Tucson general contractor takes on sustainable construction

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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – It might not be what springs to mind when you think of home construction, but general contractor Micaela Machado makes bricks from non-toxic hemp. The stalk acts as a fill material that keeps homes cooler and is fireproof. This ancient strain of cannabis is Not the same as Marijuana and has no psychotropic properties, although it has only been legal in the US since 2018. In other parts of the world, particularly Europe, hemp has been used in construction for decades—even centuries.

Through Old Pueblo Hemp Co., Machado is attempting to popularize sustainable homegrown industrial materials.

“The concept of farm-to-table now applies to this industry,” Machado said.

She hopes more farmers in southern Arizona will choose to grow the low-water crop for industrial use.

“You can ‘grow’ a 2,000 square foot house on four acres in one season, which is four months,” Machado said. “This is in place of your fiberglass insulation, drywall or flagstone. So you have a pollution-free home that is more powerful and energy efficient.”

Machado is hosting a workshop October 14-16 in Tucson for anyone interested in seeing how hemp works in construction. Registration is required.

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