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Kelowna, British Columbia, Self-Storage Project Aims to 'Eat Carbon' With Hemp-Block Walls

Ulmus Development Ltd. is building a five-story self-storage facility in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, with hemp-based interior walls that’ll pull carbon from the air over the next 50 to 100 years. Construction of EcoLock Self Storage, the company’s first project within this industry, is expected to begin this summer, with completion slated for fall 2023, according to the source.

The Just BioFibre blocks are produced in Alberta, Canada, from hemp that sequesters about 6.5 kilograms of carbon from the plant. Each block measures 8-by-10-by-21 inches. “Most of it is from the leftover stalk from the industrial hemp plant that has carbon in it,” said Ulmus CEO Don Redden. “That’s the material that surrounds the structural component inside. Then it’s mixed with some lime and some secret sauce that holds it together. Over time, that mixture ossifies [petrifies] and it brings in more carbon over a 50- to 100-year period.”

Because Just BioFibre blocks have been predominately used in residential construction, EcoLock’s exterior walls will be composed of industry standard metal panels with R40 insulation, the source reported.

The hemp-block walls are just one of several eco-friendly components planned for the 112,000-square-foot building at the southwest corner of Bay Avenue and Ellis Street. With a goal of creating a zero-carbon footprint, the building will have rooftop solar panels that’ll generate 200,000 kilowatt hours per year or 105% of the expected electrical needs for the structure, according to Redden. It’ll also contain a “variable refrigerant flow” heating and cooling system. In addition, the elevator will be equipped with a generator that creates electricity, which can be stored in batteries.

All the project’s green initiatives combined will translate to a 5% increase in construction costs over that of a typical self-storage building, according to the source. Redden predicts the energy savings will be repaid in eight years.

If successful, Redden hopes the business model for this self-storage project will take off in North America and serve as an educational resource for others seeking eco-friendly development ideas. “There’s a lot of other technologies that we use so, when you walk in, there will be little placards that describe how the building actually functions so maybe people can go, ‘OK, that’s interesting. Maybe I can use that idea in my home or try that in my business,’” he said. “It’s got to inform, educate and perform.”

Founded in 1962 and based in Vancouver, Canada, Ulmus has developed more than $1.25 billion in real estate projects including high-rise residential, commercial and institutional.

Source: Infotel.com, This Kelowna Mini-Storage Project Will Eat Carbon With Its Walls Made Out of Hemp

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