Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry


Fit for a king?

A new single-layer tapered roofing insulation system designed by Gradient Flat Roofing has been included as part of a major package of works to convert an historic Derbyshire ruin into a block of 26 luxury apartments.

Gradient was chosen for the quality of product and the level of customer service it could bring to the Riber Castle project in Derbyshire.

“This was not a particularly complex project as the original roof had disappeared completely and a new one had to be built,” explained Gradient’s Steve Adams.

“This took the form of different modules which combined to make up the overall roof. We were then able to design a bespoke insulation system, which created the various falls that were required to ensure effective drainage. We also provided general technical guidance plus on-site assistance during the installation procedure.”

A liquid vapour control layer was first laid over the new 8502m roof deck before Gradient’s foil-faced PIR boards were used to create a tapered, single-layer insulation system. The roof then received a layer of Oriented Strand Board to allow it to accept high levels of foot traffic, before a final three layer resin-based GRP waterproofed system was added. “With our single-layer system we are able to manufacture each piece of the insulation under controlled conditions at our manufacturing plant. This means that individual boards can be created to fit specific locations on the roof and the quality levels remain very high,” Steve said.

This dramatically reduced the likelihood of errors and allowed the Gradient system to be installed far more quickly and easily than would have been possible with a conventional built-up system. Gradient also supplied a variety of pre-cut mitre boards for this project, which again reduced the need for skilled on-site labour during installation

The Castle stands 600ft above sea level at the head of a valley overlooking the town of Matlock in Derbyshire. “This is an exposed location which means that the new roof has to withstand high wind speeds,” Steve said. “We were able to confirm that the wind uplift calculations provided by the Project Director Ivan White, were accurate, so that the new roof could be built in complete confidence.”

Photovoltaic precedent

At Weser-Stadion in Bremen, the largest building-integrated photovoltaic installation in Germany has enabled the generation of enough power to meet the annual demands of 300 households – and it could set a precedent for similar UK stadium applications.

Located in the north of the country and home to football team Werder Bremen, Weser-Stadion is the latest German football stadium to improve its environmental performance following the delivery of previous ‘green’ sports facilities in Freiburg, Augsburg and Stuttgart.

Covering approximately 60% of the total roof area, some 1,735 Evalon Solar panels were installed around the outer ring of the new stadium roof. This provides a full capacity output of 511 kWp and contributes to the total stadium output of more than one million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

ICB (Solar), a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) approved Solar PV installer, designs, supplies and installs solar PV systems from its base in Bournemouth and believes that the Weser-Stadion project could set a course for future large scale stadium installations in the UK.

Managing Director Rob Jackson said: “In Bremen, the successful combination of high performance waterproofing membranes and solar photovoltaics is the perfect collaboration of contemporary construction and energy-efficiency. The versatility and performance of the power-generating waterproofing membrane makes it ideal for modern sports facilities.”

As part of a redevelopment programme at the Weser-Stadion to improve spectator experience by moving seating closer to the football pitch, the new-look stadium would also include a brand new roof. Integrating a 1.2MWp photovoltaic system into the shape and design of the building and roof – this has helped to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 450 tonnes.

Over 10,000m2 of Alwitra Evalon Solar – a power-generating waterproofing membrane – was installed onto the roof of Germany’s Weser-Stadion.

Each membrane was mechanically fastened to the sheet metal roof using stainless steel screws, before being connected in the seam area using a hot-air welding process. The fastener spacing on each individual roof area was determined according to the results of a wind load survey, with the resulting data forming the basis of the fastening plan.

‘Green’ grocer

The 25,000ft2 unit is the first new build store that ISG has taken on for Sainsbury’s and follows a long-standing relationship that has involved numerous refurbishments, extensions and feasibility studies.

Originally planned with a conventional steel-frame design, it was re-specified as a timber-framed building following planning approval. The client’s sustainability demands continued to broaden even after the design and build project was well underway, challenging ISG to provide solutions that were both environmentally sound and economically viable.

The BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rated scheme is targeting a carbon neutral build thanks to its timber frame, pre-fabricated SIPS (Structurally Insulated Panel System) timber walls and timber roof cassettes finished in larch cladding, all of which are derived from renewable sources. The SIPS walls, designed to provide integral vapour barriers, have also enhanced the efficiency of the building envelope, delivering an air loss average of just 2.0m3/hr/m2: with an industry norm of 10.0m3/hr/m2.

