Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry


Award-winning wood

The 2011 Global Cleantech 100 list features Kebony for its award-winning wood material – a product providing a solution to the use of endangered tropical timber and toxic treated woods.

Kebony was selected from thousands of entries and listed in the ‘Materials’ category against its achievements in innovation, market size and growth, and the resources to execute its technology.

The Norwegian company uses a patented environmentally friendly process of ‘Kebonization’ to permanently enhance wood properties – the result is an alternative to the unsustainable use of tropical timber and environmentally damaging toxic treated woods used in the built environment.

Kebony’s wood material has a wide range of applications including decking, cladding, roofing, windows, indoor and outdoor furniture, yacht decking and other construction materials. Recent projects include four sustainable beach shelters at Bexhill, the company’s first UK residential project Hurst Avenue in Highgate, and the Yarmouth Harbour redevelopment – a sustainable marine development and the first UK harbour installation to use Kebony’s decking material.

“It is a remarkable achievement to be featured for the second year running in the Global Cleantech Top 100 list. Our revolutionary technology provides an aesthetically pleasing eco-solution to the major environmental challenge of rain forest deforestation,” Christian Jebsen, CEO of Kebony.

Climate Minister Greg Barker said: “The Guardian Cleantech 100 is an outstanding showcase for innovative companies that are driving our transition to a global low-carbon economy. These are the real success stories of companies growing and thriving in a tough economy. These are companies embracing change as part of their business model. Businesses that are pushing the boundaries of technology.”


Insulation CPD

A new CPD seminar approved by RIBA and the CPD Certification Service, has been introduced by Kingspan Benchmark to examine the development of prefabricated insulated panel systems in unitised buildings.

The new CPD seminar created by Benchmark, discusses the benefits of off-site build wall units that can be over 7m high by 3.5m wide, combined with on-site ‘dry’ construction, allowing quicker and safer installation, greater predictability in work schedules and simplifying compliance with new regulations.

More specifically it looks at how insulated panel technology has developed from industrial cladding into a more advanced unitised system compatible with a large range of architectural facades from Kingspan Benchmark.

In this new unitised wall system, insulated panels are designed to operate as complete wall infill panels bolted to the main steel or concrete frame. This eliminates the need for any secondary support structure and enables spanning from floor to floor by using the wall as a diaphragm between the fixed frame. As a result the system is able to support a wide range of external facade options without the structural complexity of other approaches.

The system is highly durable and has outstanding thermal performance allowing the system (excluding façade) to achieve U-values as low as 0.095W/m2K. Furthermore, because the unitised wall system is installed using mechanical handling, large modules can be fitted quickly and safely without the need for scaffolding, weatherproofing the building and allowing follow-up trades to begin internal fitting while the facade is being installed.


Thin-Film PV panels launched

Pramac’s MCS accreditation means the company is now in a position to take a share of the developing UK market, in addition to its existing European and Global markets, the company said.

According to the company, Pramac’s panels are suitable for UK conditions – the high technology panels can produce higher annual output than the more common mono and polycrystalline panels.

The thin-film Micromorph moduleLUCE MCPH P7 operates for longer throughout the day as they are designed to be more effective in typical UK weather conditions, and be less affected by temperature than the majority of other PV panels.


SAP calculation service

Knauf Insulation is able to offer a comprehensive SAP calculation service via its Technical Advisory Centre (TAC), to help specifiers comply with legislation, particularly in relation to Part L of the Building Regulations and Section 6 of Scotland’s Building Standards revisions.

The service offered by Knauf Insulation takes responsibility for providing SAP calculations against all construction drawings and designs, and offers peace of mind to specifiers, contractors and developers for compliance with the Building Regulations.

Knauf Insulation's accredited SAP assessors will help calculate the planned energy usage of a building and where specification does not meet regulatory requirements, the experts are able to provide assistance and recommendations to help reduce carbon emissions and meet the regulations.

Paul Burrows Technical Advisory Centre (TAC) coordination manager at Knauf Insulation said: “With tightening legislative requirements, specifiers are under increasing pressure to comply at every stage of a building process to move towards the zero carbon target. We feel the SAP calculation service and regulatory advice that we are able to offer is an important and necessary requirement in helping to provide them with the confidence that the design and products specified are fit for purpose and that deliver a solution that complies with the requirements of the Building Regulations. Moreover, Knauf Insulation is able to identify areas where performance can be improved or cost savings can be made where more expensive solutions are not adding value.”


