Wittenberg man creates "green" concrete alternative

Published: May. 17, 2020 at 2:18 AM CDT
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These days, people are turning to hemp to make all sorts of new products, and providing farmers a new use for their fields.

In Wittenberg, Zach Popp is using hemp to build things...big things!

"It's mold resistant, it's fire resistant, it's pest resistant, it's rot resistant," Popp explained.

About ten years ago, Popp discovered a little mold in his daughter's bedroom.

It prompted him to start looking into new ideas for building materials.

Hempcrete was a concept being discussed in other countries already, so he worked to take the idea one step further.

"No one likes delays. I thought, there has to be a way to precast blocks or panels that people could have shipped to the job site and ready to use," he said.

Popp used his patent-pending Z panels to create what he calls, "The World's Greenest Greenhouse."

"As a culture, we hear a lot about getting to net zero with carbon. And, this product isn't even neutral, it's negative. Meaning, that over the course of its lifespan, producing hempcrete actually sequesters more carbon than it produces," he said.

And the price?

"I'm targeting a price of about $60 a Z panel, so people might think, ok. 'How does that equate to a traditional home cost?' If you're to build a home, all-in-all, it will increase the home price by about 10 percent," according to Popp.

For more information on the Z panels, check out: