Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry


Southampton sun

Dimplex is benefitting from lower energy bills and reduced carbon emissions at its offices near Southampton with a 61kWp solar PV installation of its own solar panels.

In the first phase of Dimplex’s PV project, in the summer of 2010, 16 solar panels with a total output of 3.68kWp were installed on the southwest facing office roof. The array performed so well that it was decided to cover the majority of the suitable roof space with a total of 268 modules.

Not only does the project cut the premises’ running costs and carbon emissions, helping towards the company’s carbon reduction obligations under the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, the installation also qualifies for the Feed-in Tariff, which makes payments for energy generated and exported back into the national grid.

The installation was carried out by Reading-based Dimplex accredited renewables installer Anesco. The modules cover the majority of the southwest-facing aspect of the offices’ roof, and are expected to generate up to 50,000kWh of electricity per year. As the modules use daylight to generate electricity, rather than solar radiation, energy is produced even on cloudy days.

Karen Trewick, marketing communications manager for Dimplex, said: “Solar PV has the capacity to make a real difference to any commercial building’s energy bills. We are closely monitoring generation levels here in Southampton – in just the first two months of operation, the extended array produced nearly 19,000kWh. And as we run solar PV training courses here, it’s ideal to have a working installation on site.”


Carbon management

In response to the NHS Carbon Management Programme, Whitchurch Community Hospital has installed of a biomass boiler, which should halve the hospital's current carbon emissions with a highly efficient renewable heating technology that produces very little ash and minimal emissions other than water vapour.

Installed during the extremely cold winter, the 250kW output Biomatic boiler immediately had to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide much needed heat for the patients, and its performance was impressive, according to the person responsible for installing it. “At peak times the boiler was using 20 tonnes of wood each week. Its performance from day one has been fantastic,” Mike Ball, estates officer said.

The boiler is fuelled by wood pellets, purchased from a local company through NHS Purchasing. During the winter the storage silo for the pellets has been filled every two to three weeks, but since then the demand has reduced in line with an increase in the temperatures outside.

From the storage silo, the fuel feed to the boiler is fully automatic via a mechanical auger and intermediate hopper system with infra-red fuel level sensor, which reduces cycling of the feed auger, reducing wear and tear and saving energy. Safety features include three-stage burn-back protection, with pressure and temperature sensors interlocked to the boiler control.

Unlike many biomass boilers which require continuous burning and trickle fuel feed to stay alight, the Biomatic boiler features fully automatic ignition with self-extinguish and auto-restart during periods of no demand, saving fuel and reducing carbon emissions.

While saving energy and reducing carbon emissions, the boiler will provide an economic boost to the community hospital as well. The cost for the installation of the boiler falls to the PCT capital budget, while the expected Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) money from central government will be given directly to the hospital.

“The installation had to be achieved within a tight timeframe and we received fantastic support from Hamworthy,” Mike said. “The company didn’t just provide a biomass boiler they supported us throughout the entire project, providing us with advice on fuel selection, handling, delivery and storage. They have enabled the Trust to deliver environmentally sustainable heating at highly efficient levels of performance.”


Mayor calls for world class

The Mayor of London has announced the final shortlist of developers for the 50 acre Silvertown Quays site in east London’s Royal Docks, located within the new Royal Docks Enterprise Zone.

The shortlisted developers are now invited to work with the London Development Agency to come up with detailed proposals that meet the Mayor of London and Mayor of Newham’s vision to create a world-class development that provides quality jobs and creates a sustainable community on the former docks site.

The developers and consortia invited to come up with detailed proposals are:

• Chelsfield Consortium (Chelsfield Partners, First Base and Imagination Europe)
• DV4 (advised by Delancey Real Estate Asset Management) (Delancey)
• St George Central London

Their selection follows an assessment of their outline proposals for the site, judged against criteria that include innovation, ambition and deliverability. The shortlisted developers will start working with the LDA and Newham next week on their more specific ideas.

The Mayor announced this while attending the topping out ceremony for global giant Siemens' new sustainability centre in the Royal Docks known as ‘The Crystal’. Set to open next year, it is located in the Mayor's Green Enterprise District and is being built to innovative environmental standards.

