Under a hot sun amid the sounds of a concrete mixer, Beate Kirmse and her husband, Bern Galvin, lined up in the backyard of their Rolling Hills home to lend a hand in the construction of their future living room.
But it wasn’t concrete coming out of the mixer. Wood chip-like shreds of hemp shiv — the core of hemp stems — were mixed with water and a lime-based binder to produce a sustainable building material called hempcrete. Layer by layer, Kirmse, Galvin and a handful of volunteers poured buckets of the dry mixture into wooden forms within wall frames. In a few days, they will reveal what is believed to be the first permitted use of hempcrete in the state.