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The Hemp Building Institute Launches to Make Hemp Building Materials Mainstream

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

The Hemp Building Institute sets a course for mainstreaming hemp building materials

What: The Hemp Building Institute (HBI) is launched by former US Hemp Building Association (USHBA) President and Executive Director, Jacob Waddell.

When: The HBI formally launches January 2023.

How: Jacob Waddell continues to drive forward the creation of hemp building codes and standards, to help promote the competitive advantages of hemp building materials, and to educate the public on their uses, by founding the HBI.

Relevance: After leading the success and growth of the USHBA over the last two years including the successful acceptance of the International Residential Code for Hemp-Lime (Hempcrete) Construction, Jacob Waddell launches the Hemp Building Institute to continue driving the industry forward.

For more information: Visit HempBuildingInstitute.Org

TENNESSEE: After successfully spearheading the approval of hemp+lime building materials into the US residential building code, the director of the newly launched Hemp Building Institute (HBI) officially announced plans to move the hemp building industry forward.

As executive director of the US Hemp Building Association (USHBA), HBI founder and President, Jacob Waddell led the creation of the International Residential Code (IRC) appendix for Hemp-Lime (Hempcrete) Construction and four ASTM standards that are preparing for ballot. During his two years leading the USHBA, he strengthened the reputation of the trade organization and the hemp building industry as a whole.

The growing of industrial hemp was prohibited for decades in the United States until the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Meanwhile, in Europe it has been used for building materials for 30 years.

The International Residential Code committee, part of the International Code Council (ICC), approved Hemp-lime wall infill for inclusion in the 2024 IRC at their fall 2022 meeting in Louisville, KY.

The new appendix will help building departments permit hemp-lime for wall insulation in one story structures in areas of low seismic activity without additional engineering. This new code saves time and costs for builders wishing to use hemp+lime in their projects.

“I am very excited to start this new chapter in the development of the hemp building industry. The potential growth of this industry is incredible and the HBI will do everything we can to accelerate its development with a focus on science and education.” Jacob Waddell explains, “Cooperation has been and remains the key to success and advancement of this industry.”

The HBI is a 501c3 non-profit organization focused on driving the hemp building industry forward with projects focused on the creation of codes and standards, the performance of necessary testing for the industry, and educating the public on the uses of hemp building materials.

The initial projects for the HBI include performing R-Value testing following a proposed ASTM standard for hempcrete samples made by Americhanvre; leading the finalization of the IRC appendix for Hemp-lime (Hempcrete) Construction; coordinating the creation of the submission of Hemp-lime to the International Building Code (IBC) and supporting efforts in Kenya to test hemp-lime construction and establish building codes there.

What they’re saying:

“Jacob organized dozens of international experts who contributed hundreds of volunteer hours to produce an expert code document that was quickly approved by the IRC committee,” said Jean Lotus, publisher of “His expertise in natural building science will help US hemp building catch up with European technology. Hemp is a wonderful tool to create the zero-carbon solutions to reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of the construction industry. HBI can help bring hemp building materials into the mainstream.”

"Furthering education and research about hemp building in the United States is among the most important developments for hemp use in the United States. Sustainable building practices can help in so many areas that need housing and other buildings", said Mandi Kerr, Executive Director of Friends of Hemp (FOH), the 501(c)(3) affiliated with Global Hemp Association. Friends of Hemp looks forward to working with the Hemp Building Institute (HBI) on issues of mutual interest.

“Jacob Waddell led the inclusion of hemp building materials to be accepted in US building codes as the director of the USHBA, with a clear and focussed attention to detail and an understanding of how these descriptions need to be broadened and enlarged into the future. We at the International Hemp Building Association look forward to working with him and others in Europe and elsewhere to create what could become the first internationally accepted range of standards for this important group of materials.” Steve Allin, Director of the International Hemp Building Association

About the HBI: The Hemp Building Institute's mission is to facilitate the creation of codes and standards, to help promote the competitive advantages of hemp building materials, and to educate the public on their uses.

Contact: Jacob Waddell President of the HBI, 561-339-2638

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