The Irish non-profit Common Knowledge, in partnership with Margent Farms, a hemp producer based out of England, has created a micro home wrapped in hemp building materials. Referred to as the Tigìn, Common Knowledge created the structure with the intent of helping others combat growing climate concerns while also providing an escape from ‘the rent trap.’
Designed in house by Common Knowledge, the mobile domiciles have an impressive vertical face clad entirely in corrugated hemp sheets, provided by Margent Farms, with a variety of other natural materials making their way into the build, including cork insulation, pine framing and rubber linoleum flooring. Each home also covers about 215 square feet with high ceilings and plenty of window space creating a bright, lofty environment. Windows account for about 25% of wall space within the home.
While Common Knowledge will be selling these homes prebuilt for roughly $55,000 USD, the main goal is to make the blueprints open source, so anyone can build the house if they so choose. The pre-built homes will come with a stove, a sink, shower and compostable toilet, as well as a mezzanine space that can accommodate a king-sized bed. In addition, the electrical system used to power each home will be adaptable between off-grid and on-grid power sources. Proceeds from the pre-built sales will then be funneled into education and fund future workshops provided by Common Knowledge.
‘Ultimately, the plan of our Tigín project is not just to build these Tiny Homes, but to teach more than 200 people with the skills to build these or any other project themselves, whilst creating and releasing a free-to-use blueprint at the end of this year,’ said Common Knowledge founder Fionn Kidney.
A Chance to Showcase the Growing Strengths of Hemp in Construction
Historically, regulations surrounding traditional housing projects have made it difficult to employ hemp sheets as a means of exterior cladding. However, since the scale and designation of the Tigìn sets it as a mobile property, these regulations are far less strict, allowing for the use of an otherwise high-performance, ecologically sound product. Compared to other similar products made from aluminum or galvanized steel the manufacturing process for this type of material requires about 5.7 and 1.5 times less energy, respectively.
‘The [hemp] fibres sequester carbon, locking it in and stopping it releasing back into the atmosphere, resulting in a very low-carbon product. The high cellulose content (60 – 70%) of the plant makes it a very strong and durable material. The sheet is bound with a sugar-based resin made entirely from agricultural waste. Our hemp sheets are a natural alternative to corrugated steel, PVC, bitumen and cement,’ state Margent farms on their website.
It’s this use of natural materials, combined with ample lighting and conscientious design, that makes Common Knowledge hope the Tigin will be a more preferable alternative to a traditional mobile home.