Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry


PV protection

Carlo Gavazzi now provides a complete solution for control, protection and monitoring of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) plants.

The Smart String Box bundles Carlo Gavazzi surge arrestors, power supply and EOS array master module, string controller, environmental module and I/0, together with a third-party isolator device, all packaged in an IP66 rated enclosure. It is ideally suited to installations ranging from 10kW-120kW and manages up to 250A of total string current.

Smart String Box systems can be fused on both the negative and positive side. New Carlo-Gavazzi DSF surge arrestors embody a special internal backup that ensures they remain safe at the end of varistor life, thus ensuring the safest transient overvoltage protection for combiner boxes.

Carlo Gavazzi’s recently introduced Eos-Array controller is flexible, easily scalable and is composed of a series of modular elements to provide efficient local and remote control of a solar plant, targeting small to medium or high power installations. With no auxiliary bus wiring, the system is simple to install and straightforward to expand. Further cost saving is provided by the integrated string fuse protection, and modularity also improves overall system reliability. String efficiency and inverter performance are monitored, enabling operators to rapidly isolate faults, failures and inefficiencies as soon as they occur.

Built-in independent monitoring provides basic or comprehensive plant control and monitoring on DC and AC sides. The expandable system gathers accurate and dependable data to help maintain an efficient revenue stream from PV installations. Controllers promptly advise users of events such as blown fuses, PV module disconnection or inverter failure, to enable rapid maintenance measures to be carried out, significantly reducing service time and missed production costs. There is no monthly charge for the data, which is stored locally to give users full control.

Monitoring systems also provide users with information including calculations of DC-to-AC conversion efficiencies and Balance of System. In addition, solar irradiation, wind speed and PV temperature are recorded and available for analysis. Data are displayed in graphical and analytical format and in real time.

Alarms can be set for reduced efficiency and interrupted production, with notifications sent via email or SMS according to the type of alarm. Anti-theft monitoring can also be added to the Smart String Box, notifying users as soon as a panel is removed.

Components and modules of the Smart String Box are fully compliant with UK and international photovoltaic electrical regulations.


Award for Environmental Technology

Daikin Altherma Flex Type air-to-water heat pump – heat pump for multiple occupancy buildings – has won the Innovation Award for Environmental Technology at the Environment and Energy Awards.

The award was presented at a ceremony on Tuesday 24th May at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, as part of Sustainability Live.

Daikin Altherma Flex Type beat other short-listed contenders, including Environmental Innovations, Enval, Sainsbury’s and Aeolus Technologies, to scoop the award and was among a record number of entries to this year’s competition.

Peter Verkempynck, managing director of Daikin UK said: “The Daikin Altherma Flex Type heat pump is a genuinely innovative product, capable of providing highly energy efficient heating and hot water for multiple occupancy buildings, from domestic apartments and university accommodation, to schools and even prisons. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daikin Europe, Daikin UK is delighted that the Environment and Energy Award judges have recognised this innovation and the contribution that the Daikin Altherma Flex Type can make to low carbon buildings of the future.”

The Daikin Altherma Flex Type heat pump is the first system to allow independent control and billing of heating and hot water systems within each individual dwelling, with the whole building system powered from community-based outdoor units, each of which can serve up to ten individual dwellings.

This product has remarkable efficiency with COPs of up to 3.5, resulting in a 27% reduction in primary energy use, 59% fewer CO2 emissions and 33% lower operating costs compared with an installation of standard efficiency individual gas boilers. It also provides optional cooling through heat recovery technology, a feature that will become more of a necessity as buildings become more air tight.

One of the key features of the Daikin Altherma Flex Type is that it is a high temperature heat pump system, and therefore ideal for retrofitting in apartment buildings. As it needs no immersion heater to provide water flow temperatures of up to 80°C, it can be used with existing heat emitters such as radiators. Since the pipework connection between outdoor and indoor units is made by small diameter refrigerant piping, only a small sized utility shaft is needed to accommodate the system’s connections, making it suitable for most retrofit situations.


Wise with water

The Drainwave has obtained the Waterwise Marque.

Managing director Martin O’ Donnell said: “We’re delighted that Waterwise has recognised the water-saving opportunities that can be created by the installation of a Drainwave”.

Waterwise is the leading authority on water efficiency in the UK. The Waterwise Marque is awarded annually to products which reduce water wastage or raise the awareness of water efficiency.

Jacob Tompkins, managing director of Waterwise, said: “Like many innovations the Drainwave is a simple yet ingenious product that solves the common problem of domestic drain and sewer blockage without the need for jetting or flushing, as such it saves water, time and money.”

The Drainwave collects waste water from building use and combines this with water from the toilet to increase the flush volume down sewage pipes. The Drainwave stores the water temporarily and once it has reached a predetermined capacity (9.5 litres) automatically tips, which sends the water surging through the pipes. The device is stored underground near the building and contains only one moving part, so it requires little or no maintenance. This is a patented adaptation of the flushing methods originally used by Victorian engineers to keep the main sewers clean.

A report carried out by the Water Research Council (WRC) on behalf of the manufacturers of Drainwave, recognises the product as a solution to dry or blocked drains.

