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Ketchum Hemp Building Company Receives National Recognition

By Rachel Cohen | Boise Public Radio

Hempitecture and its co-founders Matthew Mead and Tommy Gibbons made Forbes Magazine’s annual"30 Under 30 list,"honoring individuals 30 years or younger who have started companies or made other significant achievements.

Gibbons said there's a sense of validation that comes with making the list.

“It was great legitimacy for what we’re doing. I think a lot of people didn't understand the business we were trying to create,” he said.

Hempitecture helps builders incorporate materials like hempcrete, which is insulation made with hemp, into building construction and renovation. Gibbons said they see hempcrete as a sustainable building material of the future.

“Not only is it carbon negative from the growth of the hemp plant before cultivation, but it also works as a passive wall to be able to passively heat and cool your home.”

Building projects take a lot of materials and energy, Gibbons said, and using the natural fiber can offset some of those factors. And as the industrial hemp market grows in the U.S., there’s more research being done on ways to incorporate it into more parts of the building process. 

Hemp cultivation was federally legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill, but it remains illegal here in Idaho. Gibbons said they are able to operate here despite that. 

“The plants don’t look similar when you grow them for building applications versus when you’re growing for medicinal CBD flower.”

But, if hemp were legalized in the state, Gibbons said, it would help them expand the business here in Idaho because they would have a local material source.

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Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

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