Many of us love wooden furniture and wooden floors. Often, the most commonly used wood for this is oak. Oak is sturdy, strong, and beautiful. Unfortunately, making products from it requires us to chop down trees that take decades to grow back. In 2019, a factory opened in Kentucky that creates “wood” out of hemp. The results speak for themselves. (1)
Kentucky’s First Hempwood Factory
Hempwood is made of hemp fibers and soy-based adhesives that bind them all together. It is the result of more than a decade of hard work and determination. Greg Wilson began researching and developing using hemp to make a wood alternative back in 2005. Thirteen years later, he created the Fibonacci Hempwood Factory, which gained notoriety in 2019. The Factory now produces its product using 40,000 acres of hemp.
Currently, there are about 78 different species of oak trees that are at risk of going extinct. This is the direct result of logging and deforestation. Wilson realized this and was determined to come up with a more sustainable alternative. This is how he landed on hemp.
Hemp grows 100 times faster than oak. Farmers can harvest and regrow it in just six months. What’s even better, it is about 20 times tougher than wood. Wilson’s designed Hempwood to look and feel just like oak but be much more sustainable for the planet.
“We look forward to being a productive member of Kentucky’s agricultural and manufacturing communities, and the enormous opportunities of hempwood as a renewable alternative to oak,” he said.
Helping The Kentucky Hemp Industry
The state of Kentucky is happy that Hempwood exists. The hemp industry is one that they are trying to grow in the state, and this company is definitely helping. The commissioner of Kentucky agriculture Ryan Quarles, for one, was glad to see them taking the right steps toward a varied industry with many uses for the plant.
“When I became commissioner of agriculture, I said I wanted to make Kentucky the epicenter of the hemp industry in the United States,” Quarles said. “The fact that Greg Wilson and Fibonacci LLC are choosing Kentucky to locate the first HempWood operation in the United States is a testament to the work we’ve done to strategically position Kentucky’s hemp industry.”
Many others also praised the new factory. It is not just working to create an environmentally more sustainable future, but an economic one, too. The factory created jobs, invested $6 million into the state economy, and helps to support local farmers. Really, there’s not much more that people can ask for.
Uses For Hempwood
On their website, the company states many uses for wood. These include flooring, countertops, accent walls, and furniture. They say that “anything wood can do, hemp can do better”. (2)
“Widely considered to be the premier wood substitute with the smallest ecological footprint of any lumber alternative, HempWood® is perfect for use as anything that wood can be used for, like construction materials, flooring, and furniture. Mass production and order fulfillment began in the third quarter of 2019. We use a variety of eco-friendly hemp materials to create sustainable building supplies. Most of our products are non-toxic hemp composite woods that can be used for a wide variety of interior design and general construction.”
Hempwood is renewable, sustainable, and stronger than oak. It is carbon 2 compliant and grows very quickly, especially when comparing it to the 50 to 100 years growing time for oak trees. Hempwood, by all accounts, is part of the answer to a more sustainable future.