The Crystal will show how the latest infrastructure technology can make the world’s cities better places to live and work now and in the coming decades. The Green Enterprise District is part of the Mayor's plans to attract low carbon investment and create green collar jobs to make London a leading centre of environmental goods, services and skills.

More recently, the Mayor of London and Newham Council successfully negotiated an Enterprise Zone for the Royal Docks which will offer inward investment incentives to help maximise development opportunities within the Royal Docks.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “I want to see lasting jobs created and new sustainable communities emerge from this prime development opportunity which also acts as a catalyst for change across the wider area that has been neglected for so long.”


Clever lights

King's College London has replaced manually switch-operated ceiling lights with approximately 800 high-frequency sensor controlled lights from Steinel at one of its chief halls of residence, a move that will provide payback within two years and help fund the next energy/carbon reduction project at this education establishment.

King’s College London has had a long commitment to carbon minimisation, particularly in the nine years that Keith McIntyre has been energy and environment manager; it was one of the first colleges to receive the EN 16001 energy management standard and is now looking at the ISO 50001 equivalent.

One of the latest energy reduction projects came about as a result of constantly finding lights left on at the college’s Great Dover Street Halls of Residence. Here, 769 en-suite single bedrooms are located in 113 apartments served by a network of totally enclosed corridors (no natural light). Lights were often left on around the clock, 365 days a year.

One of the biggest challenges at universities and colleges is behavioural change, especially considering that the turnover of students in residence is so rapid; no sooner has one cohort absorbed the thinking, than they have been replaced by a new intake. The answer was to use ‘intelligent’ lighting.

“We had quite a demanding specification,” admits Mr McIntyre. “We wanted a light with an integral control system, as well as energy savings. Initially I couldn’t see anything on the market suitable, but then I saw the Steinel RS PRO 500 high-frequency sensor light at an exhibition – it was just being launched and it struck me there was nothing else like it.”

In 2009 the college installed the first phase of 200 Steinel lights, equating to a whole block of six floors with two corridors on each floor.

“The RS PRO 500 has totally solved our problem,” Mr McIntyre said. “The students have some low level background lighting [from the 3w LED module] with the main low energy lamps [2 x 13W] activating as soon as someone enters the corridor. Further lamps activate as the person moves along the passage. The lamps remain on for 15 minutes before switching off automatically.”

Each Steinel RS PRO 500 features high-frequency sensors that guarantee detection accuracy in 360°, at a distance of up to 8m. The sensors do their work regardless of ambient temperature or direction of movement. They provide switching performance that's virtually instant and are integrated more or less out of sight.

King’s College London has now ordered for the final phase of three blocks, which will bring the total number of Steinel RS PRO 500s at Great Dover Street to around 1,000. Funding for the project has been aided by the college’s participation in the 'invest to save scheme' through Salix, an independent, publicly funded company set up to accelerate public sector investment in energy efficiency technologies.


A rubbish road bridge

One Welsh company has just completed a European first – by turning 50 tonnes of waste plastic into a record 90-foot Thermoplastic road bridge suitable for heavy goods vehicles.

Vertech, a relatively new start-up company, partnered with Dawyck Estates, specialist bridge designer Cass Hayward, Cardiff University’s School of Engineering, Rutgers University’s AAMIPP Department and Axion International, with support from the Welsh Assembly Government, to make the project a reality.

The bridge, spans the River Tweed at Easter Dawyck in Peeblesshire and forms part of the historic John Buchan Way. It was built off-site and assembled in just four days by a team from Glendinning Groundworks, a local Peeblesshire contractor, and 10 Field Squardron (Air Support), Royal Engineers. Being made from plastic it won’t rust, requires no painting or regular maintenance, and it is 100% recyclable.

Vertech hopes that this process can be used around Europe to make better use of plastic waste and avoid sending it to landfill or shipping it to China. Vertech will also be manufacturing sheet materials using the same technology for use by the European construction sector as a replacement for plywood, MDF and laminates. In doing so, Europe would be able to convert a large volume of plastic waste into high performance and sustainable building materials to help meets its environmental targets.

William Mainwaring, co-founder and CEO of Vertech said: “We shouldn’t be sending so much of the UK’s waste plastic to landfill nor should we be shipping it to China. With this unique technology we can now recycle it ourselves to produce increasingly sought after high quality and sustainable construction materials for the European market.”

Professor Robert Lark Deputy Director Cardiff University School of Engineering said that this had been “a unique opportunity to contribute to the development and assessment of a truly sustainable construction material. This initiative has the potential to deliver durable, low maintenance alternatives to traditional structures manufactured from recycled waste, the benefits of which should be far reaching both economically, socially and environmentally.”

Professor Tom Nosker, R&D 100 Award winner and Professor at Rutgers University, said: “I have appreciated the opportunity to work on this recycled thermoplastic composite bridge very much, and appreciate the trust and confidence that has been extended by all involved to attempt this, which is probably considered by most as crazy. This bridge is the most beautiful I have worked on, and it went up in less than two weeks, which has to be some kind of a record for a 90 foot road bridge.”


Sustainable landmark

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES) has secured a contract to create a sustainable new landmark building, the Energy Technologies Building at the University of Nottingham.

The new 2,500m² facility will provide the University with a centre that is specifically designed for continuing and developing its world-leading energy research. With this in mind, the £6.4 million facility designed by architects Maber, will be an exemplar of low-carbon technology through the minimisation of its demands for heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation mediums from non-sustainable sources.

The building has also been designed to maximise energy from renewable and ambient sources with the sustainable design including innovative earth duct passive cooling which uses the thermal mass of the surrounding earth to provide passive cooling and preheating of ventilation air.

Working for main contractor Clegg Construction and M&E consultants, Aecom, BBES will be responsible for the design, supply and installation of building services including heating, cooling and laboratory water as well as transformers, propane chillers, biofuel CHP and research gases. As part of the project BBES will also be installing electric car charging points.

The company will also be integrating the building’s electrical supply with the University’s smart grid which will allow the University the ability to monitor and interrogate electrical load movements as part of its research. Work will also include BBES providing the infrastructure for some of the main research laboratories.

The development is targeting a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ accreditation for sustainability and with zero carbon being a design requirement for new public buildings from 2018, the ETRI building will act as a shining example of sustainable design and construction.

Starter for ten

Baxi-SenerTec UK is helping the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to meet its building energy management objectives with the installation of a pair of its Dachs Mini-CHP (combined heat and power) units.

UCLan, one of the largest universities in the UK with a student and staff community of more than 35,000, is in the middle of a programme to install on-site power generation technology that can reduce its need for grid connected electricity and help it “deliver year-on-year reductions in CO2 emissions”.

As part of this plan, the university installed two of Baxi-SenerTec’s Dachs Mini-CHP units, which generate electricity and provide heat for its Victoria Building. The units have been running for nearly a year and have proved so successful that the university is now looking for other potential sites where it can use CHP.

The four-storey building is home to the Northern School of Design and includes art studios, offices, a cafe and exhibition spaces in its 7,453m2 gross floor area. It was built in 1983 and two gas atmospheric boilers were installed at the time.

However, by early 2008, they needed to be replaced, as Andrew Poole, a director of building services consultant BES, explained: “We were engaged originally to undertake a boiler replacement design because the boilers had reached the end of their useful life.

“We initially produced a specification for replacement boilers, but subsequently we were asked to rework the design to incorporate CHP because the FM department felt that would be better for its energy strategy.”

Ruth Taylor, energy and carbon management officer, at UCLan had read an article about a Dachs CHP installation. She said: “That was the spark. We were interested in CHP because of the variable demands on the site. In the summer, we don’t have the same number of students and we needed something smaller to fit the existing space. The Baxi-SenerTec units fitted the bill perfectly and were a safe option.”

The key to a successful CHP installation is to ensure that the engine runs for as long as possible to generate low cost electricity. It is therefore essential to know that almost all of the heat produced by the engine can be used in the building.

The Dachs units were installed by Preston-based mechanical building services engineering company James Mercer Group. They are designed for continuous running with a design life of around 80,000 running hours. The reliable internal combustion engine drives a three-phase electrical generator, and the heat generated by the engine is captured and transferred to the building’s heating system.

The Grid will make up any power shortfall from the system’s electricity generation, and any excess power generated by the CHP will be automatically exported in the other direction.


Development is a wrap

For the traditionally designed Alvington Place housing development located in the Conservation Area of Alvington near Yeovil, Somerset, insulation was needed that could be relied upon to deliver superb thermal efficiency at the right price.

