Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry


With honours

AGC Glass has been used on the new Business School and Student Hub at Manchester Metropolitan University’s city centre campus.

The diamond-shaped building’s facade is constructed from around 8,000m2 of unitised panels, alternating between flat vision panels and projecting bay panels assembled using AGC Glass.

A cantilevered section, featuring a dichroic film from a specialist supplier incorporated into the projecting panels, creates a different colour effect depending on the angle from which the building is viewed and the light conditions. The building’s dynamic design also includes extensive use of grey and white ceramic fritting, supplied by Croatian glass processor Formator, to the internal and external faces of the double glazed units to achieve the architect’s desired aesthetic effect as well as to control heat gain and modulate light into the building.

AGC worked in partnership with internationally renowned facade specialists, Permasteelisa. In addition to a 1.2W/m2K U-value, the new building required a combination of high performance tempered glasses from AGC including pyrolitic reflective, low-emissivity and low iron ultra clear products.

The building’s glazed façade involved almost 10,000m2 of AGC’s Stopsol Supersilver Clear reflective glass to provide enhanced solar protection and high light transmission. In addition, 1,000m2 of 10mm Stopray Clearvision 50T from AGC was specified. This magnetron coated low-emissivity solution combines solar control in summer with thermal insulation in winter, and has the added benefit of Clearvision’s extra clarity. This option is also one of AGC’s toughenable coated glasses, designed to optimise processing efficiency, flexibility and profitability.

Manchester Metropolitan University’s new Business School and Student Hub boasts strong green credentials with the use of renewable energy sources, energy efficient heating and lighting, and high performance glazing courtesy of AGC and its partners. The building has been certified ‘Excellent’ under the BREEAM environmental assessment scheme.


Passing on benefits

Covers Builders Merchants installed Azur Solar products on six of its branches in southern England. The result of which, the firm benefited from extra income, as well as selling it on to domestic customers.

“At Covers we are committed to sustainability which is why we are adopting solar PV from Azur Solar across the company,” explained Rupert Green, the director in charge of Sustainability at Covers. “We have started reaping the benefit of reduced energy costs within our branches and have gone one stage further by marketing ‘Azur Solar Power Kits’ to our customers through our newly remodelled Eco Centre. Working with our installation partners we have completed seven domestic installations, with many others in the pipeline.”

Solar PV installations have been completed at an initial six Covers locations and these are now being used as reference sites. They comprise both the Covers Home Ideas store and the Covers Trade Centre at Chichester and the depots at Aldershot, Bognor, Gosport, and Portsmouth.

So far 2,055 panels and 26 inverters, delivering a total of 473 kWp have been commissioned. Covers plan to install Solar PV on two more depots later in the year. Covers selected Azur Solar’s unique Azur 2P self cleaning, self healing coated panels for its coastal branches as they not only help prevent sea salt and other particles covering the panels but they also produce up to 15% more lifetime power.

Shopping around

Marley Eternit’s Natura fibre cement rainscreen cladding have been used on the £16m Fieldhead Estate Regeneration project in West Yorkshire.

Architects Michael Hyde Associates (MHA) specified Natura with a Pro coating in Ruby for the retail units. This warm, rich colour provides an appealing contrast to the render finish used on the surrounding residential and community buildings.

Natura has a tactile, smooth and semi-translucent surface, which allows the natural variegation of the fibre cement to show through. The optional Pro coating provides good protection against many types of staining, including graffiti produced by common aerosols.

Natura panels are easy to fit and in the case of this project were screw fixed to a timber substrate mounted on the block built cavity walls. In addition, fibre cement has one of the lowest levels of embodied energy of any cladding material and this development has achieved a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating.

David Mirfin, a Director at MHA, said: “We specified Natura in Ruby colour because we wanted the retail units to create a warm, welcoming impression with shoppers.”

The project was led by the Kirklees Community Association working in partnership with social housing specialist Keepmoat and Kirklees Council. Keepmoat’s associated company Bramall Construction built the new retail units and the Natura panels were installed by Leeds based Compass Northern.

Marley Eternit fibre cement rainscreen cladding panels can achieve an A+ rating as defined in the BRE Green Guide to Specification based on generic rating for autoclaved fibre cement single sheet.


Green model aims

The Raploch URC – a charitable company set up to oversee the long-term economic and social regeneration of Stirling – has commenced work on Scotland’s first ever mass timber, mixed use, low carbon development, which will create a mix of eco-friendly apartments and commercial units.

Funded by the Town Centre Regeneration Fund the building will be constructed by Cruden Homes East and located in Raploch’s Huntly Cresent, in the shadows of Stirling Castle. It will comprise three commercial units (two at 76m2 and one at 96m2) on the ground floor and three two-bedroomed apartments on the first floor and is expected to be completed by spring 2012. It is anticipated that the build will support six jobs in the local area.

Construction began in August. To meet its low carbon targets, the building is to be constructed from cross laminated timber, which is imported from Austria as the product is unavailable in Scotland. The external walls will be constructed to specifications which are recognised for their advantages in terms of sound absorption and transmission, air-tightness and thermal conductivity. The building will be finished externally with zinc roofing and cladding with rainscreen cladding at street level.

