Hemp-lime composite for buildings insulation: material properties and regulatory framework

Rosa Agliata, Simone Gianoglio, Luigi Mollo


The increasing demand for indoor comfort in housing sector, together with the development of environmental awareness by people and societies, is leading to a rising need of new construction materials. Research and industries are then developing materials capable of meeting environmental and technical requirements: made from renewable sources; based on natural compounds to ensure healthy indoor environment and safe disposal; having good insulation properties, especially for energy saving. A material showing these features is the hemp-lime biocomposite, a natural-based mixture made of a lime binder matrix and shives aggregate, in different proportions. This paper wants to present an overview of the most interesting material properties for the building sector and a brief regulatory framework, in order to highlight the advantages that the use of this composite for building envelopes and internal partitions may provide.


bio-composite; biomasses; hemp-lime; energy efficiency; bio-insulation

Full Text:



Benfratello, S., Capitano, C., Peri, G., Rizzo, G., Scaccianoce, G. and Sorrentino, G. (2013) Thermal and structural properties of a hemp–lime biocomposite. Constr. Build. Mat., 48, 745-754. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2013.07.096

Bevan, R. and Woolley, T. (2008) Hemp lime construction. A guide to building with hemp lime composites. BRE Press.

Building Research Establishment (2009) Fire resistance test in accordance with BS EN 1365- 1:1999 on a Lime Technology 3x3m Tradical-Hemcrete loaded wall, Test Report 250990, UK.

Busbridge, R. and Rhydwen, R. (2010) An investigation of the thermal properties of hemp and clay monolithic walls.

Campolongo, G., Chiaravallotti, R. and Pinoni, M. (2011) La svalutazione dell'immobile per difetto dei requisiti acustici. Maggioli Editore

Cerezo V. (2005) Propriétés mécaniques, thermiques et acoustiques d’un matériau à base de particules végétales: approche éxpérimentale et modélisation théorique. Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon.

Daly, P., Ronchetti, P. and Woolley, T. (2012) Hemp Lime Bio-composite as a Building Material Irish Construction. BESRaC: Built Env. Sust. Res. Consult.

D.Lgs. 16.02.2011 n. 15 Attuazione della direttiva 2009/125/CE relativa all'istituzione di un quadro per l'elaborazione di specifiche per progettazione ecocompatibile dei prodotti connessi all'energia. GU n. 55, 08.03.11.

D.Lgs 18.07.2016 n. 141. Disposizioni integrative al D.Lgs. 04.07.2014, n. 102 sull'efficienza energetica. GU n. 172, 25.07.2016.

D.Lgs 04.07.2014, n. 102. Attuazione della direttiva 2012/27/UE sull'efficienza energetica. GU 18.07.2014, n. 165.

EU Directive 2018/844 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30.05.2018. PE/4/2018/REV/1. OJ L 156, 19.6.2018.

Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21.10.2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products. OJ L 285, 31.10.2009, p. 10–35.

Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23.4.2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources. OJ L 140, 5.6.2009.

Directive 2009/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23.4.2009 to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community.

Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19.05.2010 on the energy performance of buildings. OJ L 153, 18.06.2010, p. 13–35.

Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25.10.2012 on energy efficiency. OJ L 315, 14.11.2012.

Galan-Marin, C., Rivera-Gomez, C. and Garcia-Martinez, A. (2016) Use of natural-fiber bio-composites in construction versus traditional solutions: Operational and embodied energy assessment. Materials, 9(6), 465. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma9060465

Hussain, A., Calabria-Holley, J., Lawrence, M., Ansell, M. P., Jiang, Y., Schorr, D. and Blanchet, P. (2019) Development of novel building composites based on hemp and multi-functional silica matrix. Composites Part B: Engineering, 156, 266-273. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compositesb.2018.08.093

Legge 03.08.2013, n. 90. Disposizioni urgenti per il recepimento della Direttiva 2010/31/UE del Parlamento europeo e del Consiglio del 19 maggio 2010, sulla prestazione energetica nell'edilizia per la definizione delle procedure d'infrazione avviate dalla Commissione europea, nonché altre disposizioni in materia di coesione sociale. GU n. 181, 03.08.2013.

Liu, L., Li, H., Lazzaretto, A., Manente, G., Tong, C., Liu, Q., and Li, N. (2017) The development history and prospects of biomass-based insulation materials for buildings. Ren. Sust. Ener. Rev., 69, 912-932. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2016.11.140

Murphy, F., Pavia, S. and Walker, R. (2010) An assessment of the physical properties of lime-hemp concrete. Proceeding of the bridge and concrete research in Ireland.

Prassi di Riferimento UNI/PdR 13.0:2015 Sostenibilità ambientale nelle costruzioni - Strumenti operativi per la valutazione della sostenibilità. Inquadramento generale e principi metodologici.

Ronchetti, P. (2007) Il cemento di canapa e calce: un promettente materiale e metodo di costruzione per l’edilizia sostenibile.

Walker, R. and Pavía, S. (2014) Moisture transfer and thermal properties of hemp–lime concretes. Constr. Build. Mat., 64: 270-276. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2014.04.081

Abstract Views

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.


Cited-By (articles included in Crossref)

This journal is a Crossref Cited-by Linking member. This list shows the references that citing the article automatically, if there are. For more information about the system please visit Crossref site

1. Historic Building Energy Audit and Retrofit Simulation with Hemp-Lime Plaster—A Case Study
Rosa Agliata, Alfonso Marino, Luigi Mollo, Paolo Pariso
Sustainability  vol: 12  issue: 11  first page: 4620  year: 2020  
doi: 10.3390/su12114620

Licencia Creative Commons This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Universitat Politècnica de València

e-ISSN: 2444-9091 http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/vitruvio