New installers course

Installers who want to find out more about Rehau’s range of pre-insulated pipework for district heating, remote CHP, biomass and heat pump applications can now register for a free training course to be conducted either at their own premises or even on site.

The course covers both the Rauvitherm and Rauthermex pre-insulated PE-Xa flexible pipes and includes key aspects such as fitting the Everloc leakproof jointing system, using the Rautool installation device and making insulated shrouds. It also covers maximum coil sizes and bending radii as well as back filling and pressure testing.

Designed for both first time and existing installers of the single and dual pipework systems, the course can be undertaken as part of the process of becoming an approved installer of these Rehau products.


Increased efficiency

CVO Fire has extended its range of energy-efficient gas fires to include new glass fronted models with efficiency ratings up to 85%.

Gas is still the cheapest form of secondary heating, CVO Fire, at over 70% cheaper than electric or wood.

These new fires are room sealed, require no additional room ventilation and will suit any property with a chimney.

The sleek modern design is operated by remote control with thermostatic operation. This increases the energy saving potential of the fire.

All fires are CE approved and have heat inputs up to 4.6kw and running costs as little as 15p/hour. The CVO gas fire range includes many styles including flueless, balanced flue and chimney visit website or call for further details.

Blending in

A new clay roof tile colour matching the appearance of solar panels has been launched Dreadnought Tiles.

The West Midlands-based manufacturer launched its new dark Staffordshire Blue in response to customer requests – and is now finding it’s much in demand with architects and clients wanting to make solar panel installations blend in with the surrounding roof.

“Solar panels challenge the aesthetics of most roofs, becoming the dominant feature because of the stark contrast in colour,” said Alex Patrick-Smith, Dreadnought managing director. “However, our new dark Staffordshire Blue tile reduces the contrast between the roof tiles and PV panels, delivering a more aesthetically pleasing finish. The tiles and panels, especially when set into the roof rather than positioned on top of the tiles, blend well together.”

The new dark Staffordshire Blue is deeper and richer than previous blue colours, matching the colour of Staffordshire Blue bricks. It is available as a machine-made (in both sandfaced and smoothfaced finishes) and also in the new Classic Handformed version.


Insulating concrete

Insulating concrete form (ICF) wall systems from ICF Tech can deliver energy efficient, low and zero carbon homes.

Architects, builders and developers challenged with meeting SAP 2009 will benefit from using the UK designed and manufactured ICF Tech systems as their design already incorporates characteristics and features that surpass the assessment procedure’s rigorous thermal demands.

With build methods such as brick and block, under SAP 2009, party wall cavities must to be sealed and filled to achieve the highest ‘zero’ U-value level – unlike the automatic 0.0 U-value assumption under SAP 2005. Using ICFs eliminates this issue completely as it is monolithic by nature and insulated on both sides of the concrete cavity – thus achieving the 0.0 U-value.

Additional ICF advantages are delivered in relation to the thermal bridging calculations required by SAP 2009. ICF Tech has modelled all the important junctions to determine a psi value for each one. This enables a true Y-value for the development to be determined by using a Design Y value (psi x linear length of junction) to achieve a value as low as 0.012 for detached homes.

The inherent characteristics of ICF construction also offer the thermal mass benefits of heavyweight construction and a greatly reduced risk of summer-time overheating which SAP 2009 aims to identify. This is due to ICF’s ‘decrement delay’ – the time (in hours) that a structure stops the passage of heat from the outside to the inside. Figures of between eight and 12 hours are considered optimum, but ICF Tech’s system achieves nine hours which compares extremely well with the three hours expected of some timber frame systems.


Flexible system

The Riomay advanced solar thermal system forms part of a simple, yet highly efficient energy transfer system that can heat water throughout the year.

Whether the system is domestic, commercial, small or large, the principle is the same.

The Riomay’s DF120 can be installed flat on a roof, at an angle, or horizontally on flank walls. The panels have been used as a attractive architectural features on homes, schools, leisure buildings and pergolas.


Pool cover finance

Aquamat, supplier of swimming pool covers, has launched a finance package to allow those with commercial pools to replace a pool cover to make energy and cost savings.

Aquamat’s 6mm foam covers, made from heavy-duty closed cell polyethylene foam, efficiently retain pool heat. Heat loss from an uncovered indoor pool has been calculated at costing 2.5p/m2/hr.

Payback or return on investment by installing an efficient pool heat retention cover can be as little as 12 months. For example, Aquamat can provide a fully installed 25m x 7.6m wide x 6mm thick high-density foam cover with an electric roller for about £8,500. Under Aquamat’s leasing package, the leasing costs would be £196 per month with an energy saving per month of £924 producing net savings of £728 per month equating to a net annual saving of £8,736.