It is also the Raploch URC’s intention to install minimum micro-renewable equipment, with the inclusion of solar thermal panels for heating water and air source heat pumps for heating in the domestic units. An electronic building monitoring will be installed to measure the amount of energy used by the building in kwhrs. This information will be downloaded to enable the URC to analyse the data and the efficacy of the building as a low-carbon structure.

Kevin Braidwood, head of physical built environment at the Raploch URC, said: “As we have progressed to date we have met a number of challenges, for example addressing the issue of occupancy use and also satisfying building regulations regarding structural stability. However we worked closely with Building Standards to carry out a review prior to the Building Warrant being granted and have been successful in doing so.”

Sustainability in Architecture (SUST) has committed to working with the URC to develop a full case study of the project, looking at its design, energy and fuel consumption, use of micro-renewables and cost comparisons to similar projects so that the expertise gained by Raploch URC can be shared with others.

Social housing Passivhaus flats

The first social housing flats in the UK to be built to PassivHaus standards had the help of heat recovery ventilation and air source heat pumps.

The three flats making up Rowan House in Sivell Place, Exeter, have designed out the need for a conventional heating system through the use of the PassivHaus design standards incorporating Total Home Environment’s recently PassiveHaus certified Genvex GES Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery Unit.

The GES Energy unit not only provides the flats’ ventilation but also, during extremely cold conditions, provides the minimal heating requirements. This is provided by Total Home Environment’s self-regulating inline electric duct heater all controlled by the integrated control panel within the unit.

This integration ensures the systems are never fighting each other maximising energy efficiency. The 10 stage seven days per week controller has been set up to optimise user comfort by automatically adjusting the airflows throughout the day whilst constantly monitoring the desired temperature to within 0.1 of a degree. When required the system automatically adds extra heat or indeed automatically bypasses the heat recovery matrix to help cool the flats during the summer months. The built-in data logger provides over two years’ worth of temperature data (room, intake, exhaust, supply, extraction, fans speeds, summer bypass, call for heat and more).

This was an important factor for Exeter City Council, who manage the flats. The GES Energy mechanical ventilation heat recovery unit is designed to ventilate domestic properties up to 200m².

The flats will be for people over the age of 55 paying social rent, with priority for those downsizing from larger homes. Partly funded by a grant of £195,000 from the Homes and Community Agency, Rowan House has been built to meet very high sustainable standards. A further 18 PassivHaus homes will be constructed in Exeter and the project is one of more than 50 PassivHaus schemes underway in the UK.


Eco waterproofing

Firestone RubberGard EPDM waterproofing from Alumasc was used on the new eco-friendly visitor centre at the world-famous Batsford Arboretum.

The Arboretum, near Moreton in the Marsh, Gloucestershire, is home to the largest private collection of trees and plants in the country. The new visitor centre is part of a £2m project coordinated by main contractor BEAM Construction (Cheltenham) and funded by the Batsford Foundation.

The scheme incorporates a number of environmental features including a ground source heat pump, sheep’s wool insulation and a low-profile roof which will reduce volume and minimise energy consumption.

Following careful consideration of the surrounding landscape, John Falconer Architects presented a ‘wave’ roof design to emulate the rolling Cotswold Hills, thus minimising the visual impact of the Centre. Firestone RubberGard EPDM waterproofing was chosen for the project due to its eco-credentials, ability to form clean edge detail and its life expectancy of up to 50 years.

RubberGard EPDM is a fully cured single ply membrane composed of EPDM polymer and carbon black, offering resistance to ozone and UV radiation. Membrane characteristics remain stable over time thus providing a sustainable roofing solution which perfectly suited the Arboretum project.

RubberGard does not contain any plasticizers or flame retardants and as no toxic substances are released this allows collection and use of run-off rainwater.

RubberGard EPDM is available in panel sizes up to 15m in width and 61m in length, giving the benefit of fewer field seams and a shorter installation time. It is inherently durable, remaining flexible at temperatures down to -45ºC, is competitively priced and delivers low life-cycle costs due to minimal maintenance requirements.

Alumasc worked closely alongside Firestone Authorised Contractor Cardiff Single Ply Roofing for the duration of the project, providing full technical support on all of the roof details.

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Award winner

Andrews Water Heaters, part of Baxi Commercial Division, supplied the SOLARflowater heating system and MAXXflo gas-fired storage water heater installed at 23-25 Great Sutton Street, which won five awards, including the Sustainable Buildings Award for architects John Thompson & Partners at the City of London Corporation’s Sustainable City Awards.

The award recognised the exemplary upgrading of an existing 1920s warehouse to incorporate systems, technologies and materials that substantially reduce energy demand and emissions, provide sustainable energy supply, and minimise both water usage and waste. More recently, the building has also won CoreNet's 2010 Global UK Chapter Award for Sustainability and Innovation. OR Consulting were the Building Services designers behind the installation.

The Andrews SOLARflo system which supplies the building’s domestic hot water comprises solar collectors linked to a stainless steel cylinder which pre-heats the building’s domestic hot water and in turn supplies a high efficiency condensing storage water heater.

Four arrays of evacuated tube solar collectors mounted over windows on the second and third floors of the building’s south-facing elevation fulfill a dual function, serving both as heat generators and as brises soleils to minimise solar gain.

