Jerusalem Artichoke Association of Canada

Mixes were placed into forms and dried/cured for one week and then tested for compressive strength.

Use of Jerusalem Artichoke Stems as an Insulation Material

One of the unique things about Jerusalem artichoke, is that all parts of the plant can be used as food and
feed. The tuber can be eaten raw or cooked and is known for its gut healthy sugars. The stem and leaves
can be used as forage for a variety of farm animals. But there are always people who are looking for new
ways of using JA. Chris Magwood is one of those people.
Chris has turned his attention to using Jerusalem artichoke stem fibres to make panels that could be
used in home construction. Chris is on the faculty of the Endeavour Centre in Peterborough Ontario
(http://endeavourcentre.org ). The Centre occupies a unique position in the green building world as it
develops and applies new construction products that are eco-friendly. Chris admits to being “obsessed
with making the best, most energy efficient, beautiful and inspiring buildings without wrecking the
whole darn planet in the attempt.”
Using a technique that was developed using hemp as a fibre source for building /insulating material
(hempcrete) , Chris and his team have recently carried out preliminary work with Jerusalem artichoke
stems.
Here is a summary of Chris’ method, observations and conclusions:
Jerusalem artichoke stalks were chipped using a typical chipper/shredder.
 

The dried chipped stalks were less dense than the same volume of hemp or sunflower stalks. The JA was
about 30% lighter which would mean they would have a better R-value when used as a final insulation
material. Hydraulic lime and water were added in two mix ratios – lightweight mix that could be used for
filling wall cavities and ceiling insulation, and heavy mix that could be used for forming walls both to
provide insulation value and to serve as a substrate for a plaster finish. The lime and water act as a
binder and a fire retardant.


The chipped material was then sifted to remove fines. The result was a good distribution of particle size;
similar to hemp that is used to produce insulation.

Chris and his team were impressed with the product produced using JA stems and concluded that it
could be as good, or even better than hempcrete. It seems that using JA stems to make building material
could become another reason to grow Jerusalem artichoke.