America’s First Hemp House Pulls CO2 From The Air!

America’s First Hemp House Pulls CO2 From The Air!

The gorgeous, eco-friendly home costs only $133 per square foot to build.

Credit: Push Design

Credit: Push Design

Hemp is making a major comeback around the world. In the US, five states have legalized the recreational use of cannabis, and hemp-based building materials are now gaining in popularity.

The first house built in America with hemcrete was constructed in Asheville, North Carolina, and the 3,400 square foot Push House boasts a number of eco-friendly features.

Credit: Push Design

Credit: Push Design

To create a solid – yet breathable – wall system, hemp hurds were mixed with lime and water on-site an poured in-between the exterior supporting studs in lift.

Credit: Push Design

Credit: Push Design

As USA Today notes, Hempcrete is actually less like concrete and more like infill straw bale, as it is non-structural. The insulating quality is r-2.5 per inch, and it has the unique ability to capture airborne pollutants over time – absorbing carbon when it is grown and in place.

In addition, the material’s high thermal mass helps keep a steady interior temperature, rather than allowing it to fluctuate.

Credit: Push Design

Credit: Push Design

Credit: Push Design

Credit: Push Design

As CNN reports, the house also features 30 salvaged window frames that have been fitted with high tech glass. They were placed to allow the most daylighting without overheating the space. An open floor plans also allows the light to pervade deep into the home.

That’s not all: The energy-efficient wall system is coupled with a super efficient 21 SEER air-based heat pump to effectively heat and cool the home, reducing utility costs and also the need for expensive equipment. With these installments, this home ends up costing a respectable $133 per square foot to build. 
Hemp10

Some compromises were made, such as introducing petroleum-based foam products into the ceiling and foundation. However, the house is a stellar example of how health, energy and design can co-exist in sync.

Credit: Push Design

Credit: Push Design

Credit: Push Design

Credit: Push Design

The architect is looking forward to constructing similar, smaller homes in the future once he gets through the learning curve of using Hemcrete. Admirably, he says from here on out he will only build houses safe enough for his daughter to live in; we applaud that.

What are your thoughts? Share in the comments section below.

Credit: TrueActivist.com

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Is Industrial Hemp The Ultimate Energy Crop?

Is Industrial Hemp The Ultimate Energy Crop?

By Thomas Prade, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Bioenergy is currently the fastest growing source of renewable energy. Cultivating energy crops on arable land can decrease dependency on depleting fossil resources and it can mitigate climate change.

But some biofuel crops have bad environmental effects: they use too much water, displace people and create more emissions than they save. This has led to a demand for high-yielding energy crops with low environmental impact. Industrial hemp is said to be just that.

Enthusiasts have been promoting the use of industrial hemp for producing bioenergy for a long time now. With its potentially high biomass yield and its suitability to fit into existing crop rotations, hemp could not only complement but exceed other available energy crops.

Hemp, Cannabis sativa, originates from western Asia and India and from there spread around the globe. For centuries, fibres were used to make ropes, sails, cloth and paper, while the seeds were used for protein-rich food and feed. Interest in hemp declined when other fibres such as sisal and jute replaced hemp in the 19th century.

Abuse of hemp as a drug led to the prohibition of its cultivation by the United Nations in 1961. When prohibition was revoked in the 1990s in the European Union, Canada and later in Australia, industrially used hemp emerged again.

This time, the car industry’s interest in light, natural fibre promoted its use. For such industrial use, modern varieties with insignificant content of psychoactive compounds are grown. Nonetheless, industrial hemp cultivation is still prohibited in some industrialised countries like Norway and the USA.

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Energy use of industrial hemp is today very limited. There are few countries in which hemp has been commercialised as an energy crop. Sweden is one, and has a small commercial production of hemp briquettes. Hemp briquettes are more expensive than wood-based briquettes, but sell reasonably well on regional markets.

Large-scale energy uses of hemp have also been suggested.

Biogas production from hemp could compete with production from maize, especially in cold climate regions such as Northern Europe and Canada. Ethanol production is possible from the whole hemp plant, and biodiesel can be produced from the oil pressed from hemp seeds. Biodiesel production from hemp seed oil has been shown to overall have a much lower environmental impact than fossil diesel.

Indeed, the environmental benefits of hemp have been praised highly, since hemp cultivation requires very limited amounts of pesticide. Few insect pests are known to exist in hemp crops and fungal diseases are rare.