The hot water serves wash hand basins and showers throughout the building. Additional showers were installed during the refurbishment in order to encourage sustainable transport and this provision, together with lockers, towels and secure cycle storage resulted in an increase from 8% to 25% of staff cycling to work. It is believed that this made a substantial contribution to an annual reduction in the number of days lost through sickness from 461 to 181.

SOLARflo evacuated tube collectors are ideal for larger commercial water heating applications as they have a higher annual, average thermal efficiency than glazed flat plate collectors and, operating at lower ambient temperatures, they are capable of providing a higher annual percentage of domestic hot water. A further advantage of evacuated tubes is their ability to be rotated in order to maximise solar irradiation.

The complete Solarflo package also includes solar controls, pump station, expansion vessels, first fill of heat transfer fluid, and collector mounting accessories. SOLARflo evacuated tubes are Solar Key Mark Approved and, in common with the glazed flat plate collectors and stainless steel unvented cylinders in the range, carry a 10 year guarantee.

Sustainable sixth form

A new sixth form centre has arrived on site at Wymondham High School in Norfolk. The scheme has been constructed using a highly sustainable recycled modular building from Foremans Relocatable Building Systems.

Designed by architects NPS Group, the purpose-designed facility was craned into position in just one day during the school holidays to minimise disruption to staff and students. The main contractor is Farrans (Construction).

The single storey building will provide five seminar rooms for students studying a range of social science subjects, and sixth form facilities, including a break-out area, toilets and administration office.

All Foremans’ recycled modular buildings are fully refurbished with new windows, wall linings, partitions, mechanical and electrical services, doors, flooring, and cladding, to create high quality accommodation for a wide variety of education applications.

The advantages of recycled and refurbished modular buildings for schools and colleges include:
• Programme times reduced by up to 70%
• A cost-effective alternative to new build
• The buildings can easily be expanded, reconfigured or removed if accommodation requirements change
• Off-site working is maximised for safer, quieter and cleaner sites and reduced disruption to teaching
• High quality steel-framed modular buildings are built to last and require fewer ground works than traditional site-based construction – further reducing cost, disruption and programme times.

Victoria Musgrave, head teacher at Wymondham High School said: “This project will provide a high quality educational environment which will help to symbolise the start of a new era for the school and contribute to our aim of becoming a centre for academic excellence in the region. The recycled modular approach from Foremans will give us the very best scheme for our available budget and is sufficiently flexible to meet our specific building requirements.”

01964 544344

Conservatory for all seasons

FrameXpress was recently contracted to supply a modern, thermally efficient conservatory for a large project in Kent.

A stipulation was made which required the conservatory to be used all year round without the need for additional, expensive heating and ventilation systems.

Consequently a tailored solution using the Ultraframe thermally efficient glass system has been commissioned. The installation work has now begun on the project which is worth approximately £30,000 with completion expected by September 2011.

Stuart Green said: “It is gratifying to know that our commitment to provide the best, most advanced products to our customers is reaping benefits. As climate change, energy efficiency and consumer demand continue to alter on an almost daily basis, we believe that through the development of product initiative and diversification of the range we can offer our customers the individual, unique support they need as consumer demand increases.”

01952 581100

Sustainable school extension

GML Construction has created an ultra-sustainable building extension at Alexandra Infants School in Beckenham.

The extension features a timber frame and a sedum roof. The sedum roof was chosen to help create a natural environment for wildlife while boosting the building’s thermal and acoustic performance. It will also act as a learning focus for the pupils.

The building also features high performance insulation and windows to create a thermally efficient envelope. Externally, the £465,000 design and build scheme features a mix of timber cladding and render. The project, which saw the demolition of an existing structure before GML could start work on the new extension, also involved the creation of new car parking and a play area.


Sweet project

Profile 22 fabricator, Stafford has secured a two-year contract to supply foiled WER ‘A’ rated windows to Bournville Works Housing Society.

Set up in 1919 to provide housing for employees and pensioners of chocolatiers, Cadbury, Bournville Works Housing Society (BWHS), manages and maintains 314 properties in the Bournville area of Birmingham.

The project which began early this summer and will run for two years, will see Stafford, a member of Profile 22’s Approved Commercial Manufacturer Scheme, replace old timber, aluminium and PVC-U installations, with new Window Energy Rated ‘A’ rated windows across BWHS’s entire portfolio.

This represents the first large scale specification of PVC-U windows and composite doors to period properties in Bournville. In the interest of preserving the character of individual properties and the wider area, aesthetics were prioritised as part of project delivery.

Working in partnership with Stafford, members of the committee opted to select a cream wood grain effect foil finish from Profile 22, emulating the appearance of original timber windows.

Dee Benning, commercial sales and operations manager, Stafford, said: “I actually grew up not very far from here and you always knew Bournville was a bit special. On a personal level I’ve felt a lot of responsibility to get this one ‘spot on’ and to make sure that what we’re installing is as strong a match to original windows as possible.

“That we’re able to do that in PVC-U shows just how far our product has come. It’s still low maintenance but the aesthetics are far advanced.”

The committee and Stafford also worked closely alongside the specification team at Bournville Architects to refine window frets to deliver a strong match to timber originals.

