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August 15, 2022

Byron shire ‘hempcrete’ building takes out award

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Michael Leung making hempcrete. (supplied)
Michael Leung making hempcrete. (supplied)

A Byron Bay company has won a prestigious award for a home that was constructed using hempcrete at Possum Creek.

The company, Balanced Earth, took out the 2017 Energy Efficient Building award from Master Builders NSW, at a ceremony in Sydney on Saturday.

The award-winning hempcrete house at Possom Creek. (supplied)
The award-winning hempcrete house at Possom Creek. (supplied)

Derived from hemp, hempcrete is one of the most thermally-efficient building materials available. As a natural building product, it sequesters carbon dioxide for the life of the building.

Created by simply combining water, sand, hemp aggregate and a lime-based binder it produces a building product with excellent thermal insulating and acoustic properties.

Hempcrete is not just an insulator – it buffers temperature and humidity, prevents damp and mould growth, making the building a comfortable healthy environment.

Balanced Earth was co-founded by award winning architect Michael Leung – previously Twiggy Forrest’s personal architect.

When building his new home in Byron Bay, his partner, Tiffany Gee was adamant that there were not going to be any toxic materials used following the death of her father to mesothelioma (a cancer caused through exposure to asbestos).

Dream team

The winning team: Ture Schmidt, James Cornell, Michael Leung, Luke Wrencher (supplied)
The winning team: Ture Schmidt, James Cornell, Michael Leung, Luke Wrencher

‘This is when the dream team was put together,’ Mr Leung said.

‘My mates Ture and Luke, now co-founders of Balanced Earth, suggested we use hempcrete and recycled timber construction. They ticked all of Tiffany’s boxes: Hemp is a product that is sourced locally from the Hunter Valley, is rendered with non-toxic lime and clay, and has excellent thermal insulating properties.’

‘It took us three months to design and build and looks incredible. Then we realised this was the future of sustainable housing in Australia. Sure, solar panels are great, but when you can get rid of toxic and energy intensive materials, you know you’re onto a winner.’


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  1. Hi, I’m building a hemphouse nr Dorrigo and am looking for info on sand for rendering.Can you advise what you did please?Thanks,Ken, 66578255

  2. Hi, l am.coming to Byron area first week of july to do some research for a hempcrete build near portland victoria toward the end of this year. If you are able to give me some introductions to hemp home owners or builders l would greatly appreciate it.
    I am hoping to network design and building detail. I have done a weekend workshop with Klara from hemp masonry at “Ceres” in victoria but obviously need lots more info before we begin the build !


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