Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry


Expanded production

BASF is expanding the production plant for the insulation material Styrodur C at the Ludwigshafen site in Germany.

This will increase the production capacity of the extruded polystyrene rigid foam panels (XPS) from the current 1.3 million m³ by an additional 220,000m³. In the extended plant the new XPS types Styrodur Neo and Styrodur HT can be manufactured along with standard products. Operation will start at the end of 2011.

“The Styrodur C business runs successfully, the demand for energy-efficient building insulation products rises continuously,” Dr Giorgio Greening, head of BASF’s global foam business unit said. “By increasing our capacity we are aiming to establish our new XPS products, which represent a major advance in insulation performance and processing, within the construction sector in the long run. We can also ensure the delivery to our customers of high-performance standard products, such as thick or high-density panels,”.

The European XPS market is currently growing by 3% to 5% per annum, driven by rising energy prices and legal regulations on thermal insulation in new and old buildings.

Pressure-resistant, water-repellent and rot-proof Styrodur C has been protecting homes against heat, cold and moisture for more than 45 years. This prolongs the service life of buildings, increases their value and improves the living climate.



With specifiers and homeowners alike increasingly turning to GRP composite doors for their thermal performance and durability, so Bowater Doors, has developed ‘Doors for Life’ which not only ‘future proofs’ properties to meet the highest insulation and security standards, but also allows the doors to be quickly and cost effectively upgraded on site, to meet the changing requirements of the specifier or homeowner.

The range offers double rebate with double compression seals doors, fire doors and single rebate doors, which offer U-values ranging up to 0.8 Wm2K – the performance demanded by level 6 in terms of the Code for Sustainable Homes, the highest standard currently in force for new housing.

All doors are bespoke and made to measure, making them easy to install and so upgrade both the thermal performance and appearance of existing properties over the long term as the doors are impact resistant and simple to maintain as they are manufactured using the thermoset process. This process creates pre-formed door skins, beads and panels with a high definition finish and enables Bowater to use GRP ‘through colour’ skins that have strong colourfastness that resist UV-induced fading.

The doors are prepped by Bowater Doors at the manufacturing stage to receive a full family of locking systems, which means that if circumstances require enhanced security, automatic or electronic locks after initial installation, the upgrade can be done with minimal disruption and cost, on site. There are six locking systems available from standard multipoint locking right through to automatic electronic systems operated by key fob.


Green to the core

Roofline manufacturer Homeline has developed Core, a new range of environmentally friendly BBA approved recycled fascias and soffits, which meet and exceed the industry’s recycling and sustainability criteria.

The name is Core is derived from the process that Homeline uses to make the recycled roofline range. The inner core of the product is produced using recycled PVC-U, but the outer skin (the bit you see) uses virgin PVC-U which encapsulates the core to provide a perfect finish.

Core maintains high performance which is reinforced with new BBA accreditation and BSI approval for the new recycled formulation. In addition, Homeline is actively working towards IS0:14001.

Core’s green credentials enable customers to increase the recycled content and overall sustainability of roofline installations for new-build and social housing projects. Carrying the strapline ‘recycled into our core, not the earth’s’, environmentally friendly rooflines help to protect the earth’s core, thereby satisfying all the industry expectation for environmental responsibility.

As well as being kind to the environment, Core is also fitter friendly featuring useful fixing point guidelines which help to create a professional installation.

Charles Greensmith, MD of Homeline said; “Sustainability has always been key to the overall direction of Homeline, and we’re proud to launch the industry’s first BBA approved range of recycled rooflines. Our investment in R&D has paid off, as we are now able to support our valued customers to meet the ever more stringent industry recycling targets, without compromising aesthetics. It also helps Homeline reduce its impact on the environment as a company, by reducing carbon footprints and sending less waste to landfill.”

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Solar coating

Internorm has developed a specialist thermal coating which is available on its windows as standard.

Solar+ triple glazing maximises the potential energy gains provided through solar irradiation. It prevents subsequent heat loss through the window with very low Ug values, helping to maintain a comfortable, cost, carbon and energy efficient interior environment.