For some companies and organisations, it will be possible to set the costs against profits as a capital allowance. While the huge energy savings allow for a fast return on investment in financial terms (less than 12 months), there is also the consequential saving to the environment through the big reduction in carbon so helping organisations to meet their carbon targets for the years ahead.

Aquamat covers also save on reduced evaporation and humidification. All products are designed and manufactured in-house to individual requirements and a full on-site survey service is available to advise on the best solution. Reel systems are included, either fully electric, gearbox assisted, or even a manual process for efficient pool covering and uncovering on a daily basis and to reduce the risk of damage to covers.


Eco facts on film

A short new documentary-style film exploring the use of renewables technologies in all types of buildings where we live and work has been produced by Dimplex.

The film, entitled ‘Living and Working’ focuses on a wide variety of different projects where heat pumps, solar thermal and solar PV technologies are in use. It examines the different challenges faced by specifiers and end users in maximising energy savings, in public and private buildings including an RNLI lifeboat station, a Hertfordshire school, the award-winning and historic Castle Howard and McCarthy and Stone retirement home apartments.

The film, which is available on a free DVD, can also be seen on the Dimplex website and the Dimplex You Tube channel (www.youtube.com/dimplexinfo) and is designed to provide inspiration for anyone involved in choosing renewables, explains Karen Trewick, Dimplex’s marketing communications manager.

“Although we have been involved in renewables for over 30 years, it’s still a relatively new concept for the UK and lots of people want to see the proof that the technology works. This film includes interviews with real users and the issues they had to resolve with their particular project,” she said.

The ‘Living and Working’ film is just part of a comprehensive package of informative material from Dimplex which provides installers and specifiers with collateral to educate and inform prospective customers as part of Dimplex’s commitment to growing the market.


Explaining to BBC Radio 2 Drive Time listeners recently how they can save up to 25% on their home heating bills, was Steven Henry, managing director of Chalmor.

The company has just launched eTRV, an electronic heating control with potential to save up to 25% on gas and oil central heating bills.

Steven was interviewed by Rebecca Brooke in this programme's regular Friday night 'tech' slot.

Picture, from left: Simon Mayo, Steven Henry (holding the new eTRV) and Rebecca Brooke.


Business boost

ITS Energy Efficiency, installer of PV panels, has reported a boost in business since it began using solar lead generation company Leads2Trade.

Midlands based ITS was looking for a low-cost and convenient solution to get its products in front of homeowners keen to have solar panels installed on their property. Having heard good things about Leads2Trade’s prospect generation service, ITS purchased their first batch of leads and were immediately impressed by the results.

Managing director James Lambert said: “We approached Leads2Trade because of their reputation for supplying quality leads to solar installers and since using their service we’ve experienced significant growth.

“The quality of the lead we are supplied means we don’t have the headache of trying to find ways to generate extra business and can concentrate fully on installing energy saving solutions.”

Leads2Trade’s sales director Andy Royle said: “It’s great to see that ITS has had such good results from using our service and we look forward to working with them over the coming months to keep growing their business.”


Passivhaus standards

Mumford & Wood, the Essex-based manufacturer of premium timber windows and doors, offer a range of Contemporary tilt turn products that achieve Passivhaus standards.

Mumford & Wood’s tilt turn window sections are available triple glazed and alu-clad. These Passivhouse Contemporary products will admit more energy to a building than will actually escape. This criteria is one of six building standards that comply to a Passivhaus specification and ensures the building has very low energy and heating requirements, some 90% lower than an average house.

Mumford & Wood’s Passivhaus Institute (RPHD)-certified systems achieve a whole window (U-window) U-value of less than 0.8 W/m².K which has been verified using EN 10077.

Triple glazed Contemporary products, which include tilt turn, alu-clad windows and doors, and sliding, lift and slide and bi-fold doors, provide a G-value of 51 – the percentage that indicates how much solar energy passes from the outside to the inside – being the required measurement of designs for both SAP and PHPP software.

“While our triple glazed Contemporary products provide good solar gain in cooler seasons,” Chris Wood, sales and marketing director, said, “it is important to discourage overheating in the summer with appropriate shading.”

“Our triple glazed products use a timber frame made from premium quality engineered timber as the primary material. This provides good structural strength and low thermal activity,” continues Chris Wood. “Our alu-clad option has similar frame sizes and this composite construction is responsible for maintaining the U-window value.”