Since hemp plants shade the ground quickly after sowing, they can outgrow weeds, a trait interesting especially for organic farmers. Still, a weed-free seedbed is required. And without nitrogen fertilisation hemp won´t grow as vigorously as is often suggested.

So, as with any other crop, it takes good agricultural practice to grow hemp right.

Hemp has a broad climate range and has been cultivated successfully from as far north as Iceland to warmer, more tropical regions. Flickr: Gregory Jordan

Being an annual crop, hemp functions very well in crop rotations. Here it may function as a break crop, reducing the occurance of pests, particularly in cereal production. Farmers interested in cultivating energy crops are often hesitant about tying fields into the production of perennial energy crops such as willow. Due to the high self-tolerance of hemp, cultivation over two to three years in the same field does not lead to significant biomass yield losses.

Small-scale production of hemp briquettes has also proven economically feasible. However, using whole-crop hemp (or any other crop) for energy production is not the overall solution.

Before producing energy from the residues it is certainly more environmentally friendly to use fibres, oils or other compounds of hemp. Even energy in the fibre products can be used when the products become waste.

Recycling plant nutrients to the field, such as in biogas residue, can contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions from crop production.

Sustainable bioenergy production is not easy, and a diversity of crops will be needed. Industrial hemp is not the ultimate energy crop. Still, if cultivated on good soil with decent fertilisation, hemp can certainly be an environmentally sound crop for bioenergy production and for other industrial uses as well.

Thomas Prade receives funding from the Swedish Farmers’ Foundation for Agricultural Research, the EU commission, the Skåne Regional Council and Partnership Alnarp.

The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation.
Read the original article.

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New Study: Vaporized Marijuana is a Safe and Effective Pain Treatment

New Study: Vaporized Marijuana is a Safe and Effective Pain Treatment

New Study: Vaporized Marijuana is a Safe and Effective Pain Treatmentby Elizabeth Renter

When we talk about the medicinal benefits of marijuana, those who disapprove of its use tend to roll their eyes. But the fact is, this powerful plant has numerous potential applications in healthcare and pain management in particular. A new study has once again demonstrated that the vilified plant can safely and effectively treat general pain along with the painful symptoms of neuropathy.

Neuropathy is damage to the nervous system – particularly the peripheral nervous system (not including the brain and spinal cord). It is characterized by pain and numbness especially in the hands and feet, and is often the result of diabetes. Neuropathy can also be caused by injuries, toxic exposure, infections, and more.

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This latest study was conducted by researchers at the University of California Davis Medical Center and was published in The Journal of Pain. It was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study that looked at the effectiveness of using vaporized, inhaled cannabis in 39 participants. These participants were experiencing neuropathic pain despite having tried traditional treatments (like opiate drugs). All participants continued to take their prescribed medications throughout the 4 week study period.

Researchers gave participants doses of cannabis with moderate THC levels (3.53 percent) or low THC levels (1.29 percent). (THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the plant’s primary psychoactive chemical). Some also received a placebo with no THC. They found both doses of cannabis to be effective in reducing pain significantly.

“Both the low and medium doses proved to be salutary analgesics for the heterogeneous collection of neuropathic pain conditions studied. Both active study medications provided statistically significant 30% reductions in pain intensity when compared to placebo,” stated the researchers.

This is far from the first study to illustrate the pain-relieving benefits of cannabis. In fact, cannabis (even in THC-free form, or free of psychoactive effects) has been identified as a powerful pain reliever in more than 80 peer-reviewed studies. Still, the herb is classified as dangerous by the U.S. government.

Why is marijuana still illegal? Opponents of medicinal marijuana (including the federal government) say the research isn’t enough. It isn’t clear what they would like to see in marijuana studies, but it’s beginning to look like they want the impossible. It seems they would rather Americans continue consuming addictive prescription pain medications than use a plant.

According to AlterNet, sales of opiate pain pills have tripled since 1999. Oxycodone (one of the more popular choices on the legal and illegal market) has increased from 8.3 tons in 1997 to a whopping 105 tons in 2011. Overdose deaths are similarly climbing as is the number of people addicted to these substances. To date, no one has died from a marijuana overdose.

Additional Sources:

Norml.org

MedicalNewsToday

Republished from:
Natural Society 

What are The Nutritional Benefits Hemp Seeds?

What are The Nutritional Benefits Hemp Seeds?

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Hemp seed comes from the hemp plant, grown for use as a super food. We take a closer look at hemp seed nutrition and some of the key factors that make it a top superfood.
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