Halifax couple constructs eco-friendly home
A Halifax couple has undertaken the task of building their own home and using eco-friendly materials to do it.
Kate Varsava and Noel Taussig’s new home looks like any other house under construction, but the materials used to build these walls are far from typical.
“We seized the opportunity to build with the material we were most attracted to,” says Varsava.
That material is called hempcrete and is primarily made from hemp.
“I expected to see something the consistency of concrete and if I get this right, you'll see that it's actually very dry,” says Taussig.
“It's mixed with hydrated lime, water, and a small amount of clay,” says Varsava.
It took about 175 bales of hemp to build their one-and-half story home.
“A lot of it was about the health of the building for me and for the environment. I've been really pleasantly surprised by the design potential,” says Taussig.
Besides being environmentally friendly, both Varsava and Taussig say hempcrete has a lot of extra benefits.
“The material itself is mold and mildew resistant, it's fire resistant, it's heat insulating, it's sound insulating, and as a material itself, it's carbon neutral,” says Varsava.
The building process is no easy feat, the foundation was laid in August and it took about five weeks to put up all the walls. However, this couple says it's rewarding to see their plans become reality.
“The building itself was designed for passive solar gain, with big south-facing windows, long overhangs, and dark walls and floors, the building is designed to absorb as much heat from the sun as possible and retain it,” says Varsava.
The pair says they're hoping others will follow their example.
“I would like to see the building industry become cleaner for builders, and for people who live in the actual buildings, and for the environment and there's clear potential for that to happen,” says Taussig.
With some hard work, the couple hopes their home will be complete by spring.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Priya Sam