Solar+ is a triple insulating glass that not only meets but also exceeds the requirements of Part L 2010. It both actively promotes energy transmission of solar irradiation into the building (g value) as well as preventing energy loss through the window (Ug value). The thermal conductivity of Solar+ is 20% higher than with standard triple glazing. This means that solar energy gain is increased by 20% too.

For cold seasons, buildings fitted with Internorm’s windows will maximise the potential of the very low solar energy available, retaining the heat gain within the building. Solar+ even operates in situations where the window does not face directly south, or the building is not ideally located to optimise the sunlight available.

To combat overheating in the summer months, all Internorm’s windows are available with sun protection features. This ensures that, while the building can retain maximum solar energy when it is needed, so too can the building’s users keep temperatures cooler when required without the need for energy-intensive mechanical systems, with a number of different options. These include integral blinds, attachment blinds, window shutters and roller shutters.

“Indoor climate is vital to the productivity and wellbeing of a building’s occupants,” Thomas Hagen, technical manager from Internorm, said. “Whether at work or at home, we all thrive when exposed to just the right level of solar irradiation. Internorm understands the importance of maintaining a comfortable interior environment, at the same time as keeping energy use low. Solar+ glazing improves solar gain, helping to reduce reliance on energy to heat homes and commercial buildings, thereby lowering energy costs for the end user and cutting carbon emissions too.”


Stormwater system trialled

The GEOlight stormwater management system from SDS has just been accepted by Wessex Water for a number of trial installations in conjunction with developers.

Peter George, development engineer for Wessex Water said: “We were asked to approve the use of SDS systems by various developers on adoptable drainage and agreed to trial the system in a variety of sizes at various locations where the design, installation and operation of the system will be assessed for general acceptance.”

The GEOlight stormwater management system from SDS is an ultra lightweight honeycombed preformed modular structure made from recycled PVC which provides an underground stormwater storage facility for the application of stormwater attenuation or infiltration. The high void rate of up to 97%, high compressive strength of up to 1000kN/m2 and low resistance to water flow makes GEOlight a maintainable and cost efficient solution ideal for underground storage during storm conditions.

Richard Averley, sales and marketing director for SDS explained, “We are working with a number of water utility companies around the country and we are pleased to be working on this trial with Wessex Water. As designers, manufacturers and installers of these cellular structures, we are able to quickly adapt to different site conditions and any new criteria recommended by developers and utility companies.”

As well as attaining ISO 9001, the company is currently undergoing ISO 14001 Environmental Standard accreditation, demonstrating its commitment to developing an environmental management system in areas such as waste reduction and the use of recycled products.

The SDS GEOlight stormwater management systems are manufactured entirely from post consumer PVC waste, normally destined for landfill. This reduces the carbon footprint and helps development projects achieve a higher BREEAM rating. Further investment has led SDS products to be BBA accredited, recognised by Achilles, and they have been submitted for WRc approval


EST approval first

PIR insulation manufacturer, Celotex, has received Energy Saving Trust approval for its CW4000 boards – the first ever polyisocyanurate (PIR) product to do so.

To qualify for EST approval, the insulation must meet strict levels of energy efficiency. CW4000 is A+ rated when compared to the BRE Green Guide 2008 and offers zero ozone depletion potential and low global warming potential, as well as making it ideal to sit alongside other EST approved best-in-class products ranging from televisions and ovens to boilers and light fittings.

Previously, mainly traditional insulation materials including mineral wool and polystyrene foam have been included on the approved list of energy saving insulation. Now, with the approval of CW4000, the EST is promoting the numerous additional benefits that modern PIR offers when compared to more conventional products – including achieving thermal efficiency with thinner profiles, a wide variety of available thicknesses, ease of installation and outstanding moisture resistance.

Some Celotex products have also received OFGEM (Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets) approval, as part of a scheme initiated by the Government and administered by OFGEM to recognise products that reduce CO2 emissions. Compliant products are awarded approved for use under the CERT and CESP schemes which obligate the main energy suppliers to deliver energy savings to their customer base. As well as this, all Celotex’s insulation products have been approved by the British Board of Agrément (BBA).