Further Passivhaus measurements relate to gas retention, airtightness and ironmongery. Installation, a service available to some customers by Mumford & Wood, plays a significant role in the product’s performance and if poorly carried out can dramatically reduce the over-all effectiveness of a window which requires an air-tight connection.


Glass advancement

Pilkington has launched K Glass S – a new soft coated glass product.

Announcing the launch, David Pinder, managing director, Pilkington Building Products UK, said: “This advance in the Pilkington K Glass product range means our coated glass range offers the widest choice on the market. Customers can now easily find a solution for any processing technique or to achieve an A rated Window Energy Rating (WER) in any framing system.”

Pilkington K Glass S is a single stock coated glass which can be used in both annealed and toughened formats, with the added advantage of retaining the same thermal performance and neutral appearance.

Once fabricated into an IGU, it can be used in all types of windows and in a variety of glazing applications from new build to replacement windows in existing homes and conservatories.

Pilkington K Glass S helps ensure windows exceed Part L 2010 Regulations and provides an enhanced solution for changes expected in 2013 and 2016. When combined with Pilkington Optiwhite in an insulating glass unit, it qualifies for Pilkington energiKare energy-efficient glazing and ensures a WER rating of A in all frame materials.

BFRC, Certass and Fensa have all certified the K Glass S range as being interchangeable with any other low emissivity product, with equal or inferior performance, without the need to obtain new simulations.

The product is to be offered through selected routes to market from 1st November 2011 and will become fully available over the following months. Initially supplied from Pilkington’s coating plant in Europe, production of Pilkington K Glass S will move to a new production line following its completion in October 2012.

The establishment of a £36M coating line at Cowley Hill in St Helens was announced in April of this year. Subject to final approval, it will be supported by a £5 million award from the government’s Regional Growth Fund.


One of a kind

Saint-Gobain Glass has launched Planitherm One and Planitherm One II which boast an optimum centre-pane U-value of just 1.0W/m2K.

The new products are the latest additions to the Saint-Gobain Glass Planitherm range and are now available from stock.

Planitherm One improves the whole window U-values for all frame types, helping specifiers to meet and exceed Building Regulations requirements. The product is particularly suited to residential new build, light commercial new build and renovation applications.

When used in an IGU with a 90% argon filling, Planitherm One provides a U-value of 1.0W/m2K, yet maintains a light transmittance of 71%, giving it a neutral appearance.

Also launched by Saint-Gobain Glass is Planitherm One II – the only temperable low-e product with a 1.0W/m2K U-value on the market. The temperable version possesses the same aesthetics and performance as annealed Planitherm One and meets the safety glazing performance requirements of BS EN 12150.

“Thanks to the Saint-Gobain Glass ongoing investment in research and development, the Planitherm range of products is the most energy efficient low-e family of glass products on the market today,” Craig Dodsworth, residential market manager, Saint-Gobain Glass explained. “Planitherm One and Planitherm One II are perfect additions to that family and offer versatile solutions for architects looking to create comfortable interiors and to reduce heat loss.

“Planitherm One II in particular – the only product of its kind on the market – can help achieve this where toughened or heat-strengthened glass is required.”

Planitherm One and Planitherm One II help buildings consume far less CO2 because of the reduced energy required to heat them. Furthermore, daylight can be harnessed more effectively, cutting down on the artificial light required.

For a copy of the brochure:
01977 666154


Green balconies

Clear glass balconies from Balcony Systems are now even ‘greener’ thanks to the innovative self-cleaning glass coating that eliminates the use of strong chemicals to keep them clean.

Factory-applied to both sides of the glass, the patented coating creates a super-smooth surface that repels water, dirt and grime more quickly to reduce the cleaning cycle by around 90%. Instead of harsh chemicals, a wipe down with a wet cloth is all that’s needed.

Available across its entire range of glass and aluminium balustrading, glass Juliet balconies, and curved sliding patio doors, the self-cleaning glass coating is an important element of Balcony’s Green Policy in contributing to the company’s environmental credentials and reducing the carbon footprint of its products.

“Our special coating has three major advantages; it gives glass added impact resistance, protection from the elements, and dramatically reduces regular cleaning,” explained Effi Wolff, Balcony Systems managing director.

“Over time, the microscopic ‘peaks’ and ‘valleys’ on the surface of untreated glass traps dirt particles, which cannot be removed – even by strong chemical cleaning agents. That’s why, over time, glass discolours and becomes more opaque. Our coating evens out the surface so nothing can stick and keeps the glass cleaner, while also helping to prolong its lifespan.

