By Arwa Lodhi
When you think of hemp, you probably think of rope. But there’s more to it than that. It’s long been known that hemp seed oil is great for the health, and some argue that its leaves are also great for healing in many ways. Yet…hemp in buildings? Surprisingly, Pedone Studios has found a way for hemp to benefit your health there, too.
Like millions around the world, Pedone Studios has been inspired by not only the natural world, but also the Dalai Lama – particularly his statement: “taking care of the Earth is our shared responsibility.” As a result, they have based their engineering and architectural practices on three elements: caring for the environment, using natural materials like hemp, and following a Mediterranean aesthetic. Their Case Di Luce – a.k.a. Hemp Houses – follows all three principles.
Pedone Studios created these cost-effective homes with high energy performance solutions that work at different levels. The winner of the Green Building Construction Award’s Energy Category in 2016, the Case Di Luce represents one of the best international model projects in the field of sustainable and energy efficiency buildings. With its innovative solutions and strongly natural choices, buildings such as these are able to prevent climate change and global warming, in response to the Mediterranean climate and arid-hot climates.
Case di Luce is an highly innovative NZEB building born from an integrated systemic and holistic approach, applied to the entire building processes linked to the themes of bio- architecture, eco-sustainability, environmental and living comfort. They’re characterized by a completely natural envelope that applies Natural Beton ®, a hemp/lime bio-composite building material, and Biomattone, also made of of hemp and lime. This building mixture is completely recyclable, biocompatible, and incredibly, is able to capture and sequester CO2. In fact, each cubic meter of material saves a total of 60 kg CO2 from the atmosphere.
Currently, Case Di Luce is one of the largest buildings in Europe built with hemp and lime and is also one of the first structures in Italy to achieve the European Directive 2020 objectives due to its high CO2 absorption and low energy consumption. Bioclimatic planning systems (passive solar energy, passive cooling, natural light) and the use of renewable energy sources, including solar, thermal and photovoltaic systems combine with the concept of eco-wellbeing to make this not only a sustainable building, but one that is good for your health, too.
How so? By using only green certified and non-toxic materials and allowing the building to have a high thermal, acoustic and hygrometric performance that make a near-zero environmental impact, the Case Di Luce ensures that residents are never subject to sick building syndrome, skin dryness from traditional central heating systems or the stress and sleep disruption related to noise.
So you see? Hemp does indeed have many uses beyond rope. Thanks to its natural qualities, quick growth and gentleness on the environment, it’s one construction material we’re hoping to see much more of in the future.