“We are delighted that our CW4000 is the first PIR to achieve Energy Saving Trust approval,” said Paul Evans, product manager at Celotex. “This brand recognition marks the next step in raising awareness of our products among UK consumers. With the EST seal of approval in addition to our OFGEM approval, we will be able to further raise awareness for the brand, particularly in consumer markets.”


Green Hero

Lafarge Readymix has received an International Green Hero wall-shield for its environmental innovation and efforts to extend eco-friendly practice.

The honour, from prestigious eco-champions The Green Organisation, comes on top of Lafarge’s earlier Green Apple award. Jeremy Greenwood, managing director Readymix, a unit of Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK, was presented with the wall-shield by Trevor Bayliss OBE – famed for inventing the wind-up radio.

Readymix’s success in the awards comes in recognition of its flooring concrete, Extensia, a more environmentally friendly, low-shrink product which can help reduce the CO2 emissions of construction by 20% compared to conventional concrete.

Jeremy said: “This is a true honour. Being recognised by The Green Organisation for one award is fantastic but to receive Green Hero status is outstanding and just goes to show that all the hard work of our employees has paid off.

“I am so proud of each and every member of the business for all their efforts in extremely challenging times. Innovation has always been at the heart of Lafarge’s philosophy and we also take our responsibility to reduce our impact on the environment extremely seriously.

“Creating products such as Extensia is one way in which we can help fulfil both those commitments.”

Lafarge and Extensia will also be featured in The Green Book, the world’s only work of reference on environmental best practice, distributed globally with the intention of inspiring future ecologically sound innovation.

The judges said: “Extensia uses significantly less energy and materials in its production and has better environmental performance and recyclability throughout its life.”

Its formulation means there is no need to include steel mesh or steel fibre to control drying shrinkage and this absence of steel makes it 100 per cent recyclable.

Its high flexural strength also means it can be laid in thinner slabs, reducing the total amount of concrete required.

Meeting tough standards

Schueco UK has just announced that a range of its latest facade systems has successfully completed rigorous testing to the latest CWCT standard.

The tests, which were carried out by Wintech Engineering, show that the Schueco systems also meet or exceed current BS EN standards for curtain walling.

The systems tested include two of Schueco's best-selling curtain wall products FW 50+ and FW 60+, both of which performed up to, or above, the required standard. In fact, these two systems have already demonstrated their excellent energy-saving credentials by being officially accredited by the PassivHaus Institut.

Additionaly the FW50+.SI (super insulation) version can deliver further heat loss savings of over 7% compared to the standard FW 50+ system with identical glazing. This could mean a considerable reduction in energy costs over the life of a building

The third Schueco system to be tested was the FW 50+SG. This widely specified, structural glazing facade performed equally well against other conventionally glazed FW+ systems, demonstrating that a specifier can be certain that any Schueco facade will be able to meet the latest performance standards with ease.


Sign of the times

Street signage across the UK could be set for a new lease of life thanks to Leeds plastics recycling specialist, sustainableoptions.co.uk.

The company, which is based in Riverside Place, has identified a gap in the British market, and begun producing heavy duty plastic signage. There has already been massive interest from a number of local authorities and talks are now in progress with several.

Marketing manager at sustainableoptions.co.uk, Jo Dell, said: “The recycled plastic signs we have developed are perfect for use with Britain's inclement weather, and the rigours of modern society, because they are rot proof, rust proof, chemical proof and vandal proof, graffiti just wipes off them.

“If you look around, thousands of signs across the country are either rusting, bent, or just rotting. We realised there was a huge opportunity and got our research and development department to produce a range of pilot products.

“Interest at the various trade exhibitions we attended, was massive, particularly from public sector authorities, so we have now moved to full scale production and have great hopes for this product range.”

Sustainable Options' plastics are now used across the world in a variety of ways and have been made into railway sleepers, fencing for heavily waterlogged environments – the Environment Agency is one of their customers – and even funky furniture. The news signs are predicted to last five times longer than wood and are more durable than metal.

“They are also attracting interest from the private sector,” added Jo Dell. “A company which rents out cottages by the sea has bought a range of signs because they withstand the rigours of salty water brilliantly. The possibilities are infinite and to think that most of our source product would once have been destined for landfill. Plastic is now making a real difference to society.”