Sam Chatterley, chair, Bournville Works Housing Society, said: “The aesthetics were important to us. We didn’t want to damage or undermine the character of individual properties or the area at large.

“The original product from Profile 22 was 90% or 95% there when we got it. The cream wood grain delivered a strong match to the old timber windows – it was simply an issue of refining it a little, for example hardware and fret bars to deliver a near perfect match to originals.”


Vision of the future?

South Wales RSL Hafod Housing Association has created newly built affordable homes at Cae Gleison in Bridgend to the Passivhaus standard by installing Sheerframe HED windows from LB Plastics.

Built by Holbrook Construction as part of a 31-home development for rent, the two Passivhaus properties owned and managed by Hafod Housing Association represent a step-change in energy performance for dwellings – the Welsh Government is watching with interest to see if it presents a model for future new build homes across the country.

Sheerframe HED triple-glazed windows installed by Cardiff-based South Wales UPVC provided an ultra low 0.8 W/m2K whole window U-value. These were integrated into Holbrook’s own timber-frame building system which facilitates highly insulated floors, walls and roofs and provides the wide ranging benefits of modern methods of construction.

This combination delivered a thermally superior, airtight envelope which has now been certified to Passivhaus by the BRE.

Alan Morgan, managing director of Hafod Housing Association said: “Hafod Housing Association is committed to providing sustainable, low carbon yet affordable housing for our residents. The market for Passivhaus Standard construction products has long been dominated by European manufacturers. We were therefore delighted to source a UK manufacturer that was able to deliver a window that could meet the strict performance criteria that the Passivhaus Institute demanded, at a competitive price.”

Director of Holbrook Construction Steve James said: “Hafod Housing Association has taken the lead on sustainability in their specification to Passivhaus and we’re extremely pleased with the result. With innovative products like our timber frame system in combination with Sheerframe HED windows, it is clear that new homes can be created to the superior thermal standard required if the UK is to meet its carbon reduction ambitions.”

Sheerframe windows are tried and tested in low and zero carbon homes across the UK including the highest Code for Sustainable Homes levels. The Sheerframe HED system was developed in 2008 by LB Plastics specifically for the required jump to much greater thermal efficiency in home building.


Total Home

Designed and constructed in 2003, the low-energy, selfbuild home of architect Chris Helmore has used renewable energy technology to provide ventilation, heating and domestic hot water since it was completed nine years ago.

The home now boasts a zero carbon rating following the installation of photovoltaic panels to reduce the reliance on electricity during the day and work alongside the original heat pump ventilation system installed in the home.

Built in the garden of the old renovated farmhouse in which Chris Helmore had lived since 1975, the single storey property was designed with south facing windows throughout and a sunroom to retain solar heat energy within the home.

The warm air generated by the conservatory in the summer months enables the property to use passive solar techniques alongside a Genvex 525 VPC unit to provide heating to the remainder of the house. The system works by taking the air from the conservatory, passing the warm air through the heat exchanger within the unit and distributing it throughout the property.

The Genvex 525 VPC is used for ventilation systems in which both extract and air supply is required. The energy is recovered from the extract air via the cross-plate heat exchanger within the unit and the residual energy is recovered by the heat pump, which also contributes to heating the home.

Domestic hot water is provided by a Vanvex appliance with an air to water heat pump, using the energy from the air to heat up the water independently of the heating system. As the plan of the house is dictated by a passive solar design, the bathrooms are at opposite ends of the building. A pump on a time switch is therefore required to ensure hot running water is available from each bathroom with minimum heat loss when the water is not required.

Total Home Environment has provided support for both systems since installation, using the company’s 12 years’ experience supplying heat recovery ventilation and air-source heat pumps.

Chris Helmore said: “The Genvex system uses only 1kW to heat the whole house. Underfloor heating in the kitchen and two bathrooms provides a small amount of additional heating and a fan convector is used at intervals over a three-week period during the extremely cold winter. The engineer was an extremely nice guy, very polite and he was obviously very knowledgeable. I have been very impressed with the company’s dedication to its customers.”


Diving into energy saving

Aquamat pool covers have been specified to help tackle the energy efficiency requirements at the recently refurbished National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace, which will be used as a training facility during the lead up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The £13 million project at Crystal Palace has included an installation of a combined heat and power (CHP) based system which has been funded by the London Development Agency (LDA).

The nationally significant, mixed sports facility owned by the LDA and operated by Greenwich Leisure, contracted Vital Energi to specify pool covers to help reduce total energy costs by up to £400,000 per annum.

For this, the biggest swimming complex in the UK today, Aquamat manufactured and installed covers and electric reel systems for the 50m x 20m Olympic sized pool, 20m x 20m diving pool, 7m x 20m infant pool and a 20m x 8m learner pool.

Dick Goodall, proprietor at Aquamat said: “We are extremely pleased to be involved in such a significant project with its connections to the 2012 Olympics. Aquamat’s covers were exactly what were needed to help save energy costs. If the pools were left uncovered at night, it would cost National Sports Centre about £100,000 in wasted energy.”

The use of Aquamat’s 6mm Heat Retention Covers on each pool were particularly suitable due to their heavy-duty closed polyethylene foam meaning it gave Crystal Palace huge savings on fuel bills from the reduction in heat loss from the surface of the pool.

