Hemp for homes: Tucson general contractor takes on sustainable building

Micaela Machado says Industrial hemp housing is safer for families
Micaela Machado says Industrial hemp housing is safer for families(KOLD)
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 5:07 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -It may not be what leaps to mind when you think of home building, but General Contractor Micaela Machado is creating bricks out of non-toxic hemp. The stalk acts as a filler material that keeps homes cooler and is fire resistant. This ancient strain of hemp is not the same as marijuana and does not have psychotropic qualities, though it has only been legal in the U.S. since 2018. In other parts of the world, especially in Europe, hemp has been used in building for decades - even centuries.

Through Old Pueblo Hemp Co., Machado is trying to spread the word about sustainable industrial materials that are home-grown.

“The concept of farm-to-table now applies to this industry,” Machado said.

She is hoping more Southern Arizona farmers will choose to grow the low-water crop for industrial use.

“You can ‘grow’ a two thousand square foot home on four acres, in one season, which is four months,” Machado said. “This is in place of your fiberglass insulation, dry wall, or sheet rock. So you’ve got a non-toxic home, that is higher-performing and more energy efficient.”

Machado is holding a workshop in Tucson October 14th through the 16th for anyone who wants to see how hemp works in building. Registration is required.