Having used Celotex’s renowned insulation boards in the past to great success, developers Strongvox opted to use it again on the cavity walls of the scheme.

The Alvington Place development consisted of a variety of 40 two, three and four bedroom quality homes, planned in line with regional design and constructed from established materials fitting in with the local area.

Strongvox selected 50mm Celotex CW4000 for the cavity walls of the homes at Alvington Place. Made from PIR (polyisocyanurate) with foil facers for improved emissivity, Celotex CW4000 offers an impressive lambda value of 0.022 W/mK as well as BBA (British Board of Agrement) certification and an ‘A+’ rating when compared to the BRE Green Guide 2008.The boards also hold uniform thermal performance across the product for supremely reliable performance. In addition to excellent thermal performance, Celotex CW4000 has low Global Warming Potential and zero Ozone Depletion Potential.

With a good strength to weight ratio, Celotex CW4000 insulation boards are easily handled and can be cut and shaped onsite with hand tools. Strongvox’s operatives placed the boards between cavities and held them in place with clip-ties to create a high performance thermal envelope. As the boards do not trap moisture – unlike fibre and mineral wools – they provide long lasting and reliable performance and are especially suitable for cavity walling, where high levels of moisture can affect the integrity of masonry.

As well as cavity walling, Celotex offers products that can be used in a variety of other applications, including pitched and flat roofs, timber and steel frames and in under-screed flooring.


Get ahead for business

Curtain walling, windows and doors from architectural aluminium systems supplier Kawneer feature on a mixed-use development designed as a £71 million gateway to Hastings for business visitors, tourists and residents alike.

At the centre of the Station Plaza scheme is a Kawneer-clad new £65million sixth form and further education college – the result of a fundamental review of post-16 education by the Learning and Skills Council. But the scheme also includes a primary care health centre and more than 100 new, mixed-tenure homes.

Kawneer’s AA100 and AA100 SSG (structurally silicone glazed) curtain walling, with 50mm sightlines, was designed, fabricated and installed by approved sub-contractor Leay on the ground floor and upper five storeys of the college building.

This is one of four BREEAM Excellent buildings linked by a large, light-filled glazed atrium. The Kawneer curtain walling was complemented by AA603 tilt slide windows on linear and convex elements of the building, AA605 low/medium-duty swing doors and series 190 heavy-duty commercial entrance doors.

Part of the Millennium Community Programme, the Station Plaza scheme has brought thousands of students into the town centre. It was built next to the re-opened railway station on an old goods yard bought by Sea Space, the economic development company for Hastings and Bexhill.


Sustainable Suffolk mansion

SEH Commercial has completed a significant renewable energy installation in a new build property in Suffolk which will generate over £40,000 through the Feed-in Tarif (FIT) scheme for the owners as well as reducing their carbon output.

The property – Paget House in Middleton, just outside Saxmundham – is discreetly tucked away in a quiet rural location set back from the road. The site which was previously owned by neighbour was acquired by a developer some years ago and Mr Cusack purchased it with planning permission to build his own property.

SEH Commercial, specialists in bespoke renewable energy projects was employed to install a ground-source heat pump (GSHP) and a photovoltaic system.

Simon Fowler from SEH Commercial said: “We installed the 14kW Dimplex GSHP using three bore-holes due to lack of space with each bore-hole 100m deep. The GSHP is the perfect solution for connecting to the property’s under-floor heating system due to its lower temperature and greater surface area to dissipate the heat. The GSHP should save around 750kg of carbon per annum.”

The double garage adjacent to the main house is the site for the 3.6kWp photovoltaic system which uses Mitsubishi 225Wp modules and is connected to the grid via a Fronius IG TL 3.0 inverter housed in a purpose-built plant room included in the design.

“The PV system should generate an estimated 2487kWh per annum (based on independent software) or 2460kWh per annum based on Government’s Standard Assessment Procedure (SAPs),” Simon continued. “The homeowners will be eligible for a FIT rate of 37.8p; this will give them an estimated £930 per annum from the FiT, £37 from the export tariff and £207 savings on their electricity bill per annum, giving an annual benefit of £1173. Taking inflation into account they should see a benefit of £44,880 over the 25-years of the FIT. On top of this, they will also save approximately 1058kg of Carbon per year from the PV system.”


