Grow2Build - local cultivated hemp and flax as resource for biobased building materials
The use of local cultivated hemp and flax in building materials contributes to the transformation to the biobased economy in North West Europe. Here the growing conditions for hemp and flax are favorable and cultivation and processing expertise is available. Despite the market potential isolated initiatives were not able to overcome the numerous challenges. Currently, only a small number of stakeholders remain with hemp and flax for use in technical applications other than in textiles. The Interreg IVb-project Grow2Build enhances the efficiency and competitiveness in the production and uses of hemp and flax based materials in building and construction. Main topics of Grow2Build: 1) facilitating the interregional and transnational product chain development through informing of and collaboration with relevant stakeholders; 2) optimization of resources quality through optimization of cultivation and processing techniques; 3) improvement of the performance of biobased building materials through product innovation;4) development of the demand through information, awareness and guidance. Besides the optimization of cultivation and processing techniques and improvement of hemp and flax biobased building materials, spreading knowledge and bringing together stakeholders will increase the demand for biobased building materials. Various communication tools are developed in the project including a Centre of Excellence and a mobile exhibition. During workshops and innovation network events various stakeholders discussed the chances and challenges for the use of hemp and flax biobased products, linking demand and supply. By sharing knowledge the following bottlenecks were identified: 1) biobased building and CO2 sustainable building may conflict with traditional building practice, thinking and culture; 2) Performance of (new) biobased building materials should be distinctive and science based; 3) main stream architectural design should be aware of the possibilities of biobased materials 4) national building regulations needs harmonization with surrounding regions for promotion and exchange of innovative biobased building products; 5) lack of investors.