A recent study by the Nova-Institute, which was published by the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), proved hemp’s ability to absorb carbon during the manufacturing of insulation and building materials.
EIHA publication details
The study published by EIHA is titled “Unlocking Carbon Transfer: Wood and Hemp for Sustainable Construction”. It examines the effects of using wood and hemp as biomass sources in the construction sector on the environment. The building industry has a large carbon footprint. Thus it is looking for relevant solutions as climate change limitations are top legislative priorities. The study emphasises how using organic building materials like hemp can reduce buildings’ negative environmental effects and turn the sector into carbon sinks.
The building industry is estimated to be responsible for 5 to 12% of the greenhouse gas emissions. On the contrary, the circular economy action plan is in the focus for the EU. They look at resource efficiency, circularity, and the use of organic materials in building. Construction practices can significantly lessen their environmental impact by combining hemp and wood.
According to the study, modern hemp types grown in Europe have the same capability as wood to store between 7 and 9.6 tons of CO2 equivalents annually. The importance of this discovery is emphasised by Mark Reinders, a member of the EIHA Board, who says, “This represents a significant carbon storage potential, especially considering the potential increase in hemp cultivation and its applications in the construction sector.” Hemp may replace materials like cement and rockwool, making it a useful resource for eco-friendly building. Additionally, hemp’s insulating properties help reduce energy consumption by eliminating the need for excessive heating and cooling, which in turn lowers carbon emissions.
The study – what’s in it for the industry?
By 2050, the European Union plans to have achieved carbon neutrality. The EU economy saw a 4% decrease in CO2 equivalent emissions during the fourth quarter of the previous year compared to the same time in 2021. EIHA is trying to make EU institutions understand hemp’s potential as a crop for storing carbon. The managing director of the EIHA, Lorenza Romanese, explains as following:
“This study will lay the foundation for an open and evidence-based discussion, which we hope will result in regulatory results and greater visibility for hemp.”
The study highlights the significant carbon transfer potential of hemp in the building sector. Hemp is a useful resource for eco-friendly building and insulation materials. It is because it can store CO2 equivalents on par with wood. Hemp’s function as a carbon sink is becoming more and more important. Especially for the EU and national governments. They focus on climate neutrality and work to minimise greenhouse gas emissions. To summarise, the building sector may significantly reduce its environmental effect and work toward a more sustainable future. It should focus on acknowledging and promoting hemp’s potential. So far, there are already existing hemp buildings and the market can continue to grow.