Top marks

Aluminium elliptical and specially shaped apex framed windows were supplied and installed by fenestration specialists Total Glass as part of a major refurbishment programme at St David’s Haigh and Aspull Church of England Primary School near Wigan.

Working with main contractor ABM Ratcliffe, Total Glass also manufactured and fitted four large window wall screens and entrance doors, using the Sapa aluminium system, for a new extension with three classrooms next to the Victorian school building.

The school’s emblem was incorporated within the new 202 main entrance door’s safety glass.

Four Dualframe window wall screens and two 75mm casement windows were finished in a RAL 7016 grey powder-coated finish in keeping with the character of the 1840s main building, while greatly improving its overall thermal efficiency, security and aesthetics. Two circular windows replaced old single-glazed steel versions in each gable end.

Tinted anti-sun glazing was specified throughout to reduce glare on hot days and help produce solar gain during the colder months.

Head teacher Mrs Catherine Boulton said the floor to ceiling windows have greatly improved the levels of light coming into the building and contributed to a welcoming learning environment for the pupils.

“These large new windows not only complement the rest of the school buildings, they also let in so much light – despite the fact we are surrounded by trees,” she said. “They have made a big difference and the brighter interiors, coupled with improved thermal efficiency, will help us to reduce energy bills too.”

Other improvement works at the school, which enjoys panoramic views to the Pennines and beyond, included a new slate roof.

0151 549 2339

Exceeding regs

Off-site construction company, Yorkon, has handed over a new purpose-built satellite haemodialysis unit for Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. In independent tests for air permeability, the building exceeds Building Regulations Part L 2010 by 90% without any adaptation to the standard Yorkon building system.

The unit forms part of a £12m investment by the Trust to deliver more services out in the community in line with Government priorities for the rapidly expanding population requiring dialysis.

The 954m2 single-storey building was constructed to a challenging programme and comprises 27 steel-framed modules which were craned into position in just four days.

Syd Jamieson, project manager at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The Yorkon approach gave us the speed of construction we needed to meet our priorities for facility improvement. It was delivered on time and on budget, and we are very happy with the finished building. It has freed up space within the hospital for use by another department and has created a welcoming, high quality environment for our dialysis patients. We would definitely recommend the Yorkon approach and consider using it again.”

Designed by Yorkon, the centre features cedar wood cladding to the main entrance elevation, a blue fascia with co-ordinating blue doors and windows, and white render to the other façades. Facilities include an open plan area with 29 dialysis stations and four private cubicles, dirty and clean utilities, reception area, seminar room, kitchen, staff room/showers, IT room, consultation rooms and administrative offices.


Olympic awards

The London 2012 Olympic Velodrome has won its own award almost nine months before the cycling begins.

The Velodrome, which was designed by Hopkins Architects on behalf of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Better Public Award at a ceremony in London.

The Velodrome is one of the most sustainable venues on the Olympic Park in terms of design and construction. Sustainable choices were made wherever possible; from the sourcing of wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to be used on the track and external cladding, to the installation of a 100% naturally ventilated system. This ventilation creates a perfect track-level temperature, eliminating the need for air conditioning.

The design of the venue makes optimal use of natural light, reducing the need for electric lighting. It also has a low cable net roof system, creating an amazing atmosphere for spectators while reducing the amount of space to heat and ventilate.

Construction began in 2008 and was completed in February 2011.

Construction Minister Mark Prisk said: “The London 2012 Games are a golden opportunity for the UK construction industry to showcase the very best that Britain has to offer. With investment in sporting event related infrastructure estimated to be $200 billion over the next decade, the opportunity for UK business to grow is huge.

“I’m pleased that this award has gone to such a deserving building, I only hope it’s the first of many British gold medals that the velodrome will see.”

The award is part of the British Construction Industry Awards. It is sponsored jointly by the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Supply contract awarded

Bowater Building Products has been awarded a supply contract for its System10 Aluminium products by the LHC (formerly the London Housing Consortium) under the recent Aluminium Windows and Doors (A5) ‘framework agreement’ round.

The A5 framework agreement – now in place until 2015 – is suitable for low, medium and high rise housing schemes, schools and all other types of public sector buildings across England and Wales.

