Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry


WiFi enabled

Heatmiser UK has launched its new WiFi Enabled Thermostats that can be controlled via any web browser and the company’s free iPhone app.

Four models have initially been launched, including non-programmable, programmable and time clock versions. All are 230v powered and all offer volt free switching, catering for most types of boilers.

Heating comfort levels, holiday program and temperature hold functions can all be operated and, apart from a wireless router and broadband line, no other equipment is required to gain access to the system remotely.

This range will be extended further in the coming weeks with the release of a wireless switching model – compatible with the UH1-W wireless wiring centre.


Deluge of responses

Nu-Heat is delighted with the response to its rainwater harvesting offer, introduced just over a year ago.

Nu-Heat stocks a selection of Roth systems with the best seller currently being the 5,000L package; 3,500, 7,000L, 10,000L packages complete the range. Nu-Heat believes that the Roth tanks are among the best available due to overall quality and two features in particular.

Firstly, the tanks are low profile so don’t require such as deep installation pit as other models that have more of a goldfish bowl shape. This also means that the tank can be installed in locations with a higher water table. Secondly, the tank is made from a single moulded piece without seams, ensuring integrity and making installation more straightforward as the pieces don’t have to put together on site. The tank is still relatively light for manoeuvring into position.

There is no requirement for a break tank, so no water is stored in the loft, and the only internal installation required is the control unit. Nu-Heat’s unit is comparable to other high spec systems on the market, and pumps water round the system at mains pressure of 3-4 bar.

One major advantage of the control unit is that it measures what is in the tank, so when there has been no rainfall and the level reaches a pre-determined limit, the unit automatically switches to mains water. The control unit includes a 9L storage tank, so unlike other models that flood the rainwater tank with mains water, Nu-Heat’s system only holds 9L of mains water in store, so that if there is sudden rainfall, mains water isn’t used unnecessarily. When there is sufficient rainwater in the tank, the control unit will automatically switch the system back to the tank supply. The display on the control unit indicates the status of the rainwater levels and what mode the system is in.

Nu-Heat has recently added a number of useful accessories available for purchase to widen the potential for installation. The first is a stronger lid which is suitable for tanks being installed under a drive. The lid is able to withstand a 600kg wheel load. As with any tank installation on a drive, a concrete ring must still be put around the lid so that it doesn’t get pushed down when driven over.

A second accessory is a periscope extension. This is for use in situations where a tank needs to be deeper than normal, such as where water needs to travel further from the gutters. The existing periscope is 700mm and the extension is 500mm.

Roth’s rainwater tanks are exclusive in the UK to Nu-Heat.


Daylight scoop

Better aesthetics and performance in natural daylighting is being brought to market with the latest tubular rooflight from Passivent.

The new Passivent Sunscoop features a square, low profile roof dome. The square profile simplifies installation in all roof materials and eliminates the need to create complex flashing detailing inherent with conventional round roof flashings. The low-profile polycarbonate roof glazing improves aesthetics once installed, minimising variations along the roofline without any impact on the amount of natural daylight entering the building below down the highly reflective tube.

A choice of two interior diffusers offers the flexibility to select light distribution according to requirements, be it diffused or a more direct light, whilst optional low energy light fittings incorporated into the diffuser assembly further enable effective lighting even at night without the need for separate electric lighting. In the day, even the 250mm Sunscoop delivers more natural light into the room below than a standard 13W low energy lamp (equivalent to the old style standard 60W bulb), without any electrical consumption.

Passivent is also offering tube insulation to the system, which reduces both the risk of thermal bridging and surface condensation.

“Tubular rooflights such as Sunscoop are already recognised and awarded credits under BREEAM, in both energy and health and wellbeing categories, bringing natural daylight into areas that would otherwise be dark or lit artificially,” Siobhan Gadiot, BPD marketing communications manager, said. “Sunscoop offers specifiers, contractors and end-users more than any other rooflight of its type, as it’s the only one in the market to carry a 25 year guarantee on the reflective tube- the key element.”

Passivent Sunscoop can be fitted in both new-build and refurbishments. Unlike similar products, its flashing are AA fire rated, enabling unrestricted use regardless of the proximity of adjacent buildings. The roof glazing unit is installed in the roofline, while the highly reflective connector tube directs natural daylight down to the ceiling mounted diffuser in the room or corridor below.


More efficient panels

The world’s most efficient solar panels commercially available – as certified by the Guinness World Records – are now available to British homeowners.

US-based SunPower E20 solar panels have signed a deal with the UK solar panel company, Ploughcroft – the solar roof installation partner for Vaillant, Plumb Center (Wolseley) and NPower.

The company is the first in the UK to offer the SunPower E20 panels to British domestic and commercial solar customers.

SunPower E20 panels are designed to offer 8% return on investment, based on the new Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) of 21p per kW. Offering high levels of efficiency in the UK (20%), Ploughcroft claims these solar panels provide more power than any other panel currently available and are sure to appeal to savvy homeowners looking for a great return for their money.

