A Healthy Home: PA Hemp House
From the 1970s to the 1990s, many Midwest cities lost important industries like steel production and manufacturing.
For decades, small cities such as New Castle, PA have struggled to stabilize their shrinking populations and revitalize their economies.
Now cities are reimagining themselves.
In New Castle, DON Enterprises renovates blighted homes, builds new homes and is revolutionizing how they build and renovate affordable housing. With Masters of Architecture student Meryl Smith, Parsons Healthy Materials Lab Co-Directors Alison Mears and Jonsara Ruth have developed architectural and construction plans that will be used to prototype the healthy housing of the future.
Most building products use toxic chemicals that pollute our environment and create unhealthier homes. Radical change is needed. We can install healthier products and build new walls with hemplime--a sustainable material that can be used to either retrofit or construct new affordable housing. Hemplime is naturally fire retardant to help protect the wooden structural frame, it provides a high level of insulation to improve energy efficiency, and provides a carbon sink that absorbs CO2 to help slow climate change.
In addition to being a housing leader, DON Services is exploring the agricultural viability of industrial hemp production. Pennsylvania is taking a leadership role in growing, harvesting, and processing hemp. They see the economic potential of hemp fiber for regional farmers and a general, local economic revitalization.
Working with a team that includes hemplime expert Alex Sparrow from UK Hempcrete and Cameron McIntosh from Americhanvre, the project creates a healthy home that can be shared with housing developers across the country.
This is the future of housing.