The Drainwave also eliminates the problem of back flooding after a reflux valve has been fitted. The valve prevents water backing up the pipe from downstream. Reflux valves are however causing blockages upstream of where they are installed. Waste water from buildings which contains solids is prevented from passing through the flap valve due to low flows and low water velocities. The configuration of the Drainwave will ensure reflux valves stop back flooding while the Drainwave will prevent upstream blockages. The WRC now recommends that a Drainwave be installed in conjunction with a reflux valve to stop flooding.

The device has received praise from influential architects such as Andrew Best of Buro Happold. “The Drainwave is a remarkably unglamorous product destined to spend its life buried below the ground, but it offered a very ingenious and simple solution to avoiding problems of blocked drains,” he said.


Picture: New-build installation with water efficient house fixtures.

‘Check compliance’ suppliers warned

Foremans Relocatable Building Systems, supplier of recycled and refurbished modular buildings, is urging construction clients to check all modular building suppliers comply with Building Regulations Part L2A 2010 requirements.

Kevin Jones, managing director of Foremans, said: “It has become apparent that some modular building suppliers are struggling to comply with the revised Building Regulations Part L2A and also that not all are understanding the requirement to provide Energy Performance Certificates on completion of every project.

“All buildings supplied by Foremans are fully L2A 2010 compliant. However, as an industry, there is clearly work to do to raise standards and ensure all projects, regardless of supplier, are delivered in line with the new legislation.

“While we are using a recycled building structure, we are achieving consistently high test results for air tightness. This is because of how we enhance our modular buildings – installing new cladding, new window systems with high U-values, high frequency lighting and all new M&E services on every project.”

Foremans is also advising construction clients to ensure that they are comparing tenders for modular buildings that are like for like and that they check suppliers’ track record of previous Part L 2010 compliant buildings. This will help them avoid being hit by unforeseen costs post-completion and potential time delays for Building Regulations compliance.

Pre-owned modular buildings are a highly cost-effective alternative to new build – an important benefit in the current economic climate where budgets are restricted. The recycling and refurbishment of relocatable buildings is also one of the most sustainable methods of construction – helping to reduce carbon emissions, waste sent to landfill and improving a building’s carbon footprint.


Waste reduction

A new initiative created by Gradient Flat Roofing minimises the quantity of waste created at every stage of the design and installation process, while helping to limit the resulting CO2 emissions.

It starts at the design stage where the insulation boards are set out from the roof’s high points. This means that square cutting is usually only required on the thinnest boards which minimises the volume of any off-cuts. Gradient also advises customers on waste reduction methods such the use of half-boards, flat gutters, infills and the potential to re-use large off-cuts.

The system also includes the use of accurate, factory pre-cut 45º mitres, which minimise any on-site cutting required (again reducing the amount of site waste) and also ensure a very accurate fit for the boards. Non-standard factory-cut mitres can also be provided, which cuts site waste even further.

“Clear communication between ourselves and the roofing contractor is another essential element,” added Gradient sales manager Richard Milward. “This helps everyone to understand the insulation scheme properly and make the installation process trouble free.”

When packing, Gradient’s ensures that the insulation boards are made up into the smallest load possible, to reduce transport requirements. “We can even work with contractors to complete a waste audit which specifies the exact quantity of product supplied to site and identifies the likely volume of waste they will need to remove,” Richard said.


Picture: A new single-layer tapered roofing insulation system designed by Gradient has formed part of a major package of works to convert Riber Castle into a block of 26 luxury apartments.

New solar control glass

Light transmittance (tV) 62 %, solar factor 29 %, a selectivity that is higher than factor 2 – these excellent technical values relate to the new solar control glass ipasol ultraselect 62/29 by Interpane (Laufenfoerde, Germany).

A newly developed triple silver coating on the inside surface of the outer pane has made this technological leap possible. The glazing reduces the summer cooling load while letting a maximum amount of natural daylight into the room. This saves energy, is good for the environment, and expands the creative leeway for architects and facade builders.

There is also a positive side effect: the low outside reflection (10 %), which reduces undesired reflection. This leads to excellent colour-neutral appearance and vision, even at acute angles. During cool outside temperatures, the especially low Ug-value of 1.0 W/(m2K), as double glazing, effectively prevents heat loss.


Take a seat

Workplace equipment provider Slingsby is reporting record sales of its outdoor furniture that is made using recycled materials.

The company supplies more than 35,000 workplace products across all industries and in recent years has significantly increased the number of products that are made from recycled materials.

Lee Wright, marketing director at Slingsby, said: “More organisations than ever before are specifically asking for products that are made from materials that are either recycled or come from sustainable sources. For many businesses and organisations it has become a key requirement when they are buying products and is more of a priority than the price.

“As the weather improves this is certainly the case with outdoor furniture and we're continually introducing new products to our range that are all proving to be an immediate hit with our customers.

“A lot of these products are made using recycled polystyrene or plastic and these materials also have several benefits over wood or metal because they don't require any maintenance and they won't splinter, rot or corrode if they are neglected or left outside all year round.”


