WASHINGTON DC — Hemp building materials will return to the National Mall in Washington DC in June where US Hemp Building Association will be exhibiting in the 4th annual Innovative Housing Showcase 2024

The outdoor event June 7-9 is co-sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the International Code Council, Manufactured Housing Institute, the National Multifamily Housing Council and the Structural Building Components Association.

“The USHBA is building exposure in the building profession for hemp as a building material to be a fixture instead of a novelty. Most enjoy learning the novelty of a once-banned agricultural product,” said Ray Kaderli, USHBA President. “Consistency in our professionalism will transition novelty to mainstay,” he added. “Professional engagement year-after-year in venues like the Innovative Housing Showcase are key.”

The annual showcase features dozens of companies showcasing construction innovations, as well as federal departments such as HUD, FEMA and the US Department of Energy.

USHBA on the Mall

US Hemp Building Association will be on the Mall exhibiting materials from corporate members including hemp blocks, hemp insulation batts, HempWood, hemp composite board, lime binder and hemp hurd. 

Last year’s USHBA exhibition drew attention from HUD’s then-Secretary Marcia Fudge, who told exhibitors that she had learned about hemp-lime building materials “about 10 years ago” and thought building with hemp was “a great idea.” 

Architect Outreach

This year’s event will overlap with the AIA Conference on Architecture & Design 2024, also held in DC from June 6-8. 

“DC is known for its amazing architecture, and the architects are encouraged to participate in walking tours of the District,” said USHBA Secretary Jean Lotus. “We know we’ll see lots of architects on the National Mall and we hope to show them that regenerative, bio-based materials are an option for specifying in their projects.”

USHBA has reached out to architects by achieving approved provider status for AIA-CES continuing education, where participating association members can give accredited presentations to architects for continuing-education credits. 

Hemp at the Showcase

Hemp building materials made an appearance last year at several other exhibits apart from the industry trade association’s booth. Idaho-based Hempitecture, Inc. displayed batt fiber hemp insulation. Hempitecture’s insulation was also featured in an exhibited model home designed by Brooklyn, NY-based Cypress Community Development Corp a not-for-profit housing development company specializing in disaster recovery and workforce housing. 

Hemp was also featured in the display of Gilroy, CA-based NanoArchitech as an insulation material inside a phosphate-bonded nano-ceramic shell.

Also, during last year’s exhibit, at the national meeting of the National Association of Home Builders, former USHBA presidents Jacob Waddell and Architect Bob Escher spoke about the use of hemp-lime in sustainable, renewable housing. 

This year, expect to see more hemp building materials incorporated into the exhibits.

“We are grateful to HUD and the showcase partners for showcasing hemp and for seeing the merits of keeping hemp in the forefront,” USHBA President Kaderli said. “Recognition continues to grow as do supply chains and professional ranks. We look forward to continued engagement with Innovative Housing Showcase for years to come as hemp makes its way to being a mainstream building material.”