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The tallest hemp hotel in the world will debut in South Africa in June


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The world’s tallest skyscraper built of industrial hemp will soon open its doors in South Africa, with 12 stories, a stunning view of the towering Table Mountain in Cape Town, and a small ecological footprint.

The 54-room Hemp Hotel is receiving finishing touches in central Cape Town and is scheduled to be finished in June.

The building’s walls are made of “hempcrete” blocks made from cannabis plant material, which are held up by a framework made of cement and concrete.

Increasingly more people are using hemp bricks in construction projects because of its insulating, fire-resistant, and environmentally friendly qualities.

The blocks, which are mostly used in Europe for thermal repair of old buildings, are carbon negative, which means that making them removes more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than it adds.

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The bricks for the hotel were made by the South African construction company Afrimat’s subsidiary Afrimat Hemp, according to Boshoff Muller, director of Afrimat Hemp. “The plant absorbs the carbon, gets put into a block, and is then stored into a building for 50 years or longer,” he says.

In a brick factory outside of Cape Town, Muller pats a bag of mulch and remarks, “What you see here is a whole bag full of carbon, quite literally.” The bricks are made by combining hemp hurds, water, and lime.

Since South Africa had previously forbidden domestic production of industrial hemp until last year, when the government began issuing cultivation permits, the industrial hemp utilized for the Hemp Hotel had to be imported from Britain.

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The following article is available: South African brewers eye cannabis

According to President Cyril Ramaphosa, growing the hemp and cannabis industry in the nation should be a top economic goal because it may lead to the creation of more than 130,000 employment.

Carbon credit

The first blocks constructed exclusively from South African hemp will soon be produced by Afrimat Hemp.

The 52-year-old architect of the Hemp Hotel believes that this will revolutionize the construction of hemp structures in this region of the world.

“It shouldn’t just be a high-end product,” asserts Wolf, whose company is involved in several South African affordable housing projects.

Cost is still a concern, though.

According to Wihan Bekker, a carbon consultant for Afrimat Hemp, “Hemp is 20% more expensive to build with” than traditional materials.

The company, however, sees “huge opportunities” for its green bricks as the world scrambles to reduce carbon emissions, according to Bekker.

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Hempcrete blocks may be more financially feasible if corporations purchase carbon credits, which are permits typically associated with the planting of trees to protect tropical rainforests.

“We can provide funding for forests or for someone to live in a hemp home. The same basic idea applies, claims Bekker.

According to research, a 40 square meter (430 square foot) hemp-built house has a three tons smaller carbon footprint than a traditional building.

The Hemp Hotel is somewhat of a lighthouse project, according to Muller.

It demonstrates that hemp can be used in the construction industry.

According to Steve Allin, director of the International Hemp Building Association in Ireland, Hemp Hotel is the “tallest building to incorporate hemp-based materials in the world.”

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