Warming to the task

Carter Homes has achieved industry-leading airtightness test results at its Boughton development, Nottinghamshire.

In order to achieve comparative results, Carter Homes selected Warmcel 500 insulation from Excel Fibre Technology for one of the five homes, and more conventional mineral fibre for the others.

The properties were tested for airtightness by iRed and Elite Energy, with the Warmcel-insulated home recording a result of 2.93m3/hr/m2 first time – exceeding the required 3m3/hr/m2 without any remedial work. The mineral fibre insulations achieved the 3m3/hr/m2 target after remedial works and re-testing were undertaken.

“It’s great to be able to meet challenging environmental targets first time,” said Matthew Chamberlain, contracts manager at Carter Homes. “The Code for Sustainable Homes and the newest Part L building regulations both have airtightness at their heart, and we’re proud to be able to independently prove that we’re building to these standards.

“This target wouldn’t have been met first time if it weren’t for the use of Excel’s Warmcel insulation. Warmcel has inherent environmental benefits, but with airtightness results like these it’s also proving itself as a real value proposition. I don’t think any other insulation can offer the same combination of cost and carbon savings.”

Warmcel offers airtight performance in two ways – its inherent low air permeability and its installation method which is void free. In addition, Warmcel is manufactured from 100% recycled newsprint, and so sequesters carbon within the fabric of the building.

Neil Turner, Excel’s Technical Director, added: “We’ve long championed the importance of airtightness in insulation, and now new regulations are reflecting our beliefs. It’s great to see real-world studies like this back our evidence that Warmcel really is the airtight insulation of choice.”


Reducing costs

Anglia First Home Improvements, the Norwich based Duraflex fabricator, has recently undergone a comprehensive environmental review of the resources they use from pollution prevention, waste management and recycling.

As part of the review, they’ve recently invested in a Waste Advice (UK) recycling waste compactor for their cardboard and polythene packaging waste.

Kyle Huggins, Anglia First’s environmental manager, said: “As part of our existing environmental policy and our commitment to on-going improvements in our operations production efficiency we wanted to ensure that none of our recyclable polythene and cardboard packaging waste ended up in landfill.

“This simple waste segregation process has also enabled us to benefit from significant cost efficiencies by reducing the frequency in which are skips are emptied.

“We’ve been so impressed with the performance of this relatively small compactor we’ve ordered another machine for our new site in Bury St Edmonds.

“In addition to recycling our packaging waste we’ve also introduced other environmental initiatives that ensure none of our post consumer frames or glass ends up in landfill.

“These easy to implement initiatives have also reduced our waste management costs by 75% saving us over £20000.00 per year.”

Waste Advice
07779 713 725
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Sustainable upgrade

Stove manufacturer, Arada, has launched the new range of Stratford Ecoboiler High Efficiency (HE) models.

This range of five freestanding and two inset models will be superseding the current Stratford TF and SEB20 boiler models. Offering a fully functional yet compact design, Stratford Ecoboiler HEs provide the solution to minimise dependency on existing heat sources.

These wood and multifuel boiler stoves are economical, reliable and sustainable, offering an alternative to more traditional central heating systems.


Low light efficiency

Conergy PowerPlus modules have shown a ‘surplus’ of 15% in efficiency during a real-life test in UK.

Conergy installation partner Freewatt has recorded real life output figures over the past nine months from two separate domestic homes in similar locations: both have a total power of approximately 3.9 kilowatts, both are located in Lincolnshire, a 30º pitch and do not face any shaded areas.

“The data speaks for itself,” Julian Patrick, managing director of Freewatt said. “In the UK climate and light conditions Conergy panels are producing more energy than those of all competitive modules we used before.”

The test period, from October 2010 to July 2011, showed that Conergy PowerPlus panels produced 2,860 kilowatt hours compared to 2,495 kilowatt hours generated by the panels from another German module manufacturer – an output difference of 15% for the benefit of the Conergy premium modules.