Aquamat’s 3m high Opal roller was used for each pool, which was designed and wall mounted by them. Due to Aquamat’s flexibility they were able to fit each roller to Crystal Palace’s requirements. Fitted with a 24v DC motor, the rolling tube will provide additional safety and keep running costs to a minimum each year.

Substantial savings in energy and carbon emissions on the whole project is being achieved with payback times on investment in less than three years. The project has estimated carbon dioxide savings of up to 1,850 tonnes per annum for 20 years. The savings in running costs will also greatly enhance the future viability of the Sports Centre.


Sustainable drainage

The £15 million Moor Park Health and Leisure Centre development in Blackpool features an eco-friendly drainage system which has been incorporated into the play area and park around the scheme. It is thought to be the first sustainable urban drainage scheme (SuDS) in the country designed to be part of a play area.

Civil and structural engineering company BSP Consulting, of Pride Park, worked in association with Ashby de la Zouch developer LSP Developments and Tamworth architects West Hart Partnership on the Blackpool centre, a three-storey development that includes three GP surgeries, PCT outpatient services, as well as a library, gym and swimming pool.

The team previously worked together on a similar scheme at Freshney Green, Grimsby, which last year won the HealthInvestor Property of the Year Award.

“The scheme at the Blackpool development is particularly unusual because it contains no underground surface water drainage, so all the surface water run-off from roofs and hard-standing areas is managed above ground through a combination of ponds and ditches which take the water away from the building and allows it to dissipate into the park area beyond,” said structural engineer Paul Whittingham, BSP’s project manager for the scheme.

“Managing surface water run-off is critical to any development, and we are delighted to have been involved in what we believe is the first SuDs scheme that’s been integrated as part of the design of a play area and park.”

The SuDS scheme was designed by landscape architect Dave Singleton.


Energy saving glazing

Around 1,400 energy efficient IG units from FGI’s Everseal range are creating a sense of light and space at the new Saint Paul’s Academy in Greenwich, south east London.

The vibrant new building, featuring huge expanses of glass and sweeping curves, provides a purpose-built learning facility for 1,200 pupils as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme.

The high performance Everseal IG units specified for the project were assembled using Saint-Gobain’s 6mm Cool-Lite solar control glass and 6.8mm laminated clear glass. Everseal’s technical team supplied a range of spectrally selective glazing samples to assist the specification process.

“Cool-Lite was chosen because it offered the best compromise between light transmittance and the level of solar energy entering the building,” said Paul Newcombe, head of commercial projects at FGI.

Cool-Lite blocks out up to two thirds of heat by reflecting it to the outside, reducing the need for air conditioning in warm weather. And when assembled in double-glazed units this multifunctional glass also offers excellent thermal insulation, making it an energy saving glazing solution for all seasons. The glass has a microscopically thin coating on one face, which gives it a highly attractive appearance and reduces glare, while still allowing in plenty of natural light.

FGI Everseal was also able to meet a fast track supply programme and provide a Hiab delivery service on fully certified stillages in accordance with health and safety considerations on site.


Solar-powered learning

As part of a major £61m investment, including a new 18,000 educational building for its students, East Surrey College has installed 1050 Kingspan Renewables Thermomax solar thermal vacuum tubes to service its annual hot water needs, which significantly cut carbon emissions and lower energy costs.

The new landmark building in Redhill has been awarded a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good,’ with the large-scale solar thermal installation complemented by rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, a wood chip fuelled biomass boiler and translucent cladding panels for thermal insulation and high levels of natural daylight.

Solar specialist Rayotec specified Kingspan’s Thermomax vacuum tubes for the new landmark building due to their high performance and reliability. Rayotec’s operation manager Jac Rider, said: “This was a major development that required top-of-the-range technology to fulfil the substantial hot water demands of the college. We also needed to ensure that savings of 55,000kWh/annum were achieved to be granted overall planning consent for the building. Thermomax was the obvious choice due to its unrivalled high output capabilities and consistent, optimum performance levels.”

Specifically tailored for Northern European climates, Thermomax vacuum tubes provide up to 70% of hot water requirements throughout the year. The vacuum inside each tube allows energy from the sun to be collected efficiently and effectively and provides perfect insulation by protecting the system from outside influences, such as cold, wet or windy weather. The rapid conductivity and transfer of energy into heat means the collectors are up to 30% more effective than traditional flat plate panel equivalents.

“We needed to provide a highly efficient pre-heat system for two 3,300 litre cylinders that would work all-year-round, whatever the weather,” Jac said. “With Thermomax providing consistent solar-heated water to the cylinders at 43°C, we were able to make a dramatic reduction to the college’s energy use and subsequent costs.”


Speeding up refurbishment

City South Manchester, a housing trust with over 5,000 properties, chose high performance Styrofloor floor insulation boards from Panel Systems to carry out a major refurbishment for a residential property that had suffered flood damage.

The property in Hulme near Manchester needed a complete refurbishment, which included removing existing insulation and a suspended floor and replacing it with Styrofloor, an insulated floor panel, which comprises chipboard and Styrofoam, a thermally efficient extruded polystyrene.

