We're funded! But that doesn't mean our campaign is over. All additional funding will go to our hemp building research + prototyping. The project at Idaho BaseCamp is just one exciting aspect of what is going on at Hempitecture. We want to innovate hemp building materials here in the United States, for the United States. Please consider backing us so we can gain a sure footing as an emerging company.
Hemp building is a time tested earth building strategy that has been applied in many parts of the world. Recognized for it's incredible insulating ability, ease of construction, and it's natural, organic nature, hemp construction has become the premier sustainable building strategy for select architects across the world. It is a simple technique, requiring only the core fiber of the industrial hemp plant, a mixture of natural minerals, and water. When combined, a material called hempcrete is created.
This material is non-toxic, carbon-negative, energy-efficient, adding up to what is quite possibly the most sustainable building material on the planet. This material is then cast around structural framing, creating a naturally breathable wall system.
Unfortunately there are very few hemp buildings in the United States as hemp building techniques are rarely applied due to the unavailability of building grade hemp. In fact, every hemp building in the US is a private residence: there is no building in the US constructed from hemp that others can use, enjoy, and experience the comfort of a hemp building. We will change that with this project.
Breaking ground on a historic and incredibly unique hemp building project requires the perfect balance between location, vision, and people. Located in the High Mountain Desert Country of the Lost River Valley, this location imposes dramatic natural forces: snow, high winds, earthquakes, and intense cold a few months out the year. When the 30 mile access road isn't covered by avalanches, the trip from Sun Valley to Idaho BaseCamp takes nearly 2.5 hours.
So why build here and why with hemp? We believe this building can serve as a new architype of sustainability for the United States. By building with hemp in this unforgiving yet unbelievable mountain landscape, we're showing that you can build with hemp anywhere, and even more, this hemp building will provide the shelter & facilities that will allow Idaho BaseCamp to host yoga retreats, environmental camps, artist residencies, outdoors adventure seekers, and those seeking retreat in the Idaho back country 12 months out of the year.
Idaho BaseCamp's philosophy of living in balance with nature fits Hempitecture's vision of building in a progressively sustainable manner. With our visions aligned, we felt that there is no better place to complete our first project that will serve as the canvas for future hemp building innovation. Idaho BaseCamp's commission with Hempitecture has brought together a team of many individuals of diverse professional backgrounds all working towards a common goal.
Hempitecture is being supported in this design+build process by a team of professionals as well as countless other individuals who are passionate about seeing the Idaho BaseCamp dream come true. Meet some of the core members of our Design+Build Team.
- Dale Bates: Principle of Living Architecture, a design firm focused on progressive sustainability for the last 35 years. Dale is overseeing the design process for this building.
- Craig Maxwell P.E: Principle of Maxwell Structural Design Studio. Craig brings his in-depth experience of structural engineering to this project to ensure the structural stability of the Movement Studio
- Mat Gershater: Founder of Idaho BaseCamp and Mountain Adventure Tours. Mat is a true visionary and it is his vision for Idaho BaseCamp that has brought together this team.
- Billy Mann: Founder of Sagebrush Solar. Billy is an expert in photovoltaics and renewable energy. He is applying his knowledge to allow the Movement Studio to generate as much renewable energy as possible.
- Brett Dueter: Founder of Enlighten Builders. Brett's background in Idaho construction is what will drive the overall construction of the Movement Studio
- Whitney McNees: Program Director of Idaho BaseCamp. Whitney's passion and involvement with IBC has allowed it to flourish, enriching the lives of countless others.
- Joey Cardella: Permaculture expert and Idaho BaseCamp facilities director. Joey has long been a part of the IBC family and his background in permaculture is being utilized to make the site as sustainable as possible.
To join this team, we have traveled from our homes in the northeast to Sun Valley, Idaho. Since arriving in Sun Valley, we have been fully engaged in the design process that will allow this building to be constructed. We have completed the master plan layout, a solar site survey of the Idaho BaseCamp property, a permaculture restoration plan, and the beginning of the final design of this historic building.
Below is a rendering of the first public use hemp building in the United States.
We need architecture for a new generation, a generation where issues of climate change and the environment have mattered like never before. We simply cannot afford building as usual. Buildings in the US are responsible for 44.6% of CO2 emissions into our atmosphere and 90% of that energy comes from non-renewable sources.
Our solution to this building epidemic is to use the rapidly renewable industrial hemp fiber as a building material. Because this material is highly insulating, it can reduce the overall energy consumption of the building. Additionally, because hemp has the ability to take an incredible amount of CO2 out of our atmosphere during its growth, it can lend to carbon negative and carbon neutral materials. This means that the material itself sequesters more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere then the production of the material displaces.
