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Hemp Cribs: Zero Carbon Hemp Home in Cambridgeshire

04 Jul 2020
Hemp Cribs: Zero Carbon Hemp Home in Cambridgeshire

Hemp farmers and architects erected this zero carbon home in Cambridgeshire, England, from pre-fabricated hemp panels in just two days.

The eco-friendly home offers hope for sustainable housing, and reduces the amounts of energy consumed and carbon emitted during construction.

Photograph: Oskar Proctor


Named the 'Flat House' - this home is built from the same plant that grows in the hemp fields that surround it.

Located on Margent Farm, a 53-acre farming facility in rural Cambridgeshire, the Flat House was designed by London-based studio Practice Architecture. 

The project aims to prove that the hemp-based building method could be applied to a much larger scale of eco-friendly construction, by making use of hemp's ability to sequester carbon.

Photograph: Oskar Proctor


Inside of the house, the hempcrete panels are left exposed to create warm and neutral-toned textured surfaces throughout the living spaces. The use of several timber elements like the doors, staircase balustrade, and support columns compliment the earthy tones and warm textures.

The natural materials help to regulate the moisture in the air, resisting damp and mould and leading to a healthier environment and air quality.

Photograph: Oskar Proctor


The house is also off-grid, with heating and power provided by a biomass boiler and a system of solar-energy panels on the roof.

The architects are currently awaiting paperwork which confirms that the home's design qualifies it as zero-carbon.

According to Practice Architecture, the zero-carbon measure is typically assessed by the lifetime carbon cost of a building, rather than the embodied carbon levels at the time of construction.

Photograph: Oskar Proctor


Whilst the studio would favour use of the latter benchmark by the industry, they're more concerned with the materials used to build Flat House than the zero-carbon designation itself.

"The radical thing about the building is not so much it's zero-carbon status but more the use of naturally grown materials, the designing out of plastics wherever possible and it's very low embodied carbon when compared to conventional construction"

Photograph: Oskar Proctor


The building is comprised of a series of linked spaces that transition from a large open single glazed hot house to a double height living space and then into two stories of sleeping accommodation.


The walls are built from prefabricated timber-framed cassettes that are filled with a mulch of hemp, lime and water known as hempcrete. Once the mulch was dry they were erected into thick, highly insulating walls that also hold the building up.

Photograph: Oskar Proctor


The exterior is covered in corrugated hemp-fibre panels, which at first glance look like the cement cladding typical of farm sheds.  They're actually made of fibres from the outer coating of hemp stalks combined with a sugar-based resin taken from agricultural waste on the farm.


Helena - September 17 2021

How much does this cost to build?

Craig Windscheffel - July 19 2020

I’d like to know approximately how much it costs….
I’d like to build one or two or three in Cornwall

David - July 06 2020

Impressive. What was the build cost?

Kathryn Tubb-Wallace - July 06 2020

I am keen to talk to Practice Architecture about converting our farm yard into sustainable business units.

Ellie - July 05 2020

thats my dream house😍🤯 Goals!💚💚

Rona Topaz - July 05 2020

Thanks for this. This is hopefully the future of sustainable construction.

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