Picture: Standard picnic table – made from recycled polystyrene, which will not rot or corrode. Weather and chemical resistant. No paint or preservatives required. Will not splinter.

Affordable thermal imaging

Testo has made its full range of thermal imaging cameras more affordable.

Testo has been developing and modifying the boundaries of infrared technology to create easy to use, robust, quality products with an industry standard feel and touch, but easy enough for an inexperienced hand to operate.

Testo thermal imaging cameras are ideal for use in HVAC, industrial and building applications to highlight thermal anomalies and reduce costs.

Exhibition presence

Viessmann, a leading international manufacturer of heating systems, is responding to market demand by focussing its presence at this month’s Greenbuild EXPO 2011 (June 29th/30th; Manchester Central) on biomass.

The company will exhibit in the Ignition section of the show (stand F31) following a surge of interest in biomass since the Renewable Heat Incentive announcement in March.

“Because we have products for all traditional and renewable fuel types and applications, we can be trusted to provide a fuel-neutral perspective in what can be a minefield of competing information,” said Peter Frost, managing director of Viessmann. “We look forward to talking to installers and end-users through the opportunities and considerations associated with biomass and other renewable heating options.” Viessmann will display its Vitoligno boiler (from the company’s 4 kW to 1,250 kW biomass range) in addition to a Vitocal ground source heat pump. Staff will be able to answer questions on any of the company’s broad technology line-up.


Sunny choice

The Soprasolar photovoltaic range from Flag-Soprema offers a choice of flexible or rigid PV options.

By combining PV and waterproofing technology, Soprasolar Duo provides a lightweight, flexible waterproofing membrane, the surface of which contains interconnected photovoltaic cells. As a waterproofing membrane, it enables flat roofs of low structural capacity to be used for solar power generation.

The manufacturing process was developed in partnership with Uni-Solar, a worldwide specialist in flexible cell technology. The cells of Soprasolar Duo are bonded to a high performance SBS bitumen cap sheet. Their light weight enables a greater overall roof area to be used and as the membrane lays flat, the cells are unobtrusive and create no shadows. The system includes all the necessary elements such as inverters, monitoring software and optional weather station and can be used for pitches of up to 5°.

Soprasolar Fix, by contrast, uses frame-mounted, rigid photovoltaic modules which do not penetrate the waterproofing layer. Cells contain no moving parts, so energy creation is silent and maintenance requirements are minimal. Optimum energy generation is guaranteed even in diffused sunlight or when panels are not fully clean.

Flag-Soprema provides a fully underwritten 20-year warranty for both photovoltaic elements and membrane.


Out on the tiles

With the launch of its Flex Design collection Forbo has extended the potential for loose lay vinyl tiles in commercial office, retail and hospitality environments.

At the same time, the new range provides an excellent environmental option as a result of its European manufacture, high recycled content and REACH (Registration Evaluation Authority and Restriction of Chemicals) compliance.

Flex Design encompasses abstract and traditional woods, concrete, stone, sand and metallic woven designs.

Highlights include Seagrass planks (100cm x 20cm) with their smooth grained linear design, inspired by wood but interpreted in a more abstract way, and metallic woven designs (50cm x 50cm) which offer a stylish softly textured effect in four different muted metal colours.

The collection has been specifically designed to combine well with carpet tiles and LVT (luxury vinyl tile) ranges in Forbo’s portfolio and broadens the choice available for all environments requiring speed of installation or the practical benefits of modular flooring, for instance where access flooring is installed and in renovation projects.

The combination of a glass fleece carrier and multiple calandered layers makes Flex Design unprecedented in strength, performance and quality. A top 1mm transparent wearlayer gives each tile superior strength, durability and clarity while the PUR Pearl lacquer delivers stain resistance, ease of maintenance and a natural matt appearance.


Structural insulating blocks

Natural Building Technologies’ (NBT’s) ThermoPlan fired clay structural insulating blocks deliver excellent levels of both thermal and acoustic insulation without the need for a cavity or additional insulation materials, making them a ready-made solution to the Revised Building Regulations Part L requirement to take into account heat loss at party walls.

A 425mm-thick block will deliver a U-value of only 0.20W/m2K, when finished with a breathable render externally and plaster internally.

Providing a high degree of airtightness, which is also a key factor in reducing energy use, the blocks are fully ‘breathable’ to the passage of water vapour, which helps to maintain a healthy internal atmosphere and avoids problems of damp and condensation.

Featuring a honeycomb cross-section, the blocks are manufactured using clays, mixed with small particles of waste cellulose. During a low temperature firing process the cellulose is burnt off to produce a strong, microporous structure, delivering the exceptional levels of insulation coupled with highly effective breathability.

The manufacturing process, helped to a large degree by the low temperatures required for the firing stage, means that a wall built from the blocks has 30% less embodied energy and 50% less embodied carbon than a conventional cavity block wall, meeting the same thermal performance. ThermoPlan blocks also carry a BREEAM Green Guide ‘A’ rating.

In construction, a true thin bed mortar, just 1mm thick, is used to secure rows of blocks, with interlocking dry vertical joints anchoring adjacent blocks along the row. The simplicity of the construction process enables ThermoPlan block walls to be typically constructed three to four times faster than conventional blockwork structures, with no limitation on the height that can be built in a day and no drying out shrinkage.

