York architecture practice Native is striving to ensure that their projects include genuinely sustainable, low embodied energy building solutions providing an alternative to the current energy intensive, traditional masonry wall construction methods.
At Hornington Manor, a rural diversification project near Tadcaster, a cast hempcrete wall system is being adopted. Hemp is intrinsic to both the construction and future use of the buildings. To insulate the large wall surfaces of this former agricultural building, a mixture of hemp bound with a lime binder is cast in panels around timber studwork walls. The clients,
Harrison Spinks, are high specification bed manufacturers who grow hemp to incorporate into their products. When finished, this project will include a new bed showroom and luxury holiday accommodation on the site.
Architect Director Chris Walker explains how using hemp fits into his practices’ philosophy. “Building with hemp and lime is a way of constructing buildings that lock up carbon. It has very low embodied energy, can be easily re-cycled and has good insulation and humidity regulating qualities. We are promoting these types of ecologically kinder processes into the fabric of our buildings as we recognise that the industry needs to shift its focus onto CO2 emissions associated with the manufacture and transport of the materials we build with. There is already plenty of statutory policy relating to energy production in buildings but little regarding embodied energy in materials. We need to rapidly adopt a more responsible approach to building material manufacturing; reducing our dependency on toxic, energy intensive, fossil fuel derived products.”
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