A dream house from the plant pot

‘Grow your own house’ is summed up by consortium member Thijmen Huiskamp from the Netherlands as a European project that could soon lead to great things for hemp and flax (in plant pots). A plant-it-yourself house?

As a “sustainable all-rounder with the properties of high-performance fibres”, hemp is increasingly in demand as a ‘building material’. This plant-oriented approach is also being pursued by the Institute for Textile Technology (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University in cooperation with various partners as part of the European ‘Grow2Build’ project. Working together, the aim is to research into hemp and flax as reusable raw materials and, subsequently, to market them as improved products.

According to ITA, the advantages of bio-based building materials are self-evident: flax and hemp are fully renewable; they can be produced organically and are biodegradable. Hence, they will result in no industrial waste at a later date. According to project participants, hemp fibres have mechanical properties similar to glass fibres, which are, for example, used to make car seats. The objective of ‘Grow2Build’ is to bring together everyone involved in the ‘flax and hemp’ value chain, i.e., agriculture, primary processers, industry, construction sector and consumers. Thus, product standardisation is one of the subjects to be discussed at a coming meeting with members of the European Union in Brussels.

To put the motto, ‘Grow your own house’, in our own words: Anyone who now plants, fertilises and waters hemp or flax, could well be germinating the seeds for his or her future dream house on the window sill. Really!

Picture: The project team of Grow2Building. Source: ITA

Ronny Eckert

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