“Today’s building products must meet many types of criteria, from strength and aesthetics to legislative, regulatory and sustainable requirements. By reducing the need for regular cleaning and use of chemical cleaners, our self-cleaning glass coating further demonstrates our commitment to respect for the environment in which we live.”


Harnessing solar energy

BASF’s Basotect melamine foam is in use for insulating the Gobi line of solar flat plate collectors by Heliodyne, Richmond, California, one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of solar collectors in the US.

The Gobi line is Heliodyne’s flagship product that has continuously been refined and optimized for over 30 years.

Heliodyne chose insulating Basotect parts, custom cut by the thermal and acoustic composite manufacturer Polymer Technologies of Newark, Delaware, to line the back and the sides of their collectors. The BASF foam shows excellent insulation capabilities as well as long-term, high temperature resistance.

Flat plate solar collectors use solar energy to produce hot water for residential and commercial buildings. Water or heat transfer fluid is heated as it passes through panels that are designed to collect heat from the sun. One essential aspect of the collector design is the thermal insulation that is used to retain the heat in the collector. Solar collectors that are stagnant, meaning that the liquid is not flowing through the collector, can reach temperatures that exceed 175ºC. Basotect can withstand these temperatures unlike other polymeric foam insulating materials that usually start to degrade at considerably lower temperatures.

“The new Gobi line of collectors has the thinnest profile available in the US. This improves the aesthetics of the collectors and makes them easier to transport and install,” explained Ole Pilgaard, president and CEO of Heliodyne. “With the smaller profile, though, we only had room for a very efficient and thermally stable layer of insulation. By using Basotect, we not only maintained the product line’s efficiency, we actually improved the overall performance of the collector.”

Heliodyne uses Basotect on three different sized flat plate collectors so that the optimal design can be found for both residential and commercial customers. The panels were tested and certified by the Solar Ratings and Certification Corporation (SRCC).


Third green gold

Bowater Building Products has won its third consecutive Green Apple Environment Award in the national campaign for find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities. The 2011 award is for the company’s revolutionary specification and residential product System10 Aluminium.

In 2009 the award was for Bowater's unique thermal inserts – which slide into outer window frame profile and allow higher WERs to be achieved in a simple, cost effective way and, in 2010, for SmartSash, a system that enables PVCU doors and windows to be fitted now to currently comply with the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) Levels 3, 4 or 5 – and then be simply, easily and inexpensively upgraded to Level 6 standard at a later date.

The awards are awarded annually by the Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-profit organisation, to recognise those companies whose products enhance the environment and promote sustainability.

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

Such is the high performance of the system that the System10 Aluminium Window achieves levels three to six (essentially future-proofing it) of the Code for Sustainable Homes with an unbeatable – for aluminium – U-value of up to 0.7 W/m2K.

While the window looks like aluminium and feels like aluminium; the ‘core’ interior of the aluminium structure has been entirely replaced with an isomeric thermoplastic endoskeleton that enhances thermal performance, reduces material costs, and makes fabrication and supply easier and much less expensive.

While satisfying specifier requirements, the System10 Aluminium system will also enable non-aluminium fabricators to compete in this sector; and simultaneously allow aluminium fabricators to broaden their ranges with a higher performance, lower cost product.

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.

Picture: Claire Venthen, sustainability manager, Bowater Building Products and inventor Trevor Baylis.


Energy saving heating control

A new energy saving electronic thermostatic radiator valve – the eTRV from Chalmor – will be demonstrated at Govtoday Carbon Reduction 2011: The Transition to a Low Carbon Economy on 29th November in London.

Delegates at this Third Annual National Summit at The Brewery, City of London, will see how the eTRV has the potential to save both commercial and domestic users up to 25% on their heating bills.

Carbon Reduction 2011 focuses this year on new schemes and policies to be introduced by the Government to build a green economy for the future.

A recent trial at Bristol University’s student halls of residence has led to savings of around 30% on heating costs, according to the University’s sustainability manager (Energy), Chris Jones. The eTRVs were part of a refurbishment of the 53-room building, The Hawthorns.

These British-made programmable valves from Chalmor have inbuilt features that provide full and individual heating control in both refurbishment and new build systems with no need for the high cost and investment of whole building management systems. Bristol University’s next project that will incorporate the electronic thermostatic radiator valves is the updating of 204 student rooms at Churchill and Wills halls.


Phase two goes to the Core

The second phase of development at Homeline Building Products’ in-house, mixing plant has begun.

