Hempitecture | Tommy Gibbons | Ketchum, Idaho

Happy to talk about any Hemp building topics or direction the conversation goes.


I call my listeners Green Future Growers. I had a guest on the east side of Montana, and one of the things he talked about the importance of having a market ahead of time. And then my husband and I have always been interested in building a hemp house, or straw bale house but hempcrete would be even better.

Yeah it totally would and it’s exciting all the different applications of hemp being used across the United States. For that eastern Montana farmer what he said was spot on.

You gotta have an idea of where the plants are gonna end up and who is going to buy it and using it for what purpose before you even start farming.

Mike said you have to interview these guys and here is Tommy Gibbons to talk to us today from Hempitecture! Part of me feels like I have been waiting for this for so long, I thought this would pass back in the 1990’s and I talked to Tara Caton last year at the Rodale Institute and I was like what is going on in our country finally?

Tell us a little about yourself.

There’s so much to tell about our business

people in the 90s who have been fighting this battle, it’s been an accumulative effort and truly the future is ahead of us and that’s what we look towards


We are Hempitecture

Ketchum Idaho

sun valley ski resort


built the first commercial hemp concrete

we make building with hemp easy

  • consult on different projects
  • train people how to build with materials
  • sell building materials
  • sell
  • come to your job site and professionally install your hemp insulation products

Just hempcrete and hemp wool now but who knows where it’s gonna go!


really exciting!

Maybe it was 2014. I remember going to this business thing. Our Senator Jon Tester, is actually one of those Eastern Montana farmers. He wanted to pass a hemp bill, but he said the problem was the police not being able to tell the difference between a hemp plant and a cannabis plant and I thought that was lame because for me, I always think that any cannabis farmer is not going to let any hemp seeds near their cannabis so they are going to regulate it themselves in a way. But that is sort of off topic.

common interest in

cultivate grow

Youre just allowed to transport

people didn’t feel they could tell the difference between marijuana flower passing through the state and hemp flowers. 


threshold 05


send out for testing

Idaho police didn’t feel like they should pay, or didn’t have the sources in place


There is all this confusion about what is hemp and what is marijuana, but does come down to the THC content.

The hemp we use for building that looks nothing like smokable

0% THC content

stems or fibers

So we don’t bump too much into that problem, luckily now things are legal, the cultivation and transportation is legal


in some states the battle persists and it was very important if it was 

So where do you get your hemp then from local people in Idaho?

No we don’t. They are still not growing in Idaho.

our current supplier s out of quebec

We’ve had suppliers more local like

kentucky in the US

until this year

more growers

and need to processors

inner core, needs to be chopped up, then it needs to be bagged

2 phases to the materials

use them for

grow them

process them

inner wooden core of the industrial

  • hemp hurd
  • hemp core

bags are mixed with a lime binder

hemp crete material

takes the shape of your wall

thermal and moisture regulator

plant to



stage might be there

a lot of growers are growing for cbd and you can’t use the left over biomass from the plant for building at least at this current time

CBD is a short bushy plant

industrial hemp for building is a very fast bamboo like cultivars of hemp

IT’s really controlled by how you sow the seeds if you give it room it will branch out wide it will grow out to flower if you plant them more intensely it will grow the long fiber

long stem

You might know more then me.

It’s the Tara Caton down at the Rodale Institute in Pennsilvania. So if you don’t know they have been running the test plot comparing organic practices side by side vs conventional methods. She said the good thing for them, the first year they used it for a cover crop. The rotation was soy beans and where the conventional crop was growing the soy beans couldn’t take the wet season that came that spring but the soy beans that were grown where the hemp had the long tap root were able to go to market.

collect a lot of biomass about that then me

get someone from the rodale institute at our summit

again this year in 2020

we can include them next time

researching regenerative sustainable farming

formalities and things that stand in the way

plant that is part of human history

longer then this government has

so that was a penalized wall system


constructed in that nature

hemp building

20-30 years in France and the UK even Australia

new to the US

unfamiliarity with growing hemp

commercial hemp build in 2014

largest hempcrete structure

bellingham Washington

highland hemp house

4 more project



first house

spray hempcrete

increase labor

ski cabin near us in Idaho

paneled where we poured the hemp

summit we had in Oct

attended by all thees international

networked and collaborated

huge step forward for the people in our industry

hemp wool


fiber rather then the shiv

would with polyester


fiber bat insulation

mineral wool


carbon negative

environmentally friendly

direct competitor

more traditional

hemp crete


building strategy

no vapor barrier

other breathable finishes

from inside

running electrical concrete

aren’t ready to make that step

hemp produce

disperse that heat at night

down jacket

long lasting plant based material

noteworthy quality

it is

sourced from Quebec as well

american distributor for this company

take up the volume

west of the US

a lot of our projects

shipping more then the material

slight premium

cheapest fiberglas

as hemp sources gets more abundant

our goal is to make this extremely cost competitive


it was a carcinogen up until 2011


anyone who has installed fiberglass

can cause rashing 

not made from a regenerative s


no carbon

annually regrowing hemp

taking that volume of massive carbon

coming from a renewable resource

that’s what excites people

lowest carbon impact possible

home sickens

sick house syndrome new materials can potentially make them sick

looking to try something new

building materials

effect on their environment

different directions

grew up in NJ

making examples of themselves

doing work that they want

change that they want to see in society

small part

types of building materials

more sustainable options


consumer choices

career choices

think about the transition to different diets

meat based to plant based

purchased in mass in my demographic

uses electricity

we don’t want coal

we care what turns on our lights



less impactful source

upbringing and knowledge

generations that raised us

human growth and wellbeing of Th. planet


Getting involved in a stem program

open minded

millennials working on organic farms

home builder workshop

mentioned it as a

launched a Kickstarter

first commercial hemp building project


growth tag

great for hempitecture

los angelos

venice beach ca

well renowned

designed by

go onsite

put in the hemp wool


shining example of it in use

contractor training session

in our offices


make hemp insulation

train people up until this point


austin texas

thermal breaking

conversations every day with people who are building their dream house

hemp crete


if you are designing you can use whatever materials

how are these materials gonna fit together

more depth to their wall

insulation value per inch is less

how hot or cold


thermal bridging

when you build a monolith wall

thermal mass

able to regulate the heat more effectively

standard per inch

deep walls

6-12 inches

that is set by code based on R value

hemp wool doesn’t have that problem

put it between a 4inch s

one funny anecdote

in that school in A

town is called Asbestos


got bigger


they’ve kind of shut down production there


sponsored the creating of a hemp building

now this town

re-birthed this town




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About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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