How one company is making housing material out of a newly legalized crop

Posted at 5:10 PM, Sep 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 19:10:51-04

KETCHUM, Idaho — A house built out of plants: the idea seems odd at first but one Idaho company has a chance to change the insulation market by creating a bio-based, non-toxic and safe-to-touch product that could end up on the other side of your walls.

Hempitecture had its start in the dorm room of CEO Mattie Mead who wanted to change the way that houses were designed. For thousands of years prior to the industrial revolution, houses were made up of pretty common materials like rock, mud, and plants.

America's history even started with the use of hemp. The first American flag made by Betsy Ross was crafted out of hemp fiber. Though this crop had hundreds of different uses, laws unfortunately took hemp off the market until it was recently reevaluated in 2018 and legalized for production once again.

Though Idaho was state No. 50 to allow hemp to be grown again, the door has opened for many new possibilities in the industrial hemp industry — and Hempitecture wants to start with insulation.

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“Our mission is to manufacture, distribute and innovate the most sustainable building materials on the planet,” said Hempitectures CEO Mattie Mead.

The insulation is called Hempwool. Compared to other products on the market, this plant based building material is an ideal thermal material, stores carbon, and is moisture resistant, making it longer lasting.

Though Mead is focused on creating sustainable products out of hemp fiber, his other venture it changing the way that understand what hemp actually is. Thoughts of pot plants and marijuana come to mind for many, industrial hemp is similar only by name and plant relationship. The crop has no properties relating to cannabis and hemp fiber could be the next best crop added to the agricultural industry.

“One of hempitectures goals is to destigmatize the use of industrial hemp and make it known that this is an agricultural commodity that can restore opportunity for farmers in rural communities and these are places that opportunity has been missed in past years,” said Mead.

Not only does Mead want to change the insulation market, he hopes to grow Idaho's agricultural industry. Hemp is a new crop that could be added to rotation and comes with the benefit of not being as water intensive as other crops available to plant.

This dichotomy could bolster Idaho's hemp output and develop a new partnership with companies like hempitecture making Idaho a prominent player in the hemp market.

“After many years of prohibition all across the country, we are seeing industrial hemp being grown and planted," Mead said. "We’re not just seeing this across the United States, we’re now seeing that in Idaho and we’re really excited about the future of U.S. grown, U.S. manufactured bio-based building materials."

For more information on Hempitecture, click here.