Homeline’s investment is designed to increase the factory’s output, inline with the ever-increasing popularity and strong growth of its PVC-U product range. Phase 2 will provide additional manufacturing functions including the facility to mix skin grade and rigid PVC for its extensive collection of rooflines and cladding.

Phase 2 will enhance Homeline’s environmentally responsible manufacturing processes; Homeline recently introduced ‘Core’, a new range of recycled roofline, already BBA approved.

Julian Allen, group manufacturing manager said: “It has always been our firm intention to continue to build on the success that Phase 1 of the in-house mixing plant has delivered. Phase 1 gave us the capability, capacity and technical expertise to mix our own cellular foam formulation, and remove harmful lead and tin stabilisers from the manufacturing process. Phase 2 will now allow Homeline to go even further by allowing us produce ‘Core’ the industry’s first BBA approved recycled roofline suitable for both the domestic and commercial markets.

“We continue to provide our customers the highest quality PVC-U products possible, with the least impact on the environment. We strive to be one of the most environmentally conscious cellular foam manufacturers in the UK and Ireland to provide our customers with advantages in the market place.”


New construction database

Insight Data has opened up new opportunities for suppliers in the commercial and new-build sector by launching a comprehensive database of major building companies in the UK.

The ‘Construction File’ has detailed information on more than 4,900 decision makers in 1,400 of the UK’s largest construction firms, including property developers, house builders, main contractors and property maintenance companies.

“The construction industry has seen unprecedented re-alignment in the last three years with companies such as Connaught PLC and ROK folding, while many others have restructured, merged or changed sectors/strategy. The number of decision-makers and senior executives who have changed positions is also astonishing,” explained David Lewis, Insight’s Data Analyst.

This is creating a headache for building product suppliers, service providers and the thousands of other companies who supply large construction firms, as the relationships they have built over a number of years are disappearing.

“The market has certainly seen decline, but the companies on the Construction File are still purchasing hundreds of millions of pounds in products and services every year. Unfortunately many suppliers are wasting a huge amount of time, money and resources promoting their company or products to decision makers who have long gone, or to organisations that have ceased trading, merged with someone else or changed sectors, and all that effort is simply ending up in the bin,” David said.

The Construction File is continuously updated by Insight Data’s research team and provides suppliers with the latest market intelligence on all major building firms on one easy-to-use database. With over 4,900 senior decision makers (including over 4,300 email addresses), across 1,400 organisations including:

• Major house-builders
• Property developers and maintenance companies
• Main building contractors

01934 808293 Picture: David Lewis, data analyst at Insight Data

High efficiency solar cells

Detecting compound spots and contamination on surfaces right after the printing process, before cell firing, is essential in order to produce A-level solar cells.

Isra Solar Vision offers a defect inspection system for compound spots on cell edges, which will cause short-circuits when the cells enter the flashing process. Inspection at this stage helps to ensure level A quality for at least the next 400 cells.

The new Solarscan-Bevel system prevents to manufacture scrap and gives the possibility to react immediately with protective or maintenance actions. The major benefits: solar cells with best-in-class optical quality and reduced machine downtime.

To optimise production efficiency, to increase machine uptimes and to reduce manufacturing costs, one major goal is to detect defects such as contamination and unclean coating in the manufacturing process as early and as fast as possible. Solarscan-Bevel inspects the cells after printing before firing. This enables manufacturers to clear compound spots on cell edges that could lead to short-circuits in all following cells. The additional benefit: the reliable inspection alarms the maintenance staff and signalizes that aged meshes have to be exchanged.

Cell edges are the most critical areas for compound spots because the pressure exerted on the mesh is extremely high. Isra Solar Vision provides the optimum solution for this problem with its new inspection system especially designed for the early detection of edge defects such as contamination or spots. Being applied in every production line right after printing and before the firing process, Solarscan-Bevel enables the manufacturers to optimize their process and to avoid non-reparable defects. The huge advantage: material with short-circuits will not reach higher processing steps, hundreds of defective cells can be avoided and resources will be saved.

Enhanced U-value calculator

WHS Halo has enhanced its online energy savings calculator so that it now works on the basis of not only Window Energy Ratings, but U-values too.

The Energy Savings Calculator (ESC) works through a set of seven simple questions to demonstrate not only the potential savings in terms of energy bills over one, five and 10 years but also gives figures for carbon and CO2 reductions.