“We can see from these figures, that if the trend continues, the Conergy panels are on their way to producing 4,038 kilowatt hours per year with the competing brand only producing 3,546 kilowatt hours annually,” Patrick said. “This exceeds all expectations.”

An average three-bedroomed home in the UK has an energy consumption of approximately 5,000 kilowatt hours per year. With the Conergy PowerPlus modules, home owners of a 4 kilowatt installation can cover 80% of their energy needs, whereas the competitor’s modules can cover only 70% of the total energy needs.

“This improvement in energy production from the Conergy PowerPlus modules is due to the panel’s optimum low light performance,” Robert Goss, head of Conergy UK said. “They are optimised to make the most of the UK climate which consists of plenty of grey, cloudy days. We are delighted that the real life figures have underlined this since these figures look very promising for the future of Conergy in the UK.”

New generation

A new generation of high performance air source heat pumps have been launched by Danfoss Heat Pumps.

The new DHP-AQ heat pump range offers market-leading seasonal performance, thanks to a unique control system that constantly controls and optimises three key parameters in the product: airflow (efficient variable speed EC fan), the refrigerant circuit (electronic expansion valve), and heat distribution (OPTI technology).

In combination, these create the ultimate in air/water heat pump efficiency, enabling DHP-AQ to perform perfectly at very low outdoor temperatures, keeping a property comfortably heated, as well as providing constant hot water.

The new DHP-AQ air source heat pumps work well in the very coldest winters – even down to -20ºC continuing to deliver a consistently comfortable indoor environment and constant hot water, whatever the weather. This is possible because defrosting technology ensures the energy efficiency and full functionality of the heat pump even during a cold winter. DHP-AQ has been developed by Danfoss in Scandinavia.

Chris Dale, director of Danfoss Heat Pumps, said: “We are expecting a huge amount of interest in our new DHP-AQ range of air source heat pumps, which deliver outstanding seasonal performance and can make a huge contribution to a more sustainable build. Air source heat pumps are much in demand in both the domestic and commercial sectors and this range is set to enhance this even further, due to its high system efficiency, aesthetically pleasing design and range of innovative features.”

The new DHP-AQ heat pumps have been engineered to offer the lowest sound level on the market. They also offer a minimalist, contemporary, stylish design which means they are a subtle addition to the exterior of a building.


Sustainable choice

Hanson UK’s latest brick guide has been developed to help builders, architects, developers and merchants choose the right brick for their project and make an informed decision on the most sustainable products available.

It includes detailed information on the Hanson Ecostock range, and information on how the company has invested to ensure that sustainability is at the heart of its brick manufacturing processes.

Details on Hanson’s Thermalite blocks are also included which can help specifiers and builders achieve all levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes and the guide also contains information on special shaped bricks as well as high quality chimney, ridge and clay products. The use of a high-end printing process throughout the guide ensures a realistic representation of the colour and texture of Hanson’s full range.

Hanson UK’s national marketing manager Paul Lacey said: “Our new brick guide is extremely user-friendly making it easy to choose the right brick for the job. We have also included information on achieving code levels under the Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH’s) and design advice on meeting U-values for extensions with Hanson products.

“The guide now has a QR code on the back meaning you can visit our website quickly with a smart phone to view our latest product information wherever you are.”

Hanson claims it was the first brick manufacturer to achieve BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing of Materials (RSM) certification for all products from its UK brick production sites and the guide contains all of the company’s extensive range of clay products and brands – Ecostock TM, Cradley, Red Bank and the original London brick.

Social housing brochure

Permadoor has introduced a new brochure covering its range of composite and fire doors for housing, flats and outbuildings.

The 16-page brochure contains full details of Permadoor’s high performance GRP and thermoplastic-faced composite doors, as well as information on the company’s growing range of independently tested Premier Fire doors.

The brochure includes a quick reference U-value calculator to help specifiers meet energy efficiency requirements, together with a gallery of door styles for each range.

The original composite door manufacturer, Permadoor has supplied composite doors to the social housing sector for 21 years.

The company’s GRP composite doors replicate the appearance of timber doorsets but offer low maintenance with high performance. Highly resistant to denting, warping and splitting, the doors are secure, durable and available with sustainable ECO options for lower U-values, improving the thermal insulation and with frames and cills made from recycled material.

