SUSTAINABLE CONCRETE in the UK has probably never been as 'groovy' as it has become with the introduction of Lhoist's traditional alternative to nonstructural concrete - Tradical Hemcrete.
Launched earlier this year, the material is made up of a combination of air-lime based binders and the chopped woody core of the industrial hemp plant.
Hemcrete is the product of combining this powder binder with an aggregate material and water, allowing it to be sprayed, placed or pumped into or onto forms or moulds, similar to traditional concrete.
The major performance difference is that Hemcrete does not have the structural capacity of load bearing concretes.
However, it has a low density; high thermal and acoustic insulation; excellent water vapour permeability; high exural strength; and high carbon capture, providing one of the best value materials for low impact, sustainable construction technology (see box).
Until now, it has mostly been used as a render or insulating layer in wall construction and or screeding in new build or renovations in multi-storey reinforced concrete buildings in France.
These include the Ofce of the Department of Environment and Housing in Cleremont Ferrand and the Diocese House of Chalons & Champagne as well as private buildings.
In the UK, the product has been used in Suffolk's Adnams Brewery Distribution Warehouse and Lime Technology's head of ce in Oxfordshire, with many more projects coming on line later in the year.