The absence of a cavity eliminates the cold bridging associated with wall ties, and the ability to use one homogenous material simplifies design detailing at door and window openings and junctions. This in turn makes it easier to achieve good airtightness and minimise cold bridging at these openings/junctions and, importantly, to achieve theoretical design values in practice.

ThermoPlan blocks also provide high levels of thermal mass to counter overheating in the summer months.


Waste monitoring

Real-time monitoring and control of waste with Reconomy Portal helps reduce waste handling costs and achieve reductions in landfill.

Reconomy has introduced Reconomy Portal, a 24/7 system providing users in any industry where waste streams are generated and need to be accounted for, with real-time control of their waste handling and disposal operations – waste cost, tonnage, segregation and diversion from landfill.

Reconomy Portal is a real-time monitoring and management system for effective control of waste across all sectors of industry and commerce and makes an important contribution to achieving reductions in landfill. Via a secure, 24/7 internet connection, it provides users with relevant data to allow the most cost-effective and sustainable processes to be employed and monitored.

Users logging on to the Reconomy Portal are presented with an intuitive dashboard which shows the type of waste stream, waste tonnage and how much of their waste has been diverted from landfill. Automated graphs give immediate access to supporting data, including relevant reports and figures, compliance certificates, carrier registration documents and environmental permits.

An essential resource for collecting, sorting and holding an unlimited array of relevant waste management information, the Reconomy Portal provides both visibility and tracking of waste handling activities.

An important benefit for construction and housebuilder companies for example, is the ability to see how many sites have a valid Site Waste Management Plan and, more importantly, how many do not.

The level of detail available to individual users can be set to the customer’s requirements. For example, a company director can be given access to all sites currently in operation, whereas a regional manager may need to access just one or two.

Further security is offered in the form of automatic lock-outs, whereby a user is automatically locked out of the system if he or she hasn’t logged on in any three-month period. This can be useful where an employee moves to a competitor and the administrator fails to update the system.

Incorporated into the Reconomy Portal is a report scheduler which issues reminders to relevant parties when updates are needed.

An online demonstration of Reconomy Portal is available at reconomy's website.


New facility

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES), provider of mechanical and electrical services, has officially opened its state-of-the-art off-site manufacturing and assembly facility – a facility that is set to offer new standards of M&E, safe and sustainable off-site practice in addition to cost and time savings.

Branded ‘Modular Systems +’ the new 117,000ft2 manufacturing and assembly facility, located in Wednesbury, West Midlands, is the largest of its kind in the UK. Its focus is on the production of mechanical and electrical systems, including packaged plant rooms, corridor modules, service modules, riser modules, and modular electrical systems.

In creating Modular Systems + BBES will be able to provide customers with substantial savings in terms of time and money. It will also offer a safer and more sustainable method of construction. This will be achieved through the use of efficient off-site techniques which due to their nature, provides operatives with safer and more productive working conditions.

The approach also minimises waste, reinforcing BBES’ position as promoting sustainability as a collective and inclusive responsibility, with the company working with customers, suppliers and communities to ensure that sustainability is embedded in every operation.

“The Modular Systems + facility has been built to enable us to deliver our lean construction philosophy, reducing the number of hours needed on site, improving lead times and providing safer and more productive working environments,” said Bob Francis, director of Modular Systems + at BBES.

Power and shade specials

Bowater Projects – installer of energy efficient architectural facades and entrance systems – now offers bespoke solar shading and photovoltaic (PV) panel options for its System10 Aluminium Curtain Walling.

Both products – which are only available as ‘specials’ – provide a simple, low maintenance way to cut both energy bills and carbon dioxide emissions.

Aesthetically pleasing, flexible and lightweight, the solar shading provides a quick-fix and inexpensive solution to offices and classrooms that suffer from excessive solar gain. It helps maintain room temperatures at around 24˚C – reducing the use of air-conditioning units and so reducing energy bills and CO2 emissions – as total solar gain is limited to 35 W/m2 (in accordance with Part L2 of the Building Regulations).

The PV panels generate electricity in a clean, quiet, renewable way and simply slot into any System10 Aluminium Curtain Walling frame where infill panels would normally be situated. The user can then generate electricity for export to the National Grid and take advantage of preferential ‘feed-in’ tariffs for solar-generated electricity.

Bowater Architectural, sister company to Bowater Projects and the manufacturer of System10 Aluminium Curtain Walling has calculated the effects of a PV installation (152m2) in London, subject to a mean annual temperature of 12˚C, and found that it would generate up to 6,697kWh in a year – and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by 5,931kg.

System10 Aluminium Curtain Walling offers U-Values ranging from 1.5 W/m2K, with 28mm glazing units, to 1.0 W/m2K with 32mm triple-glazed units (both based on a 50mm mullion). It combines fully with either PVC-U or aluminium windows and doors so that buildings can be fully upgraded regardless of system requirements.

A full range of RAL colour options provides the complete choice of design finishes. Opening lights and doors are fully integrated; and a choice for frame-glazed and direct-glazed options is available – with direct glazing methods offering slimmer sightlines and reduced cost.


