South Africa To Open World’s Tallest Hemp Building

The 12-storey hotel will be in Cape Town.

By Chriselle Moraes on
22nd May 2023

Cape Town will soon be home to the world’s tallest building constructed using industrial hemp.

Industrial hemp blocks derived from cannabis plants are carbon negative, meaning they absorb more emissions than are created during their production.

The walls of the 54-room, 12-storey hemp hotel, due to be completed in June, comprise hempcrete blocks supported by a concrete and cement structure.

“The plant absorbs the carbon, it gets put into a block and is then stored in a building for 50 years or longer,” Boshoff Muller, director of Afrimat Hemp, told local media.

Afrimat Hemp, which supplied the hemp bricks, is a subsidiary of the South African construction group Afrimat.The industrial hemp for the project was imported from Britain following a South African ban on local production last year. The government has since restarted issuing permits for its cultivation.

Afrimat Hemp is now preparing to produce its first blocks made only with South African hemp, but cost remains an issue. “Hemp is 20% more expensive to build with than conventional materials," said Afrimat Hemp’s carbon consultant, Wihan Bekker.

It has been suggested that carbon credits could help make industrial hemp financially more viable.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has made developing the country’s hemp and cannabis sector an economic priority as he believes it has the potential to create more than 130,000 jobs.


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