Living in a home made out of drywall these days is quite common, especially in places like North America. But what if there was a more sustainable way? This pioneering woman is building tiny sustainable homes out of hemp, and she's hoping to spread the word and get more people on board. This sustainable housing is hopefully the way of the future and people like Pamela Bosch from Bellingham, Washington are paving the way. For thousands of years, people built and continue to build houses and buildings out of sustainable materials like mud bricks, clay, and dirt. Drywall was only created just over 100 years ago, in England with calcium sulphate dihydrate also known as gypsum or sheetrock. Drywall was made as an easy, affordable way to install walls. The problem is, the drywall slabs are made out of mainly synthetic materials, which are not 100% sustainable. There have been reports of Chinese Drywalls containing some very harmful chemicals like hydrogen sulphide gas that is released when the walls are broken up during a house demolition. These chemicals then go into the landfills where they seep into our soil and pollute our earth. You also have to think about the chemicals we are breathing in daily, as the materials and paints off-gas.
Building houses out of wood is a better way of building sustainable housing. But it takes a lot of wood to build a conventional home which means growing a lot of trees to make this possible. While there are sustainable forests in place to obtain wood from, it can be taxing on the environment as well. This is why hemp crops are being looked at as a more sustainable means of fulfilling a lot of our needs naturally. The only thing that's keeping people from growing hemp crops is the laws and regulations surrounding it. In Washington for example, hemp is still illegal to grow in large amounts. Pamela uses hemp that's been imported from Europe to build her mini houses for her organization called Highland Hemp House. Pam believes that everyone should be building this way, and that hemp is one of the most responsible materials for us to use. Hemp crops are extremely easy to grow, they require little water, they grow in all different soil types, and they grow really close together which takes up less land. The plants have a variety of uses as fabric, medicine, food, plastic replacements, body care, and even biofuels.
The material Pamela is using to make the mud for her sustainable housing is essentially the waste material from the leftover parts of the hemp plant. The sawdust-like material is mixed with limestone powder and water to make the mud that will create the walls of the tiny house designs she has created. The mini houses are created to be small on purpose, so they require less energy to run. Mini houses will also cost people less to purchase or rent and they take up less space on the ground, making more space for more housing. The mud Pamela makes able to dry nice and solid, and it creates the perfect walls of a home. Another great thing about these hemp houses is that they are very easy to build. Pamela uses herself as a prime example and says, "Anybody can do this, Grandma can do it." as she mixes up her own hemp mixture in a wheel barrel with a big trowel. If you're interested in sustainable housing ideas, this is definitely something to look into more. The more popular and in demand hemp is, chances will be better that it will become completely legal everywhere in the world.
More about this story can be found at: YouTube - National Geographic