My name is Graham Durrant and I have been building and designing things for over thirty years. I have always had a strong interest in environmental issues and studied a BSc Hons degree in Conservation Management in my twenties. This gave me a firm understanding of the natural world and how man’s actions affect it.
Whilst living in France in 2006 I came across hempcrete and thought it seemed like a pretty good way to build. Keen to find out more about green building materials generally I returned to the UK and studied for an MSc Architecture Degree in Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies. During my studies I became very interested in how buildings regulate temperature and deal with moisture as they are crucial factors in occupant comfort. I selected a wide variety of conventional and sustainable building techniques and explored them holding three main questions in mind:
As a result of this research I concluded that hempcrete and strawbale were the best sustainable building materials based on their lack of toxicity, their low-carbon impact and their ability to regulate temperature and manage moisture. I chose to champion hempcrete, rather than straw-bale, as I saw hempcrete as a more versatile material with lots of potential for building renovation as well as new-build. In addition hempcrete has become an industrialised process capable of blending in with more conventional building practices and so has the potential to become a widespread building material in the future.
I began working for Myles Yallop of The Limecrete Company in 2012 and became Operations Manager working exclusively on hempcrete projects of all kinds. In 2015 I set up my own hempcrete company in Norfolk and continued to work with Myles. I was able then to work with, and provide technical support for, other hempcrete companies in the UK and Europe. During this time I have become the English speaking agent for the French built 3CM hempcrete spray machine. I have successfully installed hundreds of cubic metres of hempcrete into buildings with this machine since 2012. I have recently been invited to become a co-director of HempTank, the nascent hemp policy think tank.
The interest in hempcrete is growing year on year and each new hempcrete building is a good advertisement for the next. I have a long list of happy clients behind me and I never fail to be impressed with this most marvellous material.