A social enterprise non-profit called Common Knowledge based out of Ireland, along with an England-based hemp farm called Margent Farm, are teaming up to create tiny homes made from hemp.
Referred to as Tigín Tiny Homes, each building was crafted with three goals in mind: “sustainable, affordable, and consciously designed.” A single home covers 20 square meters (about 215 square feet if you’re using U.S. measurements) and offers high ceilings to give the home a “lofty, bright feel.” The bedroom is large enough for a king size bed, located on a mezzanine level, but the living space includes a pull-out guest bed. Other necessities, such as an oven, gas hobs, a sink, a shower, and even a compost toilet, can fit into the modest homes. Underneath the home, insulation is made from “breathable cork across a framework of pine.”
The hemp comes into play as a part of the exterior of the homes, which will use corrugated hemp sheets from Margent Farm. “The fibres sequester carbon, locking it in and stopping it releasing back into the atmosphere, resulting in a very low-carbon product. The high cellulose content (60 – 70%) of the plant makes it a very strong and durable material. The sheet is bound with a sugar based resin made entirely from agricultural waste. Our hemp sheets are a natural alternative to corrugated steel, PVC, bitumen and cement,” Margent Farm says on its website. “The sheets can be used externally to form a rain screen or internally as ceiling or wall linings or other acoustic treatments. The product is natural and like timber exposed to UV the colour will lighten over time,” Margent Farm continues.
Margent Farm also shares that making these sheets takes 5.7 times less energy than it takes to make aluminum, 2.6 less energy than bitumen plastic, and 1.5 less energy than galvanized steel.
Best of all, Common Knowledge will offer training classes to teach people how to make these homes for themselves, or to repair their homes, in order to “empower people to take action on the housing and climate crisis.”
“Ultimately, the plan of our Tigín project is not just to build these Tiny Homes, but to teach more than 200 people with the skills to build these or any other project themselves, whilst creating and releasing a free-to-use blueprint at the end of this year,” said Common Knowledge founder Fionn Kidney.
According to Åvontuura, the tiny homes are currently available for sale, and will cost between €55,000-€60,000 (nearly the same in USD). Fifty percent of people who have inquired about the homes have shared that they’re looking into a tiny home as a main residence, while about 10% say they want to buy one “for their children to help them escape the rent trap.”
“With many people currently impacted by a severe housing crisis, we believe a tiny home can provide an affordable solution, which is both highly adaptable and completely mobile,” said Common Knowledge. “We wanted to create something that would be useful, both in terms of offering a housing solution to people without the time to create one themselves, whilst enabling others to do it themselves.”
As the world continues to explore eco-building opportunities, hemp is being considered as a prime material for sustainable building. Hemp paper could very well be the future of printing, and it can also be used as a food for cattle. It has even been experimented with in car and airplane construction.