Low carbon hot water

Dimplex is extending choices in solar thermal water heating, with the launch of the SOLC201 flat plate collector, which provides a cost-effective way to start enjoying low cost, low carbon hot water.

The SOLC201 is solar keymark approved, meaning that it will be eligible for the financial incentives available under the Renewable Heat Incentive, available to non-domestic installations from July 2011, with domestic installations expected to be eligible from October 2012.

A laser-welded meander absorber pipe with a highly selective coating means low pressure drop of the overall collector field, while a solar safety glass covering with 85% transmission, allows the collector to absorb a large range of light frequencies for maximum efficiency. 30mm rear and side insulation holds on to the heat collected. Suitable for connection of up to four panels in series, in horizontal or vertical orientation to suit the available roof space, the SOLC201 collector plate is of robust construction, with 3.2mm structured safety glass that has passed optional impact resistance tests.

To make specification easy, the SOLC201 collector is supplied with a choice of roof fixing kits for slate or tile roofs, or freestanding for flat roofs or ground level mounting. What’s more, the new collector can be combined with a choice of either the premium SOLPU1 pump station or the new cost effective SOLPU0 module, giving great flexibility to tailor to every installation’s system to exact requirements of performance and cost. Compression fittings combined with a weight of just 29kg per panel when empty make installation straightforward. An aluminium, anthracite powder coated frame gives lightweight yet strong protection and blends unobtrusively with the roof. The SOLC201 collector is covered by a 10 year warranty.

Eco retrofit

Uswitch.com is the latest online re-seller to support Ecoflap – the only retro-fitting letterbox draught excluder to have been endorsed by the Energy Saving Trust. The product has also featured in The Telegraph’s top recommendations to save energy in the home.

Uswitch.com began selling Ecoflap online this week and joins over 20 re‐sellers stocking the product, along with Jessel Innovations themselves. Anne Jessel, Partner of Jessel Innovations, said: “We are so pleased that Uswitch has added Ecoflap into their portfolio – this will be a great boost to our exposure in the wider market and will help establish Ecoflap as the only brand associated with zero-draught door accessories. We would like to thank Uswitch.com, along with our other re-sellers, for supporting us.”

Jessel Innovations also recently announced their new Ecoflap Twin product – a full letterbox system designed for installation into doors prior to customer delivery. The most significant advantage of both products over others in the market is the absence of springs and brushes thus eliminating wear and tear, providing continued air tightness.

Ecoflap has been installed in zero-carbon housing. Other products in the pipeline include Eco-cat-flap which uses the same technology.


Free energy

Renewable energy company EOS Energy now provides free photovoltaic solar panel systems to domestic, commercial, local authority and community project customers that could otherwise not afford them.

The company's new scheme allows the customer to benefit from free fitting, maintenance and insurance of the roof top system, with the occupant receiving all electricity that the system generates free of charge for the 25-year period of operation, as well as a roof rental, where suitable yields can be obtained.

During the 25-year period the panels themselves will be owned by a green funding company, who will recoup their investment through payments generated from the feed in tariff. After the 25-year period the panels will become the full property of the customer.

EOS Energy hope this scheme will allow people that can't afford a system to protect themselves from the anticipated increases in electricity prices as its Director commented: "This is a great opportunity for people to benefit from renewable technologies without the initial outlay. Naturally, each roof top would have to be assessed to ensure that they are suitable and, in accordance with the REAL Scheme, we would provide a quotation explaining what it would cost to buy the system, what Feed in Tariff would be generated, as well as offering a 'free' system as an alternative."

The company are hosting an open day on July 15th from 10am to 2pm at their headquarters in Warwickshire where people can find out more about the free PV scheme. Everyone is welcome to attend.


Quadruple glazed roof window

Fakro’s range of FTT pivot roof windows offer exceptional heat transmission co-efficients, having been designed to meet the requirements of energy-efficient buildings such as those built to Passivhaus standards.

Glazing units are set in specially designed wider sash frames which minimize the potential for thermal bridging. With a 50mm thick glazing unit, the FTT U8 Thermo quadruple-glazed roof window has a U-value of 0.68 W/m2K while that of the triple-glazed FTT U6 is 0.81W/m2k.

Though of pivot design, the axis of rotation of the FTT sash has been raised to enable even a tall person to stand comfortably by an open window. A modified locking mechanism secures the sash either side of the frame while the patented topSafe system provides an exceptional standard of security and safety - Class 4 EN13049.

FTT windows benefit from a quadruple-sealing system using flexible thermoplastic elastomer (TPE). When closed, both the FTT U6 and U8 provide a 38 dB acoustic performance.


Centre of excellence

HB Fuller – a global industrial adhesives supplier – has announced it has created a global centre of excellence for application development in the Window and Solar industries.

The centre is located at the company’s world headquarters, Willow Lake, in St Paul, Minnesota.

HB Fuller currently provides adhesives to the Window and Solar markets from Heidelberg in Germany, however with increasing demand for high performance products within these industries, the decision has been taken to centralise operations with global product development.

