Progressive Australian company Mirreco have some exciting plans for the future of Australian housing – houses made of hemp.
Like other environmentally-conscious businesses across the world. Mirreco has a genuine concern for the wellbeing of our planet. Refusing to just “go with the flow”, as a forward-looking company, Mirreco are actively working up solutions to key environmental challenges. We are committed to making a front-line difference; never allowing the few to compromise the fate of the many.– Richard Evans – CEO and Founder.
Mirreco are not farmers – they have farmers growing hemp across Australia that they intend to convert into a range of highly sustainable products. Currently, they are still conducting research and development on numerous hemp product technologies and commercialisation is planned for mid – late 2020.
Hemp is one of the most useful and sustainable plants on Earth as it constitutes a highly sustainable, low-impact crop. It can be used as a highly nutritious food source, it’s fibres can be used for textiles and building products, paper, rope, plastic alternative, skincare and fuel oil.
Hemp crops are hardy and fast-growing. It’s easy to grow, the broad leaf of the plant blocks out sunlight, inhibiting the growth of competing weeds, reducing the need for herbicides – in fact it’s a great crop to grow organically. It grows to heights of approx. 4.5 metres and grows rapidly and can be ready to harvest in roughly 100 – 120 days after sowing. This rapid growth cycle presents a much-needed environmental boost because of its quick carbon-sequestering capabilities. By the time it is ready to harvest, one tone of hemp will have sequestered an average of 1.62 tons of CO2 – that carbon is then stored for the entire lifecycle of the material – and it’s a renewable resource. It performs best when used as a rotation crop as its long tap root and foliage return much needed nitrogen to worn-out soils. Hemp crops help to rejuvenate the soil, returning 60-70% of the nutrients it takes from the soil. It also requires little water in comparison to crops like cotton, which uses four times more water than hemp.
Standard plastic is made from fossil fuels and toxic chemicals – a cleaner, greener alternative to plastic can be made from hemp. Hemp based materials can also replace wood and other building materials used to build homes and other structures including foundations, walls, shingles, paneling, pipes and even, paint. Hempcrete is lightweight, waterproof, fireproof, self-insulating and naturally resistant to mould and pests.
Mirreco has invested a significant amount of time into designing a ready to assemble demonstration home with a world-first, carbon-neutral, building envelope that is blockchain enabled, called Lumecast. These carbon-neutral hemp building components can be manufactured site ready in less than one hour and will be greener, cleaner and faster than anything on the market. Imagine 3D-printing hemp bioplastic walls, floors, roofs to be used to build environmentally friendly, prefab homes that store huge amounts of C02 within the actual structure. Mirreco are collaborating with architectural firm, Arcforms to create digital prototypes of the homes they will soon be ‘printing’. Instead of waiting months and years for your home to be built, once the panels are printed, your home could be assembled in a few weeks. Another feature of the hemp polymer houses – windows will convert passing UV light into electricity.
NO TIME TO LOSE
At a time when the world is reeling from unprecedented, catastrophic global events and we only have a small window of opportunity to make a meaningful difference on Climate Change – hemp could be the answer to a cleaner, greener planet. Hemp is a sustainable broadacre crop with a multitude of industrial applications, with the potential to drive social, environmental and economic change that is needed now.