Currently, there is incredible momentum in bringing Industrial Hemp back to America. This past August, the Congressional Research Service declared Industrial Hemp an Agricultural Commodity, the first time since prohibition of hemp. Most importantly, the newly passed Farm Bill has a provision, H.R. 525, allowing for the cultivation and research of industrial hemp by qualified US bodies such as universities or independent scientists. This provision will ultimately pave the way for full scale legislation. Many states recognize that hemp is a fibrous plant with an estimated 25,000 uses, ultimately helping bolster the economy with a new raw material feedstock.
Did you know that the United States is the worlds largest consumer and importer of hemp-based products, yet we are the only industrialized nation on this earth that bans its production. Also, did you know that George Washington grew hemp for its fiber?
Our mission transcends just hemp building. It is about restoring the American Farm Industry, strengthening the economy, and lowering the impact of the built environment. It's about looking to our past for the answers to our future. It is about a healthier, cleaner planet.
The Hempitecture concept was created in 2013 as a research project at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. The initial thesis held that earth building strategies have provided shelter to humans since the beginning of time, and that modern building strategies have only been employed for a short time in the context of human civilization and development. Thus, given the increasingly large environmental impact of contemporary buildings, we must revisit earth building strategies.
Hempitecture was selected as a finalist in four entrepreneurship exhibitions and took first place in the Energy and Sustainability division of the New York State Business Plan Competition, Finger Lakes Region. During these exhibitions, Hempitecture was able to network extensively, lending to the creation of our advisory team that serves as the backbone to Hempitecture's development. This formative period of development ultimately shaped the direction and vision of Hempitecture as both an Innovation and Design startup. We have many ideas for the advancement of hemp building strategies, but it must start with a single project.
In summer of 2013, we received a phone call from Idaho BaseCamp. They shared their vision of sustainable development for their property and felt that a hemp building would fit their vision of living in balance with nature. Immediately, we knew that this was the ideal place with passionate people to construct the first Hempitecture structure in the US. We have since been commissioned by IBC to work on the Master Plan and the design on this first building that will function as a Movement Studio.
With this Kickstarter Campaign, we intend to educate, motivate, and advocate for the application of Hemp Building in the United States. Without awareness, little impact can be made. Importantly, this Kickstarter Campaign will expand the initial building budget, allowing us to incorporate hempcrete in the walls, floors, and roof.
We understand the value of hard earned money and we want you to rest assured that if you are a contributor to this campaign, your contribution will be accounted for and used to further this project.
Because building grade industrial hemp must be imported from overseas, the cost of the material is significantly higher than it would be if it were grown domestically. This ultimately increases the building costs, extending past the Idaho BaseCamp budget. To ensure that this building is constructed with high quality, building grade hemp, we need to raise $25,000.
- Cost of Industrial Hemp + Freight: $13,000
- Industrial Pan Mixer suited for Hempcrete: $6,000
- Reusable, recycled formwork: $1,500
- Design Process Materials & Documents: $1,000
- Permitting Costs: $500 - $2000
- Estimated Perk Costs: $2,500
If you contribute to this campaign, we will keep you in the loop of all the progress we have made thanks to your help. You'll be able to see this building come to life as we document the journey. Also, as a contributor to our campaign, you'll receive some awesome rewards!
Overfunding is extremely helpful!!
We mentioned that this project is part of a much larger vision. In brief, this vision is creating a proprietary hempcrete binding matrix that is sourced from the United States and sold for the US building market. Any and all extra funds will go to research, development, and prototyping this concept. We have already made significant strides in this direction, it's just a matter of having the financial backing.
In addition to thank you emails, handwritten notes, Hempitecture stickers, being permanently immortalized on both our website and on our building at Idaho BaseCamp, and even coming out to Idaho BaseCamp to learn hemp construction, here are just some of the fun perks you can receive!
Left to right: Screen Print on hemp paper, recycled notebook, refillable water bottle, a Hemp t-shirt, and an original, one of a kind piece of screen printed art: a 20 color study of a hemp stalk.
Risks and challenges
Because Hemp is still Federally illegal to cultivate, there sometimes can be difficulties when importing significant amounts of hemp fiber. The American misconception of what Hemp is runs deep, and this could mean a potential US Customs & Border hold up. While this may seem like a large hurdle, it can actually be easily cleared with the correct documentation from the supplier. We have worked with our supplier to ensure that everything is accurately declared with all the proper paperwork, thus we're confident that we won't have this challenge.
Another challenge is working with a material that many of the professionals who are guiding us have not worked with previously. In light of this concern, we have assembled a small group of international professionals who we will be able to consult with, free of charge, to ensure that the building is constructed properly. As Hempitecture, we are the main arterial of information and knowledge on Hemp building best practices. We have gone to great lengths to compile all the information necessary to ensure that this building project happens smoothly and efficiently, of course thanks to your contribution!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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