event and help participate in the construction of the home. Donations will be contributed to the construction of the house, and volunteers and workers are needed. Engineers, contractors, and others involved in construction are encouraged to attend to learn this amazing building technique.
Hemp will have to be imported from Europe for the Hempcrete portion of the house, which will be expensive. However, American Limetec has graciously offered to do the construction and workshop without a fee.
Join us! Learn sustainable building techniques. Email Jeremy Briggs at
Please send donations to Alex White Plume, PO Box 71, Manderson, SD, 57756. For more information visit:, Â, and

Leading Hemp Advocacy Groups Outraged by Governor Brown’s Veto of California Industrial Hemp Farming Act by admin Veto of SB 676 is Huge Setback for California Farmers, Businesses and the Economy
Sacramento, CA — Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the nation’s leading grassroots hemp advocacy organization and industry trade group, respectively, both working to revitalize industrial hemp production in the U.S., are extremely disappointed to report that Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed SB 676, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act. After moving smoothly through the California legislature with bi-partisan support, Gov. Brown has vetoed this landmark legislation. The first hemp bill to land on Gov. Brown’s desk, SB 676 is the fourth bill since 2002 in support of hemp farming to pass the California legislature but ultimately be vetoed by the Governor. The bill would have established guidelines for farming the oilseed and fiber varieties of the plant, which are used in a myriad of everyday consumer products, including food, body care, clothing, paper, auto parts, composites and building materials.
In a statement dated Oct. 9, Gov. Brown stated, “Federal law clearly establishes that all cannabis plants, including industrial hemp, are marijuana, which is a federally regulated controlled substance. Failure to obtain a permit from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration prior to growing such plants will subject a California farmer to federal prosecution.” Despite his veto of the bill, he went on to express his support for legalizing hemp farming at the federal level. “Although I am not signing this measure, I do support a change in federal law. Products made from hemp — clothes, food, and bath products — are legally sold in California every day. It is absurd that hemp is being imported into the state, but our farmers cannot grow it.” The veto letter from Governor Brown can be viewed at:
Introduced by Senator Mark Leno earlier this year, SB 676 proposed to create an eight-year pilot program allowing industrial hemp farming in four California counties: Kern, Kings, Imperial and San Joaquin. The legislation would have allowed California farmers to grow industrial hemp for the legal sale of seed, oil and fiber to manufacturers.
“Vote Hemp and The Hemp Industries Association are extremely disappointed by Gov. Brown’s veto. This is a big setback for not only the hemp industry — but for farmers, businesses, consumers and the California economy as a whole. Hemp is a versatile cash and rotation crop with steadily rising sales as a natural, renewable food and body care ingredient. It’s a shame that Gov. Brown agreed that the ban on hemp farming was absurd and yet chose to block a broadly supported effort to add California to the growing list of states that are demanding the return of U.S. hemp farming. There truly was overwhelming bi-partisan support for this bill,” explains Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp and Executive Director of the HIA.
Strong support for the bill had come from Kings and Kern County Sheriffs and the Kings County Board of Supervisors, as well as from the California State Grange, the UCFW-5, the Imperial County Farm Bureau, the California Certified Organic Growers and other leading farm organizations. The bill also had broad based support from businesses and consumers.
“After four vetoes in ten years in California, it is clear we lack a Governor willing to lead on this important ecological, agricultural and economic issue. We will regroup, strategize and use this veto to our advantage at the federal level,” notes Vote Hemp Director and co-counsel Patrick Goggin.
Today, more than 30 industrialized nations grow industrial hemp and export it to the United States. Hemp is the only crop that is illegal to grow at the federal level, yet is legal for Americans to import. Among the numerous California-based companies who have supported the bill are Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, makers of North America’s top-selling natural soap, and Nutiva, a rising star among innovative health food companies. Both of these businesses currently must import hemp from other countries.
California businesses currently spend millions of dollars each year importing hemp, primarily from Canada, China and Europe. Demand for hemp products has been growing rapidly in recent years, and it is estimated that the U.S. hemp market now exceeds $419 million in annual retail sales. From natural soaps to healthy foods, there is a large variety of “Made in California” hemp products whose manufacturers and buyers will greatly benefit from an in-state source of hemp seed, fiber and oil.
The environmental and agricultural benefits are not limited to the versatility of uses. Industrial hemp is an excellent rotation crop because its dense growth smothers weeds without herbicides and helps to break the disease cycle. Hemp requires less water and agricultural inputs than other crops, has deep taproots that leave the soil in excellent condition for the next crop, and is proven to increase yields. These benefits save farmers money and reduce the amount of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers that run into our waterways.
Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop’s many uses may be found at or Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Ryan Fletcher at 202-641-0277 or



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