Australia - A hemp and rammed earth home Beyond its pared back street façade, Michelle and Chris’ home is impressive. This hempcrete and rammed earth home takes bold steps in environmentally sustainable family living. The modern design incorporates clean lines, generous and smart spaces, high ceilings, double glazing and classy furnishings. Though first and foremost a family dwelling, it’s also an 8 Star home designed with environmentally responsible living firmly in mind. In the living area, rammed earth walls are warm and inviting. Architect Steffen Welsche says rammed earth has very good acoustic qualities and easily absorbs heat. The material can be locally sourced from Victorian quarries. As you walk through, you can’t miss the unusual textures of the exposed hemp (hempcrete) wall. . The fibrous material has many similar characteristics to rammed earth. The material also becomes stronger as it progressively stores more carbon dioxide. As well as being made from sustainable materials, another unusual characteristic of the house is that it is built on a shared block. Homeowners Michelle and Chris, bought a block with Michelle’s parents and built two house on it. Both houses are centered around internal courtyards, providing the houses with much needed light to maximise passive solar design and water saving technologies. Another surprise is the relatively low cost of building with sustainable materials like hempcrete and rammed earth. The build went 10% over budget, proving sustainable materials to be no more costly than highly insulated conventional walls.