Tiny Hemp House: Washington State Grandmother Joins Tiny House Movement With Hemp Construction Materials
McMansions are so out.
Perhaps it was a result of the forced cutbacks following the banking meltdown in 2008, but unless you’re a television preacher or a newly minted rock star, ostentatious, tacky, giant houses are no longer on everyone’s wish list.
In fact, quite the opposite is the case. It has been dubbed the tiny house movement, and it has people all over the U.S. building homes of minimal square footage using scavenged materials and even shipping containers. Part of the driving force behind the movement is of course economic: if you can build a house that is semi-mobile for a few thousand dollars why on earth would you not choose that over a 30-year mortgage on a house in the suburbs?
But it also an environmental movement. Witness Washington state’s Pam Bosch. The 62-year-old grandmother has made headlines by constructing her first tiny home using a unique material: hemp.
And the great thing about her story is not only that she is a grandmother–she’s no homebuilder, or at least she wasn’t. She is an artist, a person who could see that the way we are living these days isn’t sustainable. Her solution was to get around the archaic U.S. ban on growing hemp–marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousing–by importing it fmor the U.K. The benefits, she says, are obvious.
“We should have as many buildings as we can that are built out of a renewable resource that sequesters carbon, that is healthy and if it were legal would be very affordable,” she said in an interview with Collective Evolution. “It’s an agricultural waste product we’re using.”
But waste not, want not, they say, and Bosch’s home takes that notion to new heights. The material worked out amazingly well for making plaster for the home, according to Bosch. And hemp is a CO2 sink, so it doubles the environmental effect of not using new materials or chopping down trees. But you have to choose the right time of year, and the right climate to use it if you are going to build a home like hers.
“You want conditions like we’re starting to see now–overcast, high humidity–because you don’t want it to dry out too fast,” she said.
Because there is no such thing as a building permit for a hemp house–even today, hemp is still on the DEA’s Schedule 1 list of the most dangerous drugs, right up there with heroin and LSD, despite the fact that the most dangerous thing it can be used for is rope–Bosch was forced in a way to join the tiny house movement.
Boasting a modest 120 square feet, her hemp cottage is something she hopes will be part of a future wave of like-minded home builders who seek to change the planet one hemp house at a time.
“I’m investing in this because I believe in it and believe someone’s got to do it to make it legal,” she said.