This article originally appeared in HempBuild Magazine.
A 12-unit residential project in Massachusetts created from hemp-lime tip-up panels will be the largest hempcrete dwelling in the United States when it begins construction this fall.
The Hillside Center for Sustainable Living in Newburyport will be adding six solar-paneled, two-unit hempcrete “Tea Houses” to the 4.5-acre complex’s South Rise.
Developers David Hall and architect Keith Moskow are the second generation of a longtime construction family in Newburyport, founded by their late fathers.
The Newburyport project is an entire sustainable living community built on a remediated brownfield industrial site that formerly contained 3,000 tons of toxic ash, which was all removed.
The community, which will eventually have 48 rental units, uses recycled rainwater, permaculture gardening and small low-rise multi-family units that meet LEED Platinum and Passive House standards. The community also has a 10-unit “uber affordable” YWCA building with a shared kitchen.
“The group of residents are just wonderful, wonderful people,” owner David Hall told HempBuildMag. “It ranges from parents of younger kids to retired couples with grandchildren in the area. And if you live here and you renew in one- or two-year increments, your rent won’t increase.”
Each tea house has a two-bedroom unit on the first floor and a one-bedroom unit with a large outdoor patio on the second floor. Each also has a storage loft with a pull-down staircase “which can serve as a crash pad for a son or daughter or grandchildren,” Hall said. The units are a walkable half-mile from the city center and the T-line station to downtown Boston.
Hillside already has 12 fully occupied units built with tip-up slabs, but those were made with concrete and foam insulation.
The developers wanted a greener solution and, after consulting with Northampton, Massachusetts-based HempStone LLC, came up with hemp-lime.
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