LHC is a not-for-profit consortium set up to provide effective procurement solutions for local authorities, housing associations and other public sector bodies. An LHC framework arrangement is an EU-compliant agreement set up with suppliers for the purpose of establishing the terms governing contracts to be awarded during a given period with regards to quality, quantity and price. Choosing LHC framework arrangements will, in most cases, help public sector bodies make significant time and cost savings.

System10 Aluminium is a, quality-engineered system that, for all exterior and aesthetic purposes, resembles an aluminium window in terms of the associated sightlines, performance and finishes, yet it exceeds the installation and maintenance criteria of ‘traditional’ products and delivers energy efficiency benefits way beyond those previously experienced.

System10 Aluminium 0.7 W/m2K options will meet Code Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, and comprise a 4-12-4-12-4 36mm triple-glazed unit (90% Krypton, Swisspacer V, polyurethane secondary seal), steel reinforcement designed for improved thermal performance, foam-filled chambers plus foam-filled thermal inserts.


Making history

Geze UK is helping to bring Scottish history to the streets of Edinburgh, as the world-class National Museum of Scotland opens its striking new doors.

The £47 million project by Gareth Hoskins Architects (GHA) has transformed the original Victorian building into a 21st century visitor experience and Geze UK was chosen to supply the welcoming glass entrances at street level.

The transformed National Museum of Scotland, required a series of doors to provide sustainable, safe, functional and elegant entrances and exits, which also complemented the traditional stone surroundings.

Two of Geze’s automatic TSA 325 NT revolving glass doors were chosen for the main public entrances, meeting demands for an aesthetic and sustainable solution. The 4-wing TSA 325 NT provides a high degree of insulation against the elements and noise, saving energy and ensuring a pleasant and uniform climate inside the building.

With public safety and easy accessibility in mind, four mighty Powerdrive PL automatic sliding operators were also installed; powering two single leaf pass doors that facilitate access for the disabled, and two for fire safety.

In the event of a fire alarm, the internal design of the building will funnel people towards the doors, which will immediately open to allow maximum space for visitors and staff to exit quickly and safely. The Powerdrive PL is an economical and reliable operator for big, heavy door leaves and large opening widths, providing convenience and safety, which is ideal for public buildings.

Geze UK’s operations director Simon Bowden said: “The National Museum of Scotland is a highly prestigious project, which is transforming the way the public can experience the country’s heritage. The welcoming entrance hall needed a series of state-of-the-art automatic doors and the TSA 325 NT operators provide an elegant and sophisticated entrance that fit the traditional style of the original building. The Powerdrive PL was the ideal solution for automating the extra wide doors thereby ensuring access for all and life safety.”


Optimising energy efficiency

The first council homes to be built in Manchester for 20 years are optimising energy efficiency through products from Glidevale.

Designed by architects Bowker Sadler and built by The Cruden Group, the 32 two-bedroomed bungalows are set to achieve Level 4 under the Code for Sustainable Homes, using energy efficient features including Glidevale Sunscoop tubular rooflights, which will optimise natural daylight within the hallways during the day without the need for electrical light.

Glidevale’s Sunscoop is designed with highly reflective tubing to connect the roof-mounted glazed dome to the diffuser set in the ceiling below. The design of the bungalows’ roofs and interior meant each roof mounted flashing had to be installed close to a valley and ridge between two adjacent roofs, with the connecting tubes threaded between the roof’s structural timbers to achieve as straight a line as possible to the diffuser mounted in the hallway ceiling. Alternative, similar tubular rooflights could not be installed without impinging on the integrity of the flashing for a weathertight seal, and with several bends in the tubing, each of which would reduce the final amount of natural light reaching the hall.

As a result, a 350mm dia Sunscoop SR95 is being installed in each of the 32 homes. Nick Thawley, Cruden site manager, said; “The homes incorporate a range of sustainable solutions to optimise energy efficiency, including timber frames, rainwater harvesting, heat recovery ventilation, solar panels, and the Sunscoops.

“Glidevale’s Sunscoop was the only tubular rooflight we could find that could meet the design and installation criteria without any adverse effect on the amount of light within. The design of its flashing is compact, enabling us to locate the Sunscoop directly above the centre of the hallway below, maximizing light while minimizing fittings and installation time.”