The original ESC worked on the basis of WER ratings and showed the benefits of PVC-U windows to homeowners. Now the latest version can be used to demonstrate the potential financial and CO2 savings that new energy efficient replacement windows will provide for commercial buildings to architects and specifiers more familiar with U-values.

This marketing tool can also be supplied on CD for use on sits and in show rooms or can be rebranded by WHS Halo's in house marketing services team with the fabricators’ or installers’ logo and corporate style into their own website.


Popular solar components

Altecnic, supplier of plumbing equipment, has seen demand soar for its solar-specific components and kits, after showcasing the units at the successful Renewables Roadshows during September.

At each of the six roadshows, the company said installers were impressed with Altecnic’s simple-to-fit solar storage-to-boiler connection kit, designed to seamlessly integrate a solar storage unit with a pre-existing combination boiler. The accredited 263 connection kit links the boiler to the solar application, drawing free hot water from a cylinder if it is over 40°C, effectively transforming the boiler into an ultra energy efficient system.

Focusing on accreditation and legislation, OEM’s, building contractors and plumbing merchants attending the shows were keen to learn about Altecnic’s 5218 tempering valve for solar hot water systems, which is the first and only one in the UK to be independently verified as complying with the revised UK Building Regulations Part G 2010. Accredited to BS EN 15092 and approved by BuildCert’s Distribution Tempering Control (DTC) Scheme, the valve must be fitted to any storage vessel capable of exceeding 80°C.

Chris Ramster, sales director at Altecnic said: “This series of roadshows was a great opportunity to show trade professionals how to capitalise on the emerging market for renewable energy. Because Altecnic is committed to sustainability and invests in the development of innovative new products and technologies, we are able to offer components and kits that are exactly what our customers need. Whether its making life easier with our accredited connection kit, or helping them keep the right side of the law by encouraging them to install the essential 5218 tempering valve, we are here to offer advice and guidance in the complex renewables market.”


Plastic protection

Tinuvin 1600 from BASF is a UV absorber which provides extremely long-lasting UV protection to high-performance thermoplastics, including those used in photovoltaic panels.

It exhibits excellent UV absorption capacity resulting in minimal loss of optical properties for stringent weathering requirements. Very low volatility allows excellent processing characteristics. BASF claims that Tinuvin 1600 sets a new industry benchmark in ultra-high durability which cannot be achieved with current UV technologies.

Tinuvin 1600 has been specifically developed for the long-lasting protection of thin layer applications for exterior uses, allowing plastic sheets, films and fibers to retain their mechanical properties, color and transparency for extended periods of time.

It belongs to the class of triazines and exhibits very low volatility, excellent thermal stability and good substrate compatibility in a variety of polymeric resins, which allows very easy processing. It imparts far superior durability that traditional UV absorbers of other chromophore classes cannot achieve.

Tinuvin 1600 is recommended for: monolithic and multi-wall PC sheets for ultra-high-durability architectural and automotive glazing applications; biaxially oriented PET films for photovoltaics, window films, displays, protective films and other long-term applications; PMMA laminations for very durable specialty applications like window profiles, photovoltaics and demanding construction applications; PET and PA fibers; SAN, ASA high-performance plastics applications, eg, in building and construction and automotive applications; and other extruded or blown thin-film applications requiring extended UV protection.

Ofgem approval

Celotex has received approval from Ofgem (Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets), recognising that the company’s range of PIR insulation meets the strictest levels of energy efficiency.

The Ofgem approval confirms that Celotex’s range of products that can be used in accordance with government carbon reduction schemes such as Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP), helping to cut UK CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020 in line with government targets as part of the Climate Change Act.

“We are delighted that Celotex products have received Ofgem approval,” said Paul Evans, product manager at Celotex. “With CERT and CESP playing such a key role within the UK’s current carbon reduction programmes, Celotex’s inclusion on the Ofgem approved list is a great way to demonstrate the suitability of the company’s market leading products as a sustainable way of improving the UK’s housing stock.” Celotex PIR boards are supported by third party approvals from leading industry organisations including the BBA (British Board of Agrément), BRE and the Energy Savings Trust.

Celotex recently achieved a 0.021W/mK lambda for its FR5000 and CG5000 range, complementing the 0.022W/mK lambda value of many other Celotex products.

Celotex’ insulation products achieve an A+ rating when compared to the BRE Green Guide 2008 and have been independently assessed by BRE Global, through its Approved Environmental Profile, and have been confirmed as achieving a low environmental impact.

Celotex is also certified to Environmental Management Standard EN ISO 14001 and has also become the first PIR insulation manufacturer to receive Energy Saving Trust Recommended Product certification.


