The BEACON project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government, and the primary aim is to undertake company-relevant innovation and R&D in relation to biorefining and the low carbon economy. One of our interests is in plants as building products. This week, together with Neighbourhood Construction, we have been working on creating samples of breathable plasters containing plant materials, in order to investigate their thermal properties and their capacity to buffer moisture.
Traditional methods such as lime plastering are often the preserve of buildings deemed to be of historical importance, yet it seems to have been forgotten that more modest properties such as the ubiquitous Victorian terrace were also built with solid walls, lime plaster and a need to ‘breathe’. The designers and craftsmen who built them were creating a carefully balanced internal climate to ensure occupant comfort, avoidance of damp & protection of the fabric of the building and its structural integrity.
Last week David attended a workshop on energy-retrofitting the traditional hygrothermal envelope. This included preparation, mixing and casting bio-aggregate mixture of hemp and lime onto existing masonry. The workshop, run by Neighbourhood Construction, taught the installation though kinaesthetic learning, a process that worked very well in understanding all the elements of delivering a project like this for a potential client.