No longer mysterious

Pop singer Peter Andre recently decided to have Ultima Solar PV panels fitted to his property. The new high quality panels will enable him to generate electricity to help power his new West Sussex home.

The British manufactured panels are designed specifically for the climate in the UK, using tougher glass and bypass diodes to withstand the typical British weather.

Peter said: “I chose to have Ultima Solar panels fitted because of the environment. It is a great product and I would encourage others to do the same.”

Ultima Solar panels have a high power output and an 11-year warranty.


East Riding contract

North East window makers Warmseal have completed six contracts to provide high performance Sheerframe windows for new council homes across the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The windows, which deliver U-value performance of 0.8Wm2K, are playing their part in achieving code level 4 standard.

The £42 million housing construction programme by East Riding of Yorkshire Council is the biggest ever council home new build project in the region and is designed to help ease the chronic shortage of affordable homes. With a council housing stock of 11,000, East Riding still has around 8,500 local people on its housing waiting list.

Warmseal was selected by main contractor Hobson and Porter to manufacture and fit Sheerframe windows in combinations of cream and white or grey and white frames on six separate sites across the region. The windows were fixed into timber frame construction homes being built with funding support from the Homes and Communities Agency.

In total, the 331 new homes – a mix of two house types with three elevation variants – are spread over 34 sites across the East Riding. The homes are mostly two bedroomed dwellings designed for older people and young families. Designs have taken account of the need for ‘Lifetime Home’ provision.

The second phase of the ambitious build programme, in which Warmseal has been involved, will be completed by the end of 2011.

Green Guide environmentally A-rated Sheerframe triple glazed tilt and turn windows, made by Warmseal at their main manufacturing plant in Throckley on Tyneside, have other sustainable features: they incorporate Thermlock FP, a reinforcing material which gives the frames added strength without compromising thermal efficiency; the windows are made using calcium organic rather than lead or heavy metal based stabilisers; and at the end of their life they can be 100% recycled.

Says Warmseal MD Kevin Taylor: “East Riding is leading the way in the drive to provide new council homes for local people. Their commitment to sustainable development is commendable and we’re delighted to be helping them to deliver sustainable homes of the future.”

High-spec insulation

CW4000 boards from Celotex were specified for a new housing development on Cundalls Road, Ware, East Hertfordshire, which had a target to achieve Code Level 3 accreditation in the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes without the need to incorporate renewable technologies.

Located on the site of disused garages, the development comprises four three-bedroomed semi-detached houses and a four-bedroomed detached house. Designed by Bugler Developments and consultants Alan Camp Architects for Riversmead Housing Association, the Cundalls Road development was built in a series of projects that provides 18 new affordable homes across three separate sites in East Hertfordshire.

The scheme consists of traditional brick and block cavity finished with thermowood cladding. With sustainability of utmost importance, as well as providing a simple solution for partial fill cavity walls, CW4000 insulation was specified. Made from PIR with foil facers for improved emissivity, the product achieves a lambda of 0.022W/mK, helping the project meet the desired U-values. Its exceptional performance also helped ensure the project met Code Level 3 without the need for costly renewable technologies.

Celotex provided 1,000m2 of 100mm-thick CW4000 for the main cavity walls, plus an additional 1,000m2 with a thickness of 50mm for the recessed porch areas. The Celotex boards are durable, extremely lightweight and easy to cut-to-fit using hand tools. Once fitted between the brick and block wall, the boards were secured in place using cavity tie clips, creating a high performance thermal envelope.


Closed loop at Open University

The UK’s largest closed loop ground source gas absorption heat pump installation is providing low carbon heat to The Open University in Milton Keynes.

The heat pumps have been supplied by Ener-G, which worked in partnership with mechanical and electrical contractor Rushmoor Mechanical Services to install the technology at Building 12, a 2,000m2 sustainable new-build development that forms part of the Walton Hall campus.

The new building, which opened earlier this year, is targeting a BREEAM Outstanding rating. It incorporates natural ventilation, night time cooling, solar chimneys, automatic lighting controls, a green roof, solar water heating and photovoltaic panels.

Building 12 has been constructed as part of a wider campus development programme under a construction Framework Agreement between The Open University, main contractor SDC Construction, architect Ridge & Partners, civil and structural engineer PEP, and partnership facilitator Mike Thomas.