This will enable HB Fuller to deliver solutions and products to customers at a much faster pace. The centre will be supported by teams of local specialists around the world, ensuring customers in Europe still receive the high levels of customer care and technical support they need.

Richard Sellman, European sales manager for HB Fuller Windows, said: “This is a very positive move for HB Fuller and will bring many benefits to our customers in the Windows and Solar markets. Willow Lake is already our centre for the development of hot melts and reactive hot melts. By combining this with our knowhow and technology from Europe, I believe we can bring even better products to market in the EU, at a quicker pace. We will also be able to pre-test each product to EU standards, particularly EN1279, meaning our customers can be re-assured our adhesives for Windows and Solar Panels conform with crucial industry safety requirements among other things.”

HB Fuller’s technologies, including reactive hot melt adhesives, have generated significant value for customers in the Windows market. These same technologies are rapidly gaining acceptance in applications within the solar panel sector, providing significant advantages in the panel manufacturing process. By centralising operations, HB Fuller can bring its customers an even bigger range of products and services in terms of expertise and experience within the adhesives industry for Windows and Solar Panels.


Bi-fold window

Liniar has added a bi-folding window system to its Bi-Fold Plus range.

The bi-fold window has many of the same design features including slim sightlines and concealed hardware. Because it is based on the same design as Bi-Fold Plus it is also more energy efficient.

The Bi-Fold Plus window is available in a variety of configurations and is ideal for domestic installations such as conservatories, as well as commercial applications such as restaurants, bars, offices and shops.

Liniar’s design director Adrian Redshaw said: “Our bi-folding window has the same advanced design as the successful Bi-Fold Plus range of doors. With narrower frames and dedicated hardware it is a complete bi-fold window system that is easy to fabricate and install. With widths up to 6m it is a contemporary solution for creating a large clear opening in a variety of situations.”

01332 883900

Joining forces

Photovoltaic manufacturers Solon SE, Tata Steel Europe and The Sustainable Building Envelope Centre (SBEC), have joined forces to address the growing demand for an intelligent combination of photovoltaic system and metal roof covering.

The resulting product, which consists of a photovoltaic system from Solon and a pre-finished steel roofing product based on Colorcoat Prisma by Tata Steel, is capable of a durable performance consistent with the life of the photovoltaic system and the demands of the bonded interface during this period. This product is scheduled for release this summer with the attendant performance warranties.

The product combines the Solon SOLbond photovoltaic system with a trapezoidal twin skin built-up system or sandwich roofing component made from Colorcoat Prisma pre-finished steel. Solon SOLbond has been specifically developed for metal lightweight industrial roofs. By bonding this frameless module directly to a metal roof, the static load-bearing capacity of the roof can be used for direct support of the PV modules rather than frames or additional sub-structures. This bonding process makes roof penetration completely unnecessary thereby reducing risk of leaks. Solon SOLbond is especially well suited when roofing new industrial buildings, as the photovoltaic system is included in the design phase of a building and can therefore be optimally integrated.

Conventional photovoltaic systems for metal roofs usually consist of modules that rely on aluminum profiles as a support structure. Installing these kinds of systems increases the load on the roof and makes roof penetration a necessity. Penetrating the roof will typically void the warranty of the roof manufacturer, which can lead to extensive risk for the PV system operator and building owner. Moreover, the service life of a conventional metal roof is often shorter than the projected life cycle of the photovoltaic system.

Pilot project for the new design is a 12 kWp roofsystem on the Sustainable Building Envelope Centre (SBEC) at Tata Steel’s Shotton site in North Wales. The system was installed by a Solon certified installer team from Lester Fabrications & Cladding, that was especially trained for the installation process.

Efficient stove

Specflue has launched its new TT20 stove as part of its contemporary Termatech range.

The Termatech stoves exceed the strongest European standards and burn at over 83% efficiency. It is available in four different styles with square or rounded sidepanels and a steel or soapstone finish. All stoves are delivered with the option of top or rear outlet as standard and can be easily altered at the point of installation.

The sidepanels are detachable if customers decide to alter the look of their stove after it has been installed. It is a simple process to change the panels from steel to soapstone or vice versa without disconnecting the stove from the chimney. The air into the stove and the combustion process is managed by a single lever, just below the door giving owners precise control of the heat and the speed that the fire burns at. The handle is designed to stay cool during the operation of the fire.

The stove may also have a direct air feed kit installed eliminating the need for an external air vent in the room. Fitted inside the stove is a large ashbox with a lid to secure the ashes when they are removed from the stove. The deep chamber guarantees the flames are in the centre of the flame picture and provides a great view of the fire. Inside the fire chamber, the base plate is cast iron to give the stove a long lifetime.

Low-energy LEDs

Thorworld Industries has introduced optional low energy LED bulbs for its Standard Plus Dock Lights as a cost-effective, energy efficient alternative to the existing 80 watt bulbs.

Compared to standard halogen bulbs, the 12 watt LED bulbs deliver an energy saving of approximately 85%. At the same time, they have no adverse effect on light quality, with a comparable standard of illumination to halogens (over 1000 Lumens).