Online solar tool launched

Conergy has launched its ‘Conergizer’ tool in the UK to coincide with the start of Green Building Week.

The online systems planning tool helps users work out the best solar solution for any roof – aesthetically, financially and in terms of pure kilowatt power generation potential. The move is expected to enable the viability of many solar projects in the UK that have previously been discounted because buildings are not south-facing or roofs have chimneys or other obstructions, and to increase awareness of best practice solar installations.

Available for free on the website, the software allows users to enter building data such as location, dimensions, roof type and obstacles (such as windows, chimneys etc.) to create an attractive 3D graphical model. A simulation of sunlight over the course of the year highlights areas of shading so solar panels can be positioned accordingly.

“Solar can be a great investment if you put the right panels in the right places,” said Robert Goss, managing director of Conergy in the UK. “The Conergizer will help people work out just how much they can make from their rooftops, whether they’re in Aberdeen or the Scilly Isles.”

Climatic conditions for the whole of Great Britain have been mapped, including maximum wind and snowloads, supporting decisions on what type of frames are best employed. The system then takes into account the building’s orientation and tilt of the panels in relation to the sun, as well as obstacles such as chimneys and dormer windows and local sunlight data, to accurately forecast power generation for the year. This enables detailed estimates of the end-customer’s return on investment, based on the cost and size of the installation, its feed-in-tariff, expected off-grid energy use and energy prices, and the customer’s individual financing arrangements.

“One change to the design and the financial picture changes dramatically,” said Robert Goss.

“This shows you just how important professional planning is in solar installations. There are investors right now passing over houses in the UK because they have chimneys or they’re not south-facing. There are installers squeezing in as many panels as they can to maximize power output but that doesn’t always generate the best returns. Solar has massive potential in the UK and this tool can help deliver that.”

PassivHaus certified

The KBE System 88, which was launched by Kömmerling in July, has now received the PassivHaus certification.

KBE System 88 includes six chambers and an 88mm depth frame. It can boast a 0.7W/(m²K) U-value, using argon gas filling in the IGU, exceeding the Passivhaus specification and is designed to include high performance triple glazing as standard.

Within the system are a range of reinforcement options, including foam-coated steels and the PVCU sections are co-extruded with a Greenline lead-free skin and a full recycled internal construction. It’s available in 44 different colour options plus the option of Alustar, an aluminium cladding section designed to meet the needs of architects and offering to use the entire RAL colour spectrum. The system also takes existing and standard UK tilt and turn hardware.

Stefan Seidel, operations manager at Kömmerling, said: “Our new system is perfectly suited for domestic and commercial applications and we also have a PassivHaus door solution undergoing the PassivHaus certification process as we speak. If you are looking for a PassivHaus solution then ask to see the certification. Don’t be fooled by cheap imitators and opportunists!”

Impressive performance figures

Since the first installations of its Rehau Awadukt Thermo ground-air heat exchanger (GAHE) took place in 2008, Rehau has been datalogging the performance of a number of the systems to gather real time data about how effective they are in pre-tempering ventilation air.

Monitored projects in Germany, France, Poland and the UK all reported performance figures which exceed those predicted by Rehau’s own GAHE software.

The results have now been published by Rehau and are available to download from the website at www.rehau.co.uk/files/Awadukt_thermo_datalogging.pdf

The Rehau Awadukt Thermo system operates by drawing ventilation air into a building through underground pipework grids buried at a depth of around 1.5m. The optimised polypropylene material used for the pipes maximises heat transfer between the ground which is at a fairly constant 7ºC-13ºC and the incoming air, with the result that the air can be pre-warmed in winter by as much as 9ºC and pre-cooled in summer by up to 14ºC.

A low energy cooling system suitable for Passivhaus projects, Rehau has demonstrated that Awadukt Thermo can achieve a coefficient of performance up to 20 for commercial projects and 50 for residential applications.

In the UK, the monitored installation was in a domestic property linked to a MVHR system for optimum performance. Sensors were installed in the air inlet tower to measure incoming air and just ahead of the MVHR unit upstairs and have recorded reductions in summer air temperatures of 12ºC and an 18ºC increase in winter.

Steve Richmond, business team leader for Rehau’s range of renewable energy products, said: “Our studies show that the Rehau Awadukt Thermo actually considerably outperforms our estimates. We have further detailed analysis available on each of these case studies for use by consultants and specifiers and can also offer a RIBA and CIBSE approved CPD on ground-air heat exchangers if required.”