Styrofloor is an easy to lay insulated flooring panel for both new builds and refurbishments. It combines insulation and floor finish in a compression-resistant panel, while eliminating the need for a final screed.

David Brown, team leader at City South Manchester said: “We were looking for 30mm depth of floor insulation and Styrofloor had the major benefit that it was supplied already bonded to the moisture resistant substrate chipboard. This meant that laying the floor insulation was much quicker, without the need to fix to a board afterwards and our team on site completed the whole house in just a couple of days.”

David Brown continues: “We plan to use Styrofloor for all similar properties constructed in this way when they are due for refurbishment.”

Panel Systems, which manufactures Styrofloor, has reported strong demand for its insulated boards from local authorities, housing associations and contractors looking for a quicker, more efficient method of insulating buildings.

Panel Systems also offers an ‘A’ grade Styrofoam as the core material which has environmental benefits, for projects where sustainability is crucial. This material uses carbon dioxide as the foaming agent, with an ozone depletion potential of zero and global warming potential of one.

0114 249 5635

Vibrant new centre

An award-winning city centre regeneration project in Wakefield is one of the first applications of a new addition to Technal’s MX aluminium curtain walling suite – the MX62 option developed to accommodate larger dimensions and maximise natural light.

Designed by Carey Jones Chapmantolcher, the first phase of the £140m Merchant Gate development is located in the heart of Wakefield’s historic Civic Quarter and has created a vibrant new centre for business, leisure and living.

Five high specification buildings and a multi-storey car park feature more than 2,600m2 of Technal’s facade systems, fabricated and installed by Dortech Architectural Systems.

The MX62 curtain walling was used for the ground floor retail units on each block, achieving large unsupported spans of up to 4.5m. This latest option from Technal enables architects and contractors to specify even larger sizes of glass to help reduce the reliance on artificial lighting.

A maximum weight of 600kg per transom can be specified for MX62, compared to up to 400kg for the standard visible grid system. It is available in three mullion/transom sizes – 80mm, 140mm and 200mm for further design flexibility, and will accommodate 8mm to 44mm glazing as a flat facade.

At Merchant Gate, Technal’s MX Visible Grid system was specified as bands of curtain walling for the upper floors of buildings E and F. This ribbon effect is ‘broken up’ with the introduction of glazed spandrel panels in shades of green, yellow and blue. In other areas, panels of glazing were set into resin concrete tiles and contrasting natural timber-faced laminate cladding panels.

The curtain walling was faceted to two corner elevations and also encloses the full height stair cores for the commercial and residential elements and the car park.

Finished in dark anthracite grey, the MX system carries a variety of glass specifications to meet the acoustic and solar control requirements according to the orientation of each elevation. Top hung concealed vents provide natural ventilation throughout.

Antony Hall, associate at Carey Jones Chapmantolcher, said: “Our requirements for the curtain walling were for a well engineered system with crisp lines that would appear substantial and robust. The concealed vents allowed us to insert windows into the curtain walling but with less visible aluminium, and the faceted glazing achieved a curve for two prominent corners but was a considerably more cost-effective solution than curved glass. The finished effect is very strong.”

“The use of the timber panel system adds a degree of warmth to the overall composition as parts of the scheme face a conservation area, and it has a unifying effect around the new public square. It softens the more modern edges of the curtain walling and the other cladding systems.”

0114 249 5635

Greener future

TWS Leeds recently underwent a comprehensive environmental review of the resources they use, from pollution prevention, waste management and recycling.

Tony Grindley owner of TWS Leeds said: “As part of our existing environmental policy, and our commitment to on-going improvements in our operations production facility, we wanted to ensure that none of the recyclable waste we generate ended up in landfill.

“We’ve also now established our own in house recycling facility at our purpose built site in Garforth. All the post consumer wooden and PVCU frames we remove from our customers homes are now segregated and the glass removed, this ensures that the three main waste streams we produce are all 100% recycled.

“As part of the environmental review we’ve also invested in a waste compactor which compacts both our cardboard and polythene packaging waste.

“The benefits of waste segregation and recycling are instantly obvious as not only have we become more environmentally responsible, we’ve also at the same time saved thousands of pounds a year in landfill tax charges.

“We’re also extremely grateful to Waste Advice (UK) Ltd for their help and expertise in implementing the procedures introduced, their advice has been invaluable.”

TWS Leeds: 01132 877718
Waste Advice (UK): 01625 876930


A 500kW system has been completed in Ransomes Europark, Ipswich.

EZsolar managed to complete this project just before the new FIT was implemented. Electricity from solar energy was created through high efficiency PV modules installed on the roof.

The City Council granted the planning permission to EZsolar which has been responsible for the design and installation. The photovoltaic panels, which represent the largest part of the cost of the installation, weigh 15kg each, weighing 32 tonnes, were well within the loading capability of the roof. All panels were mounted on frames to improve their elevation to the sun. Four 100kW inverters made by Zigour were used to achieve the installation.


Low carbon demo house

Town & Country Housing Group (TCHG) in Kent decided to construct a low carbon prototype home to act as a test bed for building to level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

In the process they used the H+H Thin Joint system with large format Jumbo Bloks.

