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The Future of Carbon-Absorbing Paint – Q&A With Patrick Folkes | Graphenstone UK

The Future of Carbon-Absorbing Paint – Q&A With Patrick Folkes | Graphenstone UK
13 September 2022

Graphenstone is the most sustainably certified paint brand in the world. We spoke to Patrick Folkes, the hedge fund and smoothie entrepreneur who has brought the high-tech paint to the UK market.


In What Ways Does Using Graphenstone Paint Help to Contribute Towards a Building's Sustainability Credentials?

Graphenstone paints offer meaningful benefits to sustainability targets and corporate ESG goals. Certified with one of the world’s lowest profiles in CO2(e) our Paints feature a significant CO2 absorption benefit, during the curing process. Our products comply with Building Standards such as BREEAM, WELL & LEED and hold one of the widest ranges of respected and recognised harm-free certifications on the market, such as Cradle to Cradle Gold, Global Green Tag, and Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort Gold. These certifications ensure the complete confidence of our clients via the most rigorous, holistic and independent analysis of our products.

Based on natural materials, trusted for millennia, our ingredients are sustainable minerals such as lime, chalk, clay and silicate. This is paired with Graphene technology, made from pure inert carbon and the strongest material on earth. It was discovered at Manchester University in 2004 by two scientists, both of who are now Nobel prize winners, due to the extraordinary potential behind this remarkable, clean-tech advancement.
Our combination of the oldest, most trusted minerals like lime and silicate, together with 21st-century Graphene technology, sets our range apart from the competition. Ecological and sustainable yet extremely durable, our clean-tech ranges create safe and healthy environments, with no compromise on performance. Graphenstone’s range contains no plastics, man-made chemicals or microbeads, with only Trace VOCs (under 0.1 per cent).

And, in complete contrast to the intense toxicity of typical synthetic paints, Graphenstone's modern, sustainable option offers strength, durability and an unsurpassed richly pigmented finish. These purifying paints also actively remove CO2 and air-borne toxins.
Graphenstone is now the most independently certified, sustainable and ecological mineral paints brand in the world. 

Can you tell us about some interesting case studies where Graphenstone has been used?

Graphenstone paints have been widely used across all the key sectors of heritage, commercial and private dwellings. A few examples: Facebook UK are using our products across all new buildings (including their new HQ at Brock St), as well as refurbishments. The products used, Graphenstone "GCS", hold Cradle to Cradle Gold certification, are highly breathable and washable and both contractor and customer have confirmed complete satisfaction with the products and have extended their use across their real estate holdings.

The same products were used at Spetchley Park, a large listed stately home in Worcestershire, in multiple colour ways, some of which we matched to old paint colours already present. We now have a supply agreement with Eden Project, Cornwall and are soon launching a collaboration with Ashmolean Museum Oxford, with a limited range of magnificent co-branded colours. 


"A 15-litre tub of Ambient Pro+ will absorb approx. 5kg of CO2 in the curing phase. The CO2 is permanently locked into the product and this absorption process virtually offsets the CO2 released during the lime processing phase. In fact, our certified CO2(e) footprint is just 0.5Kg CO2(e) per litre, one of the lowest in the paints marketplace. Surely this is the king of healthy, sustainable paints."

3. What Would You Say Are Building Owners' Main Barriers to Decarbonisation at the Moment?

This is a big topic! To achieve net-zero carbon in new homes, using the "fabric first" design approach (this involves maximising the performance of the components and materials that make up the building fabric itself, before considering the use of mechanical or electrical building services systems) is evidently key to reducing the initial need for energy consumption. Neither the siting and orientation of buildings, their built form and layout, nor the role of the external environment in enhancing the energy and environmental performance of a building, have received sufficient attention in the current discussions.  

Other barriers to entry are the gaps in policy and regulation for delivering net zero carbon homes, at the pre-construction stage, and also the additional capital costs of building net zero carbon homes, combined with the lack of financial incentives and funding, to assist with these typically higher costs. At the construction stage, there is currently a lack of net zero carbon skills and capacity within the supply chain. This can lead to a lowering of construction quality, making delivery more challenging and increasing performance gaps.

Another significant barrier faced by housebuilders is procuring net zero carbon products, at scale, within the supply chain. This has a direct impact on their ability to build net zero carbon homes. Post-construction, the impact of consumer behaviour, the constraints within energy systems and the challenge of delivering or upgrading necessary infrastructure, are identified as potential barriers. 

Does Graphenstone Paint Have an Effect on Air Quality?

Synthetic paints can have a highly toxic impact on indoor air quality, an incredibly important issue for the health of all inhabitants, of both commercial and private projects. Graphenstone paints have incredibly low levels of VOCs - under 1g per litre (naturally occurring) and referred to as "Trace VOCs", so they’re clean!

Our lime-based ranges also offer CO2 Absorption benefits, as the paint cures in the early weeks post application. The Lime Cycle is a recognised natural process. When lime paints cure after painting, the Calcium Hydroxide (liquid lime) dries and absorbs significant volumes of CO2 as it returns to Calcium Carbonate (limestone) on your walls and ceilings. They’re also anti-bacterial, absorbing smells and nothing can grow on them (fungus, moulds etc) due to their very high natural pH. 

Ambient Pro+, our flagship paint, also absorbs CO2 in curing. However, its photocatalytic capabilities offer an air-purification benefit in addition, removing toxins like NOx, SOx and other harmful gasses, year after year, post application. With no plastics and only trace VOC levels, under 1g per litre, this paint is perhaps unmatched with its sustainable, healthy and ecological profile. A 15-litre tub of Ambient Pro+ will absorb approx. 5kg of CO2 in the curing phase. The CO2 is permanently locked into the product and this absorption process virtually offsets the CO2 released during the lime processing phase. In fact, our certified CO2(e) footprint is just 0.5Kg CO2(e) per litre, one of the lowest in the paints marketplace. Surely this is the king of healthy, sustainable paints. 

Picture: a photograph of Patrick Folkes. Image Credit: Graphenstone

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 13 September 2022


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