The lifespan of an LED bulb is as much as 50,000 hours. This is at least a ten-fold increase in life expectancy over halogen bulbs, ensuring significant reductions in the replacement of consumables for a lower overall cost of ownership. Thorworld estimates that, under typical distribution centre operating conditions, the LED Dock Light becomes more cost-effective within two years of purchase.

Speaking about the LED Dock Lights, Thorworld managing director, John Meale, said: "With rising energy prices and the growth of corporate sustainability policies, our customers are on the lookout for long-term solutions that can simultaneously reduce costs and waste.

"Changing a light bulb might seem only a small act, but it produces a big 'win' – meaning less hassle, lower energy consumption and enhanced environmental credentials, without any discernable loss of illumination."

Conergy to attend Intersolar

The Conergy Group is attending Intersolar in Munich, Germany (June 8-10) with a 580m2 their stand (stand 180, hall A3). The company recently opened an office in the UK.

UK customers will have the chance to gain a glance into the near future of the UK solar industry. The Conergy Group uses the event as platform for the Germany launch of the Conergy newest innovations, including the company’s solar storage solution – a system with exceptional durability which can cover up to 75% of the annual power requirements of a family of four.

Another highlight is the Conergy Complete 200 and Conergy Complete 300. The Conergy Complete 300, an on roof system with black modules which can be mounted by a single installer. The Conergy Complete 200 which is an in-roof system using special frameless black laminates which integrate black panels aesthetically in the roof and additionally act as water conducting layer.

The German system manufacturer has announced that the Conergy PowerPlus has been improved and the latest generation of the product will be presented at Intersolar 2011. The panel is now even more rugged with higher durability and higher levels of performance.

Picture: Conergy’s solar storage solution.

New teaching accommodation guide

Foremans Relocatable Building Systems, UK supplier of recycled and refurbished modular buildings, has published a new report – ‘A Guide to Expanding Teaching Accommodation’.

This latest in a series of reports and technical papers from Foremans provides education professionals with a comprehensive guide to procuring a modular building and can be downloaded from the Foremans website – www.foremansbuildings.info/industryreports. It gives 23 practical tips to help schools avoid some of the most common pitfalls, and to help ensure modular building projects are completed on time, on budget and to the required quality standards.

The new paper provides clear guidance about how to expand teaching accommodation using off-site construction, quickly and efficiently, for the smooth running of each building project. Areas to consider include:

• Key decisions to take in the planning stages to ensure clarity and focus for the project team
• Advice on obtaining planning permissions
• The complexities of project management
• How to ensure the modular building meets the relevant guidelines and legislation
• How to set the design criteria
• What to look for when selecting a modular building supplier.

Kevin Jones, managing director of Foremans, said: “Modular teaching accommodation offers a host of benefits for schools and LEAs, whether the building is for interim or permanent use, to meet place planning requirements, or to upgrade or expand school or college facilities.

“The speed of delivery is important, as is the need to minimise disruption to teaching. However, it is also vital that every school building project is completed on time, on budget and to specification.

“This report shares our team’s experience and expertise to help education professionals avoid some of the most common mistakes and to choose the right modular building partner for their project. Building users need to be aware that not all suppliers are the same – whether they specialise in new manufacture or recycled modular buildings – and not all will be able to provide the services required for a particular project.”

The use of recycled and refurbished modular buildings continues to increase as more schools, colleges and LEAs recognise the advantages of this highly innovative solution to providing new and purpose-designed teaching accommodation.

Pre-owned modular buildings can reduce programme times by up to 70% and are a highly cost-effective alternative to new build and new manufacture – an important benefit in the current economic climate where budgets are severely restricted.

This is also one of the most sustainable methods of construction – helping to reduce carbon emissions, waste sent to landfill, and improve a building’s carbon footprint.

To download a copy of the new technical paper, see www.foremansbuildings.info/industryreports

Smart heat recovery

Achieving 0.47W/l/s, with 93% heat transfer, and incorporating new Greenwood Smart Technology, the new Fusion HRV2HT takes one of the UK’s best performing heat recovery product to the next level.

Assisting in the delivery of GIP (Guaranteed Installed Performance), new Greenwood CommissionSmart technology provides a fuss-free method of commissioning.

Smarter thanks to wireless technology, one single and simple to operate LCD controller can be used to set up, adjust and commission numerous units on-site, helping save valuable time, as the installer does not need to keep going back to the unit to make adjustment.

One hundred percent variable airflow settings ensure Fusion HRV2HT meets Building Regulation requirements on-site first time. Ensuring year-round comfort for homeowners Fusion HRV2HT also boasts Greenwood SummerSmart and Greenwood WinterSmart technologies. Providing an intuitive response to seasonal variations they sense the outside temperature and automatically make changes to the way in which the supply air is delivered into the dwelling to create the perfect indoor climate all year round.

Additional Smart features and technology improve the overall energy efficiency and performance of Fusion HRV2HT. Greenwood HumidiSmart, a new way of using humidity to provide ventilation into domestic dwellings, reacts only to man-made humidity rather than a preset generic setting, and Greenwood TimerSmart measures the duration of occupancy to determine run time. Both technologies help remove nuisance running noise and reduce unnecessary energy wastage and heat loss throughout the year in the home.