Ener-G drilled 13 boreholes to a depth of 100m+ to install a ground loop system that feeds four gas absorption heat pumps, with a combined capacity of 140kW heat output. This is supplying the building’s heating requirements and will achieve carbon dioxide savings of approximately 45% in comparison to a system heater via a condensing boiler.

Alan Burrell, director of estates at The Open University, said: “Sustainability and carbon reduction are at the core of our development principles and the heat pumps are working very effectively to deliver a plentiful source of low carbon heat. They contribute an important element to the University’s carbon reduction strategy.”

Paul Burley, managing director of Ener-G Sustainable Technologies, said: “We are delighted to deliver a project of this size. It demonstrates the effectiveness of the technology in supplying reliable, affordable low carbon heat. The education sector is championing the uptake of heat pumps in the UK, providing an important showcase for this fast growing sector.”


Cost cutting initiative

Mid Kent Windows, the Tenterden-based fabricator and installer, has recently taken delivery of a recycling compactor from Landfill Alternatives for its cardboard and polythene packaging waste.

Kevin Wells owner of Mid Kent Windows 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 our recyclable cardboard and polythene packaging waste ended up in landfill.

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

“Due to our continued investment in our staff and company Mid Kent Windows are going from strength to strength and continue to provide the quality products and high standard of service which has made us one of the South East’s fastest growing pvcu manufacturers and installers”

Simon Wells Landfill Alternatives national sales manager said: “Over the last few years Landfill Alternatives has offered free impartial advice to the fenestration industry in order to help them to reduce their ever increasing skip costs.”

Airtight envelope

Sika’s Membran, a versatile joint sealing system, was specified to ensure London’s latest apart-hotel was completely airtight.

Designed by architects Weston Williamson, the apart-hotel is a modern cross between a hotel and an apartment and designed for extended stays of up to three months. Located on the busy Tower Bridge Road, the new building sits on the site of an old antiques warehouse and incorporates the change of use of an adjacent vacant office building.

To provide an air and weathertight seal around the 120 plus windows of the new building, specialist contractor G&A Systems recommended the use of Sika Universal Membran. A versatile EPDM synthetic rubber waterproofing membrane, it has been designed to provide an efficient method of sealing construction gaps in building facades.

Thin and easy to use on site, the system offers long term performance and used in conjunction with Sika’s TF adhesive, it offers an ultra-strong bond to create an airtight seal. Solvent free, durable, UV and ozone resistant and 100% waterproof, it can be bonded to most building substrates. Being highly elastic, it can be used on uneven substrates, making it suitable for the most demanding project.

Easily cut to size, Membran helps prevent the loss of heated or cooled air from within the building, minimising wasted energy. With acoustic windows and glass being installed by G&A Systems, the system has also aided in the acoustic performance of the building by helping to minimise any noise from the main road. With the Sika Membran system in place, G&A Systems installed the building’s numerous windows ensuring a perfect seal around each one to create a sustainable building envelope. Due for completion in 2011, guests at the 137 unit apart-hotel will be able to check in to a fully fitted apartment while having full use of usual hotel services such as a concierge desk and regular room servicing.


Blackpool Eco-homes

Synseal windows have been installed in a development in the North West, by LDG Group, one of the region’s largest window companies.

Synseal windows and doors were installed throughout the prestigious £7 million eco-development, The Saw Mills, situated a mile from Blackpool town centre and seafront.

The 35 three and four bedroomed mews homes were built on a former industrial site for the Great Places Housing Group. The homes, which are available for shared ownership and affordable rental, have been designed and built to high levels of sustainability, using low energy services, including photovoltaic panels, and renewable, ultra efficient building materials throughout, including the windows.

The development was supported by an investment of £3.7 million by the Homes And Communities Agency (HCA), the national housing and regeneration agency for England.

Working with the main contractor, RP Tyson Construction, the LDG Group supplied 400 Grey ‘70’ PVC-U windows and 71 doors manufactured using Legend multi chambered profiles from Synseal.

Lee Plummer, general manager at Lancashire Double Glazing, a division of LDG Group, said: “Synseal was readily accepted for installation in the development due to their high performance and reduced internal reinforcement, which improves energy efficiency and reduces the amount of steel used. This was perfectly in keeping with the ethos of the development.”