Best Hemp Homes 2024 Contest

US Hemp Building Association members at the Members Online Event June 15 voted for the top Hemp House built in the past year.

Eleven hemp structures built in 2023-2024 were submitted to the contest, which was divided into smaller structures under 900 sq. feet and larger homes above that size.

The winning house was not the most expensive or glamorous structure in the contest. Instead, a modest 1,484 sq. foot duplex covered with vinyl siding took the top prize. The Lower Sioux Hemp Group in Morton, MN won first place with “The Raft,” two 1 bed/1 bath housing units.

Crew leader Danny Desjarlais shared the inspiring story of the project which won the hearts and votes of trade association members.

The Lower Sioux’s first hempcrete building project started on an abandoned foundation on the reservation – and walls were completed in just 17 days, Desjarlais said.

“We didn’t have any blueprints or architect or engineer,” Desjarlais explained. Using the Ereasy spray-cast system on the outer 12-inch walls, a team of five spray-applied 1,200 cu. feet of Minnesota-grown hemp locally grown and from Waconia, MN-based Hemp Acres

Inside between the two units, the team hand-cast a 10-inch divider wall. The team saved time by spraying against a vapor-permeable house wrap attached onto outer walls, “which worked perfectly,” Desjarlais said.

Using local community members kept labor costs down and eliminated the expense of hiring subcontractors. The project was sided with vinyl siding, to look like the other homes on the reservation, Desjarlais said.

“We didn’t go with all of the high-end fixtures and all of the high-end finishes, but we weren’t building for that reason,” Desjarlais said. “We’re building these houses so our community members can have homes to live in.”

The total price for the project was $200,000, including buying equipment and supplies, or around $171 per sq. ft.

“A powerful part of the story is just the attainable price for people in our community, and then you add all of the great things about hemp and it just makes it that much more cool, I guess,” he added.