Permadoor’s Premier Fire doorsets offer 30 and 60 minutes fire resistance and have been successfully tested to BS476 (Parts 22 and 31). Available with GRP or thermoplastic facings, the fire doors are ideal for properties where Building Regulations require a fully approved FD30S fire doorset in flats, shared entrances and multiple entrance dwellings, for example.


Lower U-values

The Fully Sculptured Casement Window in white from Veka can now achieve a U-value of 0.8 using 44mm argon-filled sealed units, following further development from the industry-leading system supplier.

The technically advanced system is widely chosen in some of the world's largest building projects as well as millions of private homes. Designed for those who want the look and feel of quality hardwood frames without the upkeep, the Matrix FS is an integrated PVCU window system that has set the benchmark in the industry.

Veka's sales and marketing director Colin Torley said: “Regulations for U-values have become more stringent, so for us to achieve such a low U-value on our Fully Sculptured Casement is testament to our continued investment in technology and product.”

It's not just the Fully Sculptured that can achieve a low U-value, it has also recently been announced that the Veka Infinity suite of profiles can achieve a U-value of 0.8.


Two layers are better than one

The German Institute for Building Technology has approved Styrodur 3035 CS, Styrodur 4000 CS and Styrodur 5000 CS from BASF for double-layer installation in inverted roofs.

BASF has proven that the double-layer installation of Styrodur C in the inverted roof is possible in terms of construction physics. This means that the inverted roof, which offers several advantages for flat roofs, can be applied to meet particularly stringent insulation requirements as well.

Insulation material thicknesses up to 400mm are now permitted. Thus, future requirements for the insulation of inverted roofs can already be met today. An inverted roof is a flat-roof construction, in which the insulation material lies above the waterproofing, creating a layered structure that combines energy-efficient thermal insulation with long-term structural protection.

This design is made possible because Styrodur C absorbs hardly any water due to its closed-cell foam structure and the foam skin on both sides. Styrodur C has been officially approved since 1978 for use in inverted roofs. Up to now, only the single-layer installation of extruded polystyrene was permitted in inverted roofs.

The insulation panels for double-layer installation must be covered with a water-repellent and permeable separating layer in such a way that most of the rainwater runs permanently and securely off the surface. Thus, existing inverted roofs with single-layer insulation can be renovated so that they comply to modern insulation standards. They can be upgraded at low cost and under any weather conditions by supplementing the existing waterproofing and insulation by a second insulating layer of Styrodur C and by a separating layer.

Also new buildings with particularly effective thermal insulation can now reap the benefits of the inverted roof and so comply to the latest energy consumption standards: in the inverted roof, the waterproofing is protected by the insulation layer against thermal and mechanical stress. So, the service life of the roof is considerably prolonged.


Environmental accreditation

Nationwide Windows has been accredited to IS14001.

The ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard recognises a company’s environmental processes and impact. It forms part of Nationwide Windows existing environmental policy and commitment to on-going improvement of its operation’s production efficiency and sustainability.

Chris Costall, health, safety and environmental manager at window fabricator Nationwide said: “The benefits of pursuing ISO 14001 speak for themselves in terms of reducing energy consumption, waste and ultimately running costs, making better use of resources and raw materials makes both good environment and business sense for all.

“We’ve recently undergone a comprehensive environmental review of the resources we use, from pollution prevention, waste management and recycling.”

As part of the review, Nationwide Windows invested in a CK Waste Solutions twin-chamber baling machine to ensure none of its recyclable cardboard and polythene packaging waste ended up in landfill.

“We’ve been extremely impressed with the performance of what is a relatively small machine,” Chris said. “Its compaction force is incredible and we’re now receiving revenue for materials we were previously paying to have removed from our site.”

CK Waste Solutions can visit your site and provide free impartial advice on how best to help your company become more environmentally friendly while saving money on ever increasing skip costs.

Simon Wells: 07779 713 725


Sustainable short list

Profile 22 has been shortlisted in the sustainability innovation category of the Sustainable Housing Awards 2011 for its low carbon BRE rated recycled window system Reco22.