The house is designed to be as energy efficient as possible, resulting in low running costs for the occupants. Essential to this is a ‘fabric first’ approach whereby the building structure is constructed to be extremely airtight and thermally efficient to reduce heat loss to a minimum. Using Thin Jointed aircrete significantly contributed to this way of building.

Paul White, TCHG design and quality manager said: “We used H+H aircrete blocks for the project for their high recycled content as well as their inherently high insulative qualities. This allowed us to construct thinner external walls than alternatives on a tight site whilst still achieving a low U-value.

“Using the Thin Joint system with the Rå Build method is a good option because speed of construction means the inner shell can be made weather tight extremely quickly, faster than using traditional masonry techniques thus preventing the structure becoming damp in wet weather and allowing other trades to start internal work earlier. Furthermore, the system offers some thermal mass (to help regulate the temperature in hot weather) over and above standard timber frame options.”

The home is designed to fit in with others in the area and cost £205,000 to build (including the renewable energy technology that was being trialled), on land already owned by the housing group.


Recycled granite

Hanson Formpave supplied nearly 2,000m2 of its EcoGranite paving for the construction of pedestrianised zones at SusCon in Dartford.

EcoGranite is the company’s environmentally aware alternative to natural granite, with up to 77% recycled content. Working in partnership with laying specialist, Interlock Paving, Hanson Formpave supplied 1600m2 of EcoGranite in Natural Cornish, sparkling white granite with black flecks and 225m2 in Balmoral, black granite with white flecks.

Carl Harrison, director of Interlock Paving said: “We have worked alongside Hanson Formpave on numerous occasions and the environmental requirements at SusCon provided an ideal opportunity for us to once again partner our specialist skills, meeting the tough demands of the specification.”

Architect, Stephen George & Partners LLP was responsible for specifying the necessary sustainable building materials, a task which included a major research programme into the green credentials of the products.

This research programme paid dividends and resulted in SusCon being awarded a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating with a score of 88.85%, following a recent BREEAM Education 2008 design stage assessment. At the time of the assessment this was the highest BREEAM score ever achieved for an education building.

James Nicholls of Stephen George & Partners LLP said: “EcoGranite is already a popular choice with architects and specifiers thanks to its sustainable credentials. We have been able to specify a product that meets both our aesthetic and environmental demands, without compromising on quality.

“Cost plays a key role in the specification of products, and the fact that EcoGranite is less expensive than natural granite, and matches its performance and appearance, makes it the ideal alternative.”

Promoting excellence in construction skills and learning, the £5 million building for a public/private partnership, led by Dartford Borough Council, Prologis and North West Kent College, also acts as a demonstration project designed and constructed using a wide range of sustainable products, methods and technologies. Main contractors, Winvic, managed the construction of the new centre.

EcoGranite delivers the appearance; performance and benefits associated with a natural granite product without the environmental impact. The unique mix includes stent and slag, by-products of Cornish China Clay and the South Wales steel industry, helping to minimise the drain on natural resources and avoid energy intensive quarrying processes.

With a regular surface and consistent joint widths, EcoGranite provides a non slip-skid surface, juxtaposed by a seemingly smooth, sparkling finish; working together to produce an aesthetic, pedestrian-friendly paving.


Light relief

Tenants in North Tyneside are benefitting from reduced electricity bills thanks to a donation of 8,500 energy saving light bulbs by Kier North Tyneside as part of an initiative to promote energy efficiency amongst the council’s 16,000 residents.

Kier North Tyneside, a joint venture company between Kier and North Tyneside Council, donated the bulbs while carrying out repairs and maintenance works in conjunction with the council’s better homes department. The aim of the donation was to help reduce tenants’ energy bills and offer tips on leading an environmentally friendly lifestyle to the residents of North Tyneside.

Energy saving light bulbs use up to 80% less electricity than a standard bulb but produce the same amount of light. In turn, using less electricity results in properties producing less carbon dioxide, which is one of the main causes of climate change. According to research by the Energy Saving Trust replacing all the bulbs in a property could reduce household electricity bills by £50 per year and up to £390 over the lifetime of the bulbs.

Kier regional director for maintenance, Mike Furze, said: “Energy saving light bulbs are an extremely inexpensive and easy way of helping our residents to cut their energy bills while doing their bit for the environment. We work closely with communities to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour and we hope that by donating these light bulbs we can help promote energy efficiency among our customers.”

In addition Kier North Tyneside gave 200 bulbs to the Salvation Army to be given away to its service users. The bulbs were donated to Kier North Tyneside by The Rotary Club of Monkseaton Centenary, one of 68 clubs in the north-east of England and part of a worldwide service organisation of around 1.2 million people in more than 200 countries. The club’s aim is to give service to those in need, whether in local communities or abroad.

Future planning

Outline planning permission has been granted for a new development of 1,096 homes at Oakham, the County Town of Rutland.

Design, environment and energy consultancy LDA Design was appointed by Hawksmead to prepare a masterplan and design codes for a 60ha sustainable residential extension.

The masterplan's vision is to create a mixed-use development of residential, retail, healthcare, amenity and employment uses set within a characteristic Rutland landscape. The development will link with the existing urban grain of Oakham and provide an attractive gateway to the town from the north. It was designed to meet the aspirations of the local community, with a full understanding of the natural features of the site and a strong emphasis on biodiversity creation and good landscape design.

