The Cape Cod Hemp House is the first building in North America constructed with high-
yield, spray applied hemplime insulation. Situated in Harwichport, the home is
surrounded by quintessential cape-style cottages with simple gabled roofs and shingle
cladding. Behind the shingles, the house demonstrates a future free of petroleum-based
fuels and materials. Through the pioneering use of hemplime insulation, along with
other measures, petroleum derived insulations were eliminated and the total embodied
carbon of the home was reduced to 50% of a conventionally built equal.
The house is configured in two parallel gables. The southern wing contains the main
bedrooms, each having views of Nantucket Sound. Open living on the first floor extends
to an outdoor deck with arbor. A seasonal sunshade limits summer heat gain, but allows
plenty of winter light and passive heating. The two south-facing rooftops enable enough
photovoltaic area to supply projected electrical needs for net-zero operation.
12” hemplime walls and 16” hemplime roofs sequester over 21,000kg of CO2
emissions. The house was completed with a French low-water / high-yield spray
application process, enabling completion in a fraction of the time of hand placed
methods. Lime plasters from Canada finish the inside of the house. The plaster and
hemplime regulate humidity and temperature swings in the house, are naturally fire and
pest resistant, and eliminate the use of paints and preservatives in conventional building
that would otherwise pollute the interior air.
The hemplime was left exposed on a basement wall, and the lime plaster was sculpted
into art on the entry wall, to show how the house fights climate change and pioneers a
future for more durable, beautiful, holistic homes.