The fourth year in succession that the Epwin Group PVC-U windows systems company has achieved a short listing, Reco22 is manufactured solely from recycled material.

Using just 6% of the CO2 in production when compared to profile manufactured using virgin material, the system secured a dedicated A+ rating across all domestic applications from the Building Research Establishment in February this year.

This is a first and to date the only award of a dedicated A+ BRE rating for any window system in any material type. The system also boasts its own listing in the BRE’s Green Book Live.

Achieving a U-value of as low as 0.8W/m2K, Reco22 also delivers significant energy and by implication CO2 savings in life.

Andrew Reid, commercial sales development director, Profile 22 said: “We have a window that in using recycled profile dramatically cuts the CO2 used in production and by combining recycled content with advanced thermal performance will help cut CO2 during its service life.

“It supports the sector in hitting targets in new build in the Green Guide, the Code for Sustainable Homes and for cutting the carbon footprint of existing social housing.”

The Sustainable Housing Awards, organised by Inside Housing magazine and its sister publication Sustainable Housing, focus on the best green social housing projects and innovations. Last year nearly 600 people attended the event, which was hosted by comedian Mark Watson, and in 2009 Jon Snow was the master of ceremonies.


Free light bulbs

Totalight is giving away its new ‘next generation’ dimmable LED lamps in return for a share of the energy savings that they create.

These new lights replace energy hungry 50W GU10 halogens and match them with the latest dimmable capability, yet are powered by just 5.3 watts of electricity. The power saving is considerable, claims Totalight and this is how the company recoups the initial outlay for the lamps, as an alternative to a traditional outright purchase.

To agree the payback, those receiving the lamps disclose the pence per kilowatt of electricity that they are paying and agree the average hours of daily usage. Using these figures, Totalight calculates and agrees a percentage share of the recipient’s future savings. This is then payable on receipt of energy bills over a two-year period, ensuring that from the moment the lamps are installed the recipient is achieving energy savings with no initial cost. After two years, full ownership is transferred to the recipient, who then receives all ongoing energy savings.

Totalight managing director, Mark Blanchfield, said: “We want to make energy saving as simple and achievable as possible. By giving our new lamps away, we smash any reluctance caused by the high purchase price seen currently in the LED market. Our aim isn’t only to save our customers money on their electricity bills, but also to help them to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint helping towards CRC.”

An example organisation replacing 1,000 halogen lamps for Totalight LEDs would save about 90% on their energy bills, cutting £11,000 off each year. In this example the money saving is enhanced by carbon output savings of 41 metric tons per year.


Never-ending improvements

The new Infinity Window System from Veka can achieve a U-value of just 0.80 W/m²K, following stringent testing on the recycled window system.

The Infinity system contains up to 80% recycled material, and its co-extrusion means that all external surfaces are virgin polymer, therefore colour-stable and free from lead-based additives.

The Infinity system, launched last year is an entirely co-extruded system comprising ten window and door profiles, all fully compatible with the existing Matrix 70 system. The U-value of 0.80 W/m²K is achieved using glass units filled with argon gas, and not krypton.

Veka sales and marketing director, Colin Torley, said: “It took a leap of faith for our first client to take the recycled route, but now many others are sure to follow and the industry is now more than ready to accept a recycled product.”


Plastic fantastic

EcoSheet is a new panel, produced in Luton by 2K Manufacturing, and is made entirely from waste plastic.

The UK currently landfills over 4.5m tonnes of plastic every year, with only a small fraction ever being recycled.

EcoSheet’s waterproof durability make it suitable for wide ranging applications across many industries. One prominent usage is in construction site hoarding, with many leading companies such as Willmott Dixon, Miller Construction, Morgan Sindall and Wates all using the product, and national framework agreements with Lend Lease, The Apollo Group, ISG Pearce and ASDA.

EcoSheet also works well in fabrication, meaning it can be turned into everything from desks to exhibition stands to animal houses. Innovative companies are taking this pioneering material into many new areas.

EcoSheet can currently be seen on the Gold Medal winning World Vision Garden at Hampton Court or, less exotically, on a number of construction sites in the form of hoarding.

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