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  • Melinda Murphy

3D printed hemp houses

An Australian company is 3D-printing hemp bioplastic walls, floors and roofs to be used in the construction of eco-friendly prefabricated homes.

The carbon-neutral homes will take only weeks to construct and will store massive amounts of CO2 in their walls.

The company, Mirreco, hopes their 3D-printed hemp polymer panels will become the material of choice for residential and commercial builders around the world.

Not only is hemp bioplastic easier to work with than concrete, it’s way more environmentally friendly.

The hemp biomass used to make it sequesters carbon dioxide when its growing and stores it “forever” when its turned into plastic.

And unlike concrete, hemp is a renewable resource. There is simply not enough sand in the world to sustain the growing demand for conventional concrete, Business Insider explains.

“The specific type of sand needed for concrete is often harvested from riverbeds, which destroys ecosystems and threatens the biodiversity of plants, fish, and animals,” The Mind Unleashed notes.

Mirreco says their hemp plastic panels are “structurally sound, easy to produce, and provide superior thermal performance.”

The company has teamed up with an architecture firm to create digital prototypes of the homes it will soon “print.”

Once the panels are printed, the homes can be put together in a matter of weeks, as opposed to the typical months or years required to build traditional houses.

The walls, roof and floors will be made of Mirreco’s patented hemp polymer, while the windows will incorporate cutting-edge technology that converts UV light passing through into electricity.

Meanwhile, the Dutch town of Bosrijk will soon become home to the world’s first inhabitable 3D-printed houses.

Project Milestone consists of five 3D-printed sustainable Stonehenge-shaped houses, with residents expected to move in next year.

The project has been described by developers as a “game changer” which will “stimulate 3D building” worldwide.

“With this technology we can do things we couldn’t do before,” Eindhoven University of Technology professor Theo Salet says. “We can create shapes that normally can hardly be made.”

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