It’s been dubbed “The Lego House” – or perhaps more accurately, the “eco-Lego house.”
Currently, under construction in Sooke, it’s the first home ever to be built from of hemp blocks, which stack together very much like the classic child’s building toy.
“It’s just a big learning experience for us,” says Mark Faber, a sub-contractor on the build. “It’s the first time anybody’s ever built with this stuff, and so we’re learning something new every day. How to speed things up is the biggest thing.”
But owner Arno Keinonen doesn’t consider himself the guinea pig.
“The biofabric company itself [Just BioFiber Structural Solutions], they are the guinea pigs really, promising to do a solid good house for us.”
Solid is right. Each block is 26 centimetres or 10-and-a-half inches thick.
“It’s an invention from Calgary,” says Keinonen. “It exceeds any other insulation expectations of any kind of wall structure. The uniqueness of this ‘eco-Lego block’ is that it has hemp and lime as the main block.”
Along with a structural frame within each block, which provides the strength.
Just BioFiber construction manager Chris Aldinger says the blocks have other unique qualities.
“It has a strong fire resistance rating, and it’s very insulative, there’s very little waste. If there is any waste, it’s the hemp hurd which is biodegradable, and the structural part of the block which is re-ground and used again, to make more structural pieces.”
Keinonen’s goal is to live in a non-toxic house, with solar panels for net-zero energy bills, growing food, and using rainwater along with well water.
“There’s so many people who talk about wanting to build sustainably and build a better future, but so many people just talk about it, and we decided we wanted to do something to demonstrate how it’s possible to do something that is totally sustainable,” says Keinonen.
You can tour Keinonen’s home, along with five other energy conservation homes, on Saturday, October 14 at Sooke’s eco-home tour.