All this extra technology is packed into a standard size panel (1.5m x 1.05m), resulting in a smaller roof space being needed to achieve great returns. Just 12 E20 panels can achieve a 4kW output (the FIT cap level), whereas currently there needs to be 16-20 panels fitted to get this rate.

Chris Hopkins, managing director at Ploughcroft Solar said: “The UK is the world’s fastest growing market for solar technology, and as Ploughcroft is the leading solar installer, then it is fitting that we are able to offer our customers these amazing panels. The ultra efficiency means that even in cloudy or overcast conditions these panels work far better than any other.

“The energy generation is outstanding, and following the recent announcement to cut the FIT rate then these panels are sure to appeal to homeowners looking for a good return on their investment. The E20 panels could quickly become the most popular panel available to homeowners.”

The cell technology within the SunPower E20 panel is now fully Microgeneration Certification Scheme accredited (awarded 28 October 2011) and offers an output of 333w compared to the industry high of 250w.

Chris has recently been appointed to the Green Construction Board (GCB). The GCB consists of government and industry experts who will drive forward the actions set out in the Low Carbon Construction Action Plan.


FITs still an ‘opportunity’

Feed in Tariffs (FITs) still represent a fantastic return on investment, despite the recent reduction announced by the Government, lead generating company Quotatis has claimed.

FITs were launched by the government in April 2010 in a move designed to encourage the widespread domestic installation of photovoltaic panels. To this end the scheme has been very successful – there were more than 16,000 new solar PV installations in September 2011 alone – as homeowners have taken advantage of a generous tariff that paid them 43.3p/kWh for every unit they produced whether they used that energy themselves or sold it back to the grid.

At the end of October 2011, the Department for Energy and Climate Change announced that FITs would be reduced to 21p/kWh for new projects, and homes would have to prove that they are already energy efficient to qualify for the tariff.

“There has been something of a panic following the Government’s announcement to reduce the FITs, which I believe is unjustified,” Teresa Gizzi, Quotatis’s sales director, explained. “FITs make up just a small part of rapidly growing and important industry, and despite people’s fear that it will pull the rug out from beneath it, the opposite is probably true.

“When FITs were launched 18 months ago, the cost of an average PV installation was about £13,000. That figure has dropped to around £9,000 and is still falling. Therefore, homeowners will still get a return of anywhere between 4% and 10% on their investment – far better than what the high street banks are offering! Plus, energy bills will still be lower.”

Teresa went on to explain that looking at the FIT in isolation ignores the many other benefits that energy efficient products bring. “The Government’s other announcement – that homes have to prove a minimum level of energy efficiency before they qualify for FITs – is positive news for industry,” Teresa explained. “You can’t view solar power on its own – generating your own energy is just one piece in a huge jigsaw puzzle of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. There’s no point in enjoying free electricity when the sun shines, only to whack up the heating when it gets dark.

“Therefore, the industry must work together to educate homeowners on how to save energy by making their homes more efficient, rather than just sell them the sexy shiny panels for their roofs.”

Quotatis was recently endorsed by the Energy Saving Trust to give impartial advice to homeowners on energy saving matters. “This means we can now offer in-depth advice – backed up by the highly respected Energy Saving Trust – on a range of energy saving methods, including double glazing, insulation, replacement boilers and renewable energy,” Teresa said.

“This, in turn, provides opportunities for our business partners. Energy prices are still increasing, and homeowners are looking at a variety of ways to make their homes cheaper to run. They approach us for advice, and any resulting leads are then passed on to our registered team of installers.”

Concluding, Teresa said: “People are not going to lose interest in the energy efficiency of their homes just because FITs have been reduced. Now, more then ever, businesses need to position themselves to make the most of a revolution in sustainable home improvement.”

Fresh new dimension

Vivix panels enable architects or specifiers to create a unique building identity or accentuate its architectural elements with either a ‘bespoke’ or unified design, complementing or adding interest to public, cultural or sports facilities.

Lightweight, resistant to impact and abrasion and UV and weather resistant, Vivix panels are highly resilient against cracking, do not rot, and include double-sided UV protection as standard.

Available in plain colours with sophisticated neutrals and striking accents, nature-inspired abstract patterns and rich woodgrains, Vivix panels can be installed on top of an existing facade, bringing a fresh new dimension and improved performance efficiency to an existing building.

Panels from the Vivix range can be used with a variety of fixing systems, from simple timber battens to proprietary metal systems and hung by visible face-fixing or by concealed fixing arrangements depending on the aesthetic requirement.

Certified as low-emitting by GreenGuard Environmental Institute, Vivix panels incorporate Formica Group’s commitment to sustainable principles and practices.


Official authorisation

The German Institute for Construction Technology has given BASF's Styrodur 3035 CS, Styrodur 4000 CS and Styrodur 5000 CS technical approval for multiple layers as perimeter insulation in groundwater [no. Z-23.5-223].

The XPS (extruded plystyrene) boards can be used for multiple layers of external insulation for structural components in contact with the ground (perimeter insulation).