Humidity regulating foil

The ISO-Connect Vario SD humidity regulating foil, now available from ISO-Chemie, provides rapid and effective year-round high performance sealing of window and door frame connecting joints.

In addition to the ‘intelligent’ humidity control, the foil comes from a new generation of window sealing products which not only adapt to seasonal variations but also provide an excellent external weather seal that surpasses the current, and proposed, UK Building Regulations for airtightness in domestic and commercial buildings when used as an internal seal.

ISO-Connect Vario SD is flexible enough to adapt to external and internal temperature changes which occur within buildings and structures, ensuring that joints remain dry, and costly damage caused by condensation build up is eliminated.

Quick and easy-to-apply to frameworks, the self-adhesive synthetic fleece covered foil is available in six width options to suit most joint sizes: 70, 90, 145, 180, 235 and 290 mm. Supplied as standard with a self-adhesive strip, to attach it to the window frame, a butyl adhesive strip can also be added for securing the foil on brickwork.

Product complies with energy saving regulations (EnEV) on windows and doors as well as the RAL quality assurance association and is able to accommodate extremes of temperature changes – from -40°C to +80°C.

ISO-Connect Vario SD is compatible with all standard building materials and can be over plastered or pasted to provide a smooth and stable decorative surface finish. The range comes in three finishes: self adhesive (SK), single side self adhesive and butyl adhesive strip (SK-BT Mono)and alternating self adhesive and butyl adhesive strip (SK-BT Duo).

Available from UK stock in a 30 metre roll length, product can be supplied to customers on a 24-48 hour basis.


New specification guide

Kestrel has launched a revised version of its Specification Guide.

The new Guide has been updated in its design to suite in with the rest of Kestrel’s recently re-designed range of marketing and technical materials.

Kestrel’s Specification Guide reflects the company’s commitment to producing products that are more environmentally kind, from a manufacturing base that is also environmentally conscious.

All of Kestrel’s products contain 100% calcium organic stabilisers in the skin and core to ensure they meet future as well as existing legislation, but we also operate to the stringent ISO9001 environmental standard.

The Specification Guide provides specifiers with more information about all of this as well as the other benefits of choosing Kestrel products.


Free solar energy

Oxford Sustainable Group, a European independent renewable energy and sustainable development businesses, has launched Sol et Libre in the UK – a second-generation 'free solar' business.

Sol et Libre is offering free solar installations plus cash payments to domestic and commercial property owners located in the south of England. The Oxford Sustainable Group is an experienced developer and investor in the UK solar market having funded and developed ISIS Solar (the UK free solar brand) from scratch.

Sol et Libre will now enable its customers to benefit from annual savings on their electricity bills, typically around £360 for the average domestic property at today's electricity prices, and receive £250 cash.

Sol et Libre customers will save on the upfront cost of the solar installation, which is around £15,000 for most residential properties. In return, Sol et Libre will benefit from the Feed-In Tariff payments.

"Oxford has been highly successful with solar, wind and biomass across Europe," said Robin Paine, director, Sol et Libre. "We want to repeat that success with Sol et Libre and help to grow the production of renewable energy in the South of the UK. We're offering a great deal – free electricity and an initial cashback payment of £250 – this is a first on the market and is proving to be very attractive to our customers.

"Our aim is to install 50MW of solar modules by summer 2012 and with the Oxford Sustainable Group behind us, we have the knowhow and finance required. Beyond that, we want to develop more broadly in both commercial and community solar projects in the South of England. We are happy to hear from people with suitable domestic and commercial properties and community projects."

Oxford Sustainable Group, Sol et Libre's parent company, has over 800MW of renewable energy projects in development across Europe. It has more experience of operating free solar business models than any other UK company, having completed the full lifecycle of solar development and is now on its second-generation company.

Thin-film PV option

Schueco UK is now offering its ASS 70.HI fully glazed, lift-sliding door with a ProSol TF thin-film photovoltaic option, enabling this top-of-the-range system to deliver exceptional thermal insulation, generate PV energy and provide solar shading/screening simultaneously.

The Schueco ASS 70.HI is available in single, double or triple track configurations. The 70mm deep doors glide effortlessly on stainless steel tracks and the lift-slide action is facilitated by stylish ergonomic handles. With a low threshold height of only 48mm, leaf weights up to 300kg and security up to Class 2 EN V 1627, this door meets a wide range of specifications.

Leaf widths and heights up to 3m are possible with this premium door, while class-leading U-values from 1.6W/m2K with double-glazing, down to 1.3W/m2K with triple-glazing, easily exceed Building Regulations.

The launch of the ProSol TF option makes the Schueco ASS 70.HI sliding door even more versatile as it can now be included as an element of larger Building Integrated Photovoltaic projects incorporating facades, cladding and windows.

Depending upon design requirements, Schueco's amorphous silicon ProSol TF can be specified in opaque format for maximum output or in varying degrees of transparency, providing vision to the outside and soft shading to the inside. When equipped with ProSol TF, ASS 70.HI is a perfect example of Schueco's Energy2 – Saving Energy, Generating Energy concept.