Highlights From the Green Building Alliance Workshop

In the ever-evolving landscape of the green building industry, PAHIC proudly acknowledges the contributions of our board members, Lori Daytner, Cameron McIntosh, and Drew Oberholtzer. We were honored to have them share their insights and experience at the event hosted by Green Building Alliance. The complete original blog post by Green Building Alliance can be found here.

PAHIC is committed to promoting sustainable and healthier options within the construction realm. In the fall of 2023, over 60 individuals congregated at the Roundhouse for a workshop hosted by Green Building Alliance, supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA). Notably, board member Lori Daytner, an advocate for hemp, shared her experiences working with hemp farmers and spearheading a groundbreaking hemp construction project.

Cameron McIntosh, a recognized industry expert from Americhanvre, enlightened participants on hemp insights, including a perfected spray-applied methodology for hempcrete. Dr. Ali Memari, director of the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center at Penn State University, provided scholarly perspectives on hemp as a building material. Michael Roth, Director of Conservation and Innovation at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, shared his enthusiasm for hemp’s triple-bottom-line benefits.

Coexist Build, represented by Ana Konopitskaya and Drew Oberholtzer, showcased their innovative hemp-based products, including insulating Hemp Block and bio-compostable hemp-based plastic. Alison Mears and Jonsara Ruth, co-founders of the Healthy Materials Lab, contributed insights into hemp building materials’ impact on human health.

Key points of the Workshop:

Hemp as a Hard-Working Crop: Lori Daytner emphasized hemp’s versatility, presenting it as a rotation crop that heals soil. With various applications, hemp has become a valuable resource for paper, textiles, biomass feedstock, building materials, and more.

Economic Development and Bridging Divides: Michael Roth highlighted hemp’s potential for farmers to diversify revenue, contributing to improved human and animal health, climate, and economic development.

Green Building Product: The workshop delved into hempcrete, a non-structural bio-composite insulation material. Cameron McIntosh emphasized its fire resistance and non-toxic nature, making it a viable option for both residential and commercial construction.

Pennsylvania’s Leadership in Hemp Research: The workshop showcased Pennsylvania’s role as a leader in hemp research and innovation, benefiting from a combination of research, innovation, and application.

Remaining Questions and Challenges: The workshop raised questions about hemp’s availability for commercial projects, with ongoing exploration. A key challenge identified was the lack of a regional decortication facility, hindering full-scale processing in Pennsylvania.

PAHIC remains dedicated to monitoring hemp’s development in the green building industry on regional and global scales and seeks to encourage investment in the industry here in the Commonwealth.

For a deeper dive into the event and additional hemp-related resources, please visit the original blog post by Green Building Alliance here.

We eagerly anticipate further exploration and learning together!