Previously, only a single layer of XPS in the perimeter insulation was approved. The approval makes it easier for the construction companies carrying out the work to use the insulating materials and makes it possible to meet the increasingly stringent energy requirements on new buildings.

This means that BASF now has approvals from the Institute to install multiple layers of Styrodur C for foundation slabs, inverted roofs and perimeter insulation.

Perimeter insulation reduces heat loss at the bottom of a building. Styrodur C is good for perimeter insulation because of its high compressive strength and low water absorption due to its closed cell foam structure and foam skin on both sides. Up to three layers of the insulating material can now be used under non-load-bearing foundation slabs and on basement walls at a total thickness of up to 400mm. Styrodur C can be immersed up to a depth of 3.5m in groundwater.

New members hit the floor

Carpet & Flooring, a UK distributor of floorcovering products, is the latest member to join Recofloor and increase the number of strategic collection points for the UK’s award-winning vinyl flooring recycling scheme.

Established in 1973, Carpet & Flooring has grown into one of the largest distributors, stocking and distributing products from Europe’s leading manufacturers as well as its own domestic and contract floorcovering brands.

Having successfully piloted the Recofloor scheme at its Birmingham branch in August, Carpet & Flooring has now rolled it out to the remaining seven branches across the country.

“I am delighted that Carpet & Flooring is now participating within the Recofloor Vinyl Take Back Scheme through our national network of branches,” managing director Paul Gordon, said.

“The scheme fits perfectly within the company’s environmental objectives and targets, while providing an opportunity to assist our customers with the segregation and recycling of vinyl and safety flooring to maximise waste diverted from landfill.”

Recofloor bins accepting waste vinyl off-cuts and waste smooth uplifted vinyl flooring are now located at all their depots in Bristol, Bow, Camberley, Cambridge, Gateshead, Glasgow and Manchester.

Flooring contractors and installers can also collect polythene bags from the trade counters for their waste material. When full, these can be left at the depots from where they are sent for eventual recycling into new flooring and traffic management products.

0161 355 7618

Picture: Andrew Brice, manager of the Birmingham branch (left) with Recofloor’s Matt Charlton.

Consultancy teams expands

Sheffield-based environmental consultancy Wildscapes has strengthened its team with the appointment of landscape architect Pam Molyneux.

Pam is a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute (CMLI) and brings almost three decades of experience to the company, which has close associations with the Sheffield Wildlife Trust. This means Wildscapes now provides a comprehensive design and build service, which means essentially being able to meet all requirements for green infrastructure projects.

Pam has previously held roles within both the public and private sectors and has worked with communities to design and implement landscape schemes, such as play areas, educational grounds and ‘grow your own food’ initiatives within towns and cities, as well as winning an award for her design work on urban car parks.

After beginning her career with a private consultancy in Liverpool, Pam moved on to work at West Midlands County Council and then to Leeds City Council, where she spent 23 years before taking a career break to study for a Masters Degree in Resource and Environmental Management.

Pam’s skills include ecological surveys, ground maintenance, land management and landscape creation services across the Yorkshire and Humber regions. The company’s clients include developers, schools, local authorities and the commercial sector, and it specialises in creating landscapes which improve the environment for people and for native wildlife.

Wildscapes’ chief executive officer Vicky Smith said: “We are delighted to welcome Pam to our team. Her experience in delivering highly successful landscape projects and expertise in design and build projects for both the public and private sectors has further enhanced the services we offer to our clients. Our business is expanding rapidly and our reputation is based on employing specialists in the areas of ecology, land management and landscape design, providing the very highest level of expertise.”

Pam Molyneux said: “I was attracted by the ethos of Wildscapes, because everything the consultancy does is about improving the environment. I enjoy the challenge of transforming degraded areas into places which are better for both people and wildlife. My role means I will be making a real difference to communities and the environment.”


New heat pump package

Kingspan Renewables has launched a brand new Aeromax Plus Air Source Heat Pump range designed specifically for commercial applications.

The high-temperature, air-to-water heat pumps can extract heat from outside temperatures as low as -20˚C, providing up to 100% of Space Heating and hot water requirements all year round. The launch follows the success of its domestic Aeromax Plus package.

The new commercial range offers quick and easy installation matched with low noise levels and economical operation, with high energy efficiency (COP) ratings. The heat pumps form part of a complete package solution, custom-made to suit the needs of each application and are suitable for both new-build and refurbishment projects.

For maximum efficiency, they can be partnered with Kingspan’s range of Albion and Manchester Calorifiers, specifically designed for commercial and industrial use, or with its Heat Pump Only or Heat Pump & Solar Input cylinders, for smaller system requirements.

Aeromax Plus Air Source Heat Pumps will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 50% compared to traditional systems. These substantial carbon reduction savings will aid organisations participating in the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, significantly reducing their mandatory payments to the government to cover emissions. The heat pumps generate renewable heat for radiators, fan coil and underfloor heating systems, as well as consistently meeting hot water needs at temperatures of up to 65˚C. They are suitable for a wide range of commercial applications, from offices, apartments and hotels through to large-scale industrial use and are available in seven outputs.


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.”