Moroccan Students Build Off-Grid ‘Hemp House’ Made Almost Entirely From Hemp And Solar Panels.November 11, 2020
Sustainable, environmentally friendly ideas always amaze me. An excellent example is the student-designed Moroccan hemp eco-building. The design, entered in an international Solar Decathlon, functions without an electrical grid and uses naturally sourced materials for construction. (1)
SUNIMPLANT Hemp House Project
Dubbed the SUNIMPLANT project, the single-family dwelling was designed by Moroccan students. The contest is organized by the United States Department of Energy and Morocco’s Centre de recherche en Energie solaire et Energies nouvelles. Held biannually, the competition pits students against each other attempting to come up with the most innovative solar-powered buildings. (1)
Hemp House For Rural Design
The entry competed in the first Solar Decathlon held in Africa at Ben Guerir, Morocco. The teams of students must both design and construct their projects. Designed with rural development in mind, the hemp home also works in urban settings. The artfully designed futuristic home includes decorative panels that seem to hint at the intricate fibers of the hemp materials used. They cast intricate shadows on the exterior walls as if accentuating the importance of the sun’s power. (1)
“This ‘space-ship’ is advanced in time and reflects a turn not only in North Africa but in hemp construction, which doesn’t have comparable prototypes anywhere in the world,” says Monika Brümmer, project lead, architect and natural builder. (1)
Hemp House Uses Hemp Stalks
Brümmer, who is the Owner at Spain-based Cannabric, co-founded Adrar Nouh (2017). Along with Abdellatif Adebibe, a Moroccan expert in alternative development in the Rif region, the pair’s non-profit organization focuses on using indigenous hemp stalk for development in rural areas. It also promotes sustainable employment in High Rif, an impoverished area in Morocco. (1)
Hemp House Avoids Synthetic Materials
The competitors’ challenge involved creating a hemp composite using vegetable-based bio-resins. This avoided the use of technical or synthetic components according to Brümmer. The off-grid hemp house used a circular design with a cylindrical envelope to minimize exposure for the 24 exterior solar panels. The solar panels use optimal damping in hand with thermal phase shift to optimize interior comfort. (1)
Hemp House Hempcrete Concoction
The “hempcrete” material mixes locally sourced hemp, earth, pozzolan, and lime. The added hemp technical fibers used vacuum injection technology for production. Built at less than half the cost of its competitors, the hemp house came in at about $120,000. While these terms are all Greek to me, clearly their efforts are impressive. (1)
Features of the 90 square foot hemp house include: (1)
- An outer skin of 24 semi-flexible photovoltaic panels placed to maximize exposure to sun and light.
- Curved bio-composite panels made with hemp wool to improve the photovoltaic panel performance in an area where temperatures reached 42°–46°C (107°– 114°F) in the shade during construction.
- High-performance glass.
Due to a lack of funds, the team abandoned plans to use hemp-clay boards as part of the floor and internal partitions. Brümmer said this addition would improve performance along with a few other modifications the team could not afford. (1)
Support for the project was provided by Adrar Nouh including the architectural design, construction, and development the hemp materials. Morocco’s National School of Architecture and National School of Applied Sciences, and Germany’s Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics were also major contributors to the project. (1)