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, two other UK based hempcrete contractors (SHALCO and Hempcrete Solutions). 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.
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.