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GENERALMoroccan Students Build Off-Grid ‘Hemp House’ Made Almost Entirely From Hemp And Solar Panels

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A sphere of solar panels passively cools the earthen home while generating maximum electricity

Moroccan architecture students have designed a unique solar hemp house capable of keeping off-grid desert dwellers cool in even the most extreme temperatures.

The all-natural hempcrete walls are surrounded by a sphere of solar panels, whose shape serves a dual purpose: shading the home, while maximizing the amount of electricity generated by capturing sunlight from all angles.

The 1000-square-foot earthen home was created as part of a competition sponsored by the U.S. and Moroccan energy departments called the Solar Decathalon.

The challenge was to create a hemp composite using vegetable-based bio-resins, avoiding technical or synthetic components, and to power the home using nothing but solar energy.

The walls – a mixture of hemp, earth, volcanic ash and lime – are surrounded by a spherical hemp-wool shell, which house 24 flexible photovoltaic panels.

The hemp wool panels shade the home, while protecting the backside of the solar panels from temperatures that are often over 115 degrees in the shade. The curve of the panels allows them to capture sunlight from all angles, no matter what the season or time of day.

“The cylindrical envelope of the circular building … gives interior comfort through optimal damping and thermal phase shift, and osmosis of the components in the hempcrete formulation,” Monika Brümmer, a German architect and natural builder who led the project, told Hemp Today.

“This ‘space-ship’ is advanced in time and reflects a turn not only in North Africa but in hemp construction, which doesn’t have comparable prototypes anywhere in the world.”

The home was built for $120,000, around half the cost of the other solar homes in the contest.

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