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The rebirth of a forgotten: hemp, the new star of eco-materials

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Hemp is a plant well known by man since the origins, once abundantly cultivated in Provence, to the point of giving its name to the famous Cannebière in Marseille. Almost disappeared in the twentieth century, hemp has made a strong comeback in construction in recent years, thanks to its excellent insulating properties.


The term “ecomaterials” is one of the many neologisms emerging from the (late) wave of sustainable development. It refers to the natural materials used in construction, known for their very low carbon footprint. If the word is new, the materials in question (wood, earth, straw, linen, wool, etc.) have very often been used since the dawn of time by man, before being eclipsed by the industrial revolution and the "whole concrete ". Re-emerged from history in recent years thanks to a series of strong legislative measures, these “ecomaterials” are now trendy. Hemp, which has almost disappeared from the French countryside, is one of those resuscitated.

The advantages of success: economical and ecological

If the use of hemp by humans dates back to prehistoric times, its peak was in the 19th century, with intensive use in stationery and textiles. Subsequently competed with cotton and synthetic petroleum derivatives, hemp almost disappeared from the French countryside in the following century. But in recent decades, the rise in oil prices and a (late) awareness of the degradation of the global ecosystem, have been enough to bring this annual plant up to date.

The moral (and legal…) need to increase the energy performance of homes has highlighted one of the many advantages of hemp: it is an excellent thermal insulator. Used in the form of concrete or wool, its fibers provide remarkable thermal and acoustic insulation of buildings, interior and exterior. Easy to produce, resistant and fast growing, hemp is economical and ecological. These strategic assets have revitalized the production of this plant in recent years, particularly in Champagne-Ardenne and in the Pays de la Loire region.

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