House made of hemp to test durability of unorthodox construction material

The small house on the left is made with traditional construction materials. The house on the right uses the same design, but it is built with "hempcrete," a construction material made from hemp.
Finn Harrison
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FARGO — An experiment is underway in Fargo to see how a house made of hemp holds up compared to traditional construction materials. It is a small brown house being built near 10th Street and Third Avenue North, near downtown Fargo.

The house will have a second-floor loft, and typical home amenities. It has a wooden frame and a foot-thick layer of hempcrete insulating the walls. Hempcrete is made from the inner core of hemp plants.

Grassroots Development is building this alongside a home of the same design, made with traditional materials. They want to see how the two homes compare in terms of durability. The organization believes the hempcrete home will be more resistant to things like mold.

"Almost anyone can do it. You just need to know how to work with the material and so most of the time, every build that I'm on, I've had people that have never touched the material learn how to do it, and it's very easy," explained Matt Marino, president of Homeland Hempcrete.

The two homes will be put on Airbnb when construction is finished.

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