A key feature of the masterplan is the provision of a permanent site for the Rutland Agricultural Showground, which will include sports pitches for local clubs as well as landscape enhancements.

LDA Design has also been appointed as architect to design the first phase of the approved masterplan, for 140 homes, which includes two of LDA Design's own house types. The houses, designed to be light and spacious, have built in flexibility to meet increasing stringent standards of energy and resource efficiency. The design code ensures high standards are set for the housing quality and diversity of design, and gives developers like Hawksmead scope to modify its schemes to adapt to changing market needs and commercial considerations.

Office complex

Aluglaze panels from Panel Systems have been chosen for the new All Saints Office Complex in West Bromwich.

The panels were specified as part of creating a contemporary exterior to the building. The five storey office block (141,000ft2), which is being built by Stoford Developments for BT Liberata, an IT services company, will house around 450 staff. The building will be an exemplar for sustainability, due to its BREEAM Excellent rating, which led to the choice of an A-rated Styrofoam core for the aluminium-glazed panels.

Panel Systems produced 930m2 of bespoke Aluglaze panels, with a 2mm silver coloured aluminium face and the building achieved a very low U-value of 0.23 W/m2K.

Danny Phelan, sales manager for Panel Systems, said: “This will be a strikingly modern office space, but with a strong focus on sustainability, which was why it was crucial that panels were chosen for the exterior that met both the aesthetic and environmental credentials.

“Our panels have been supplied for many prestigious city centre projects and we are very proud of this latest addition to our portfolio. We worked with the contractor to produce a bespoke panel that met the client’s exact requirements for sustainability, performance and aesthetics and the result is a striking, iconic building in the heart of West Bromwich.”

The building has been created by Bowmer and Kirkland, with Stoford behind the development of this £75m office complex.

Aluglaze is an insulated infill panel comprising polyester-coated aluminium, which is vacuum bonded to a core of Styrofoam. Aluglaze is typically specified when aesthetic considerations are paramount and is available in all RAL and Syntha Pulvin colours. Panel Systems’ bespoke service means that Aluglaze can be specified to specific sizes and thicknesses to suit individual glazing systems and achieve U-values as low as 0.10 W/m2K.


Conservation contribution

Titon’s HRV1 Q Plus whole house ventilation units and CME1 Q Plus continuous mechanical extract units have been installed in Kingston Mills, a prestigious conservation project, in Bradford‐Upon‐Avon.

The project has recently been awarded a Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) award in the Local Regeneration and Renewal category. Titon’s ultra‐efficient HRV1 Q Plus ventilation units (with heat recovery) have efficiencies of up to 91% and are helping all the houses on the development comply with Level Three of the Code for Sustainable Homes, as part of a joint venture with Galliford Try, Linden Homes and Fuseland.

Titon’s HRV1 Q Plus has been independently tested by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and is Energy Saving Trust (EST) Best Practice compliant.

Tyson Anderson, sales and marketing Director, Titon, said: “The combination of very low power consumption and a highly efficient heat exchanger ensures that the HRV1 Q Plus is specifically designed and manufactured to enhance standard assessment procedure (SAP) performance via Appendix Q of Part L, yet small enough to be easily incorporated into apartments and houses where space is at a premium.”

The CME1 Q Plus incorporates a unique tilted impeller, single level ports and has a very large capacity of over 400m³/hr at reasonable static pressure, making it perfect for delivering System 3 of ADF ventilation for dwellings of up to approximately 300m² floor area. The unit’s unique design ensures it is not only very energy efficient but also very quiet too.

Thanks to its ground‐breaking design, the CME1 Q Plus is also easy to clean and maintain and the unit can be serviced without the need to disturb any ductwork.

The restored conservation project offers around 170 one, two, three and four bedroom homes together with shops, a restaurant and some office space in an important town centre, riverside location.

The aim of the restoration project is to create a seamless extension to the historic and vibrant town centre and is the culmination of many years planning and consultation.


Green church

The Church of England Diocese of Winchester is to go over to recycled PVCU windows for all future replacements in its 250 clergy houses, with Network Veka member KJM as installer.

Diocese houses manager Chris Mariner said the decision was in direct response to the clergy themselves, as well as the body’s environmental officer, who asked for a greener alternative.

He said: “We know the benefits of PVC but they were not keen on the conventional product. As soon as we heard about the recycled frames, they had no objection at all and we were very happy to commit ourselves to the change. We have also asked for all new windows to be ‘A’ rated so we will be saving on fuel use as well.”

The Diocese, which covers Hampshire, Bournemouth, East Dorset and the Channel Islands, is a long-standing customer of Andover-based KJM. It has a rolling programme, replacing windows in about ten properties a year, some of which are still single-glazed. Its new windows will be based on the Veka Infinity system, which uses up to 80% recycled material locked inside a co-extruded outer layer of virgin PVCU.

KJM and Network Veka fabricator Glazerite recently celebrated the first recycled PVCU windows ever to be chosen for a UK private house and Glazerite helped Luton to become the first borough in the UK to commit entirely to recycled PVCU for all future window replacements.

Veka also last secured the first-ever major contract to install the recycled product, with the Places for People Group.