The exemplary environmental performance of the building’s structure is mirrored by the eco-friendly specification throughout. Environmental features include a biomass boiler powered by waste wood pellets, rainwater harvesting and re-use for toilet flushing, LED lighting, the installation of sun pipes and daylight sensors, as well as night blinds on chiller doors to prevent cold air loss into the aisles. Externally, the store even offers charging points for electric and hybrid vehicles in the car park and a storm water drainage system, next to the store, has been planted with 40 species of native trees and shrubs to create natural habitats and encourage wildlife.

Rob Martin, ISG’s operations director of UK Retail, said: “We have been among a handful of Sainsbury’s preferred contractors for some time, so winning the design and build contract for one of the company’s ground breaking ‘eco’ stores is a massive coup for ISG.

“This store not only sets the bar high for environmentally-friendly supermarkets, it also has a unique and attractive aesthetic and provides a high quality shopping experience. It will set a benchmark for future supermarket developments, demonstrating how a ‘greener’ store can also be attractive, practical, cost-effective and economically viable.”

Significant savings at a sensible cost

Regional developer Cawrey Homes has specified Swish fascias, soffits and cladding in hazy grey for its new eco development, Fielding Meadow.

The Leicestershire-based house builder is now in the closing stages of the 36 home development in Ratby.

The two-, three- and four-bedroomed homes have been designed to incorporate the latest energy saving technology to achieve a Code for Sustainable Homes level four rating.

Also including a focus on long-term maintenance savings, the properties feature low maintenance fascias and soffits from Swish Building Products and external cladding, used by Cawrey to house solar panels.

Dave Walgate, Buyer for Cawrey, said: “We wanted a development which delivered significant energy and lifetime savings at a sensible cost.

More broadly, the development features air source heat pumps, thermally efficient windows, insulated floors and ‘green’ sedum roofs. “We put a lot of emphasis on the building envelope and energy efficiency for example, increasing cavity wall insulation from 75mm to 200mm but also looked at the long-term maintenance costs of the properties.

“Natural wood finishes clearly look good but at height need regular maintenance and that equates to higher costs. The Swish products in hazy grey delivered a strong aesthetic quality and critically required little to no future maintenance.”

Swish Building Products recently joined a handful of companies that have secured the responsible sourcing standard BES6001 delivering instant point gains to house builders under the Code for Sustainable Homes and Eco Homes.

In securing the standard across its PVC fascia, soffit, cladding and window board ranges Swish Building Products is able to offer developers maximum points under the Code (tier level 1), matching FSC timber specifications in Mat2 and Mat3.

Greg Wilde, Swish Building Products, said: “Roofline maintenance costs can be significant, in part because roofline products are in exposed locations and because maintaining or repairing them at height is more complicated and therefore more costly.”


Largest carbon zero development

Wakefield and District Housing (WDH), a registered provider with more than 31,000 homes, opened the doors to Park Dale, the UK’s largest zero carbon housing development at the official launch event earlier this month.

Working closely with community regeneration specialist Keepmoat and property design and management consultants NPS, the pioneering £12 million project consists of 91 homes to Level 6 of the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes.

From the outset Park Dale, in Airedale, West Yorkshire, was designed to offer a realistic and affordable solution to achieve zero carbon at large scale.

To keep costs down, Keepmoat used block and brick work to achieve superior air tightness, rather than the prefabricated methods of construction conventionally used in zero carbon build. In turn, the use of traditional build methods has had a beneficial impact on the local economy, maximising employment opportunities for local trades people.

With part funding of £5.77 million from the Homes and Communities Agency, Park Dale includes 71 homes for social rent and 20 for intermediate rent.

Each of the two, three and four-bedroom homes uses mechanical ventilation heat recovery systems and has in-roof photovoltaic panels, superior levels of internal air tightness and grey water recycling.

The homes draw heat from a district biomass heating system powered by renewable wood pellets produced in Yorkshire from recycled pallets. The development also includes a Learning Centre where residents can find out how to make energy savings and take qualifications in energy management.

Park Dale took 12 months to plan and to coordinate the Code for Sustainable Homes submission. Work started on site in March 2010.

Trades people from across Yorkshire have worked on the project, many of whom learned new skills in order to build to high standards of energy efficiency. More than 40 apprentices also gained eco-experience on the site during the build.

Keepmoat worked with WDH to explore and test renewable technologies to ensure products chosen for Park Dale gave confidence and best value, factoring in long-term maintenance costs.

Heating demand is expected to be one fifth of an average home. Total energy bills are expected to be 40% less than an average home and 25% less than a modern new build home. Other benefits will include water bill savings from lower water use fittings and grey water recycling, and the potential to save more on bills by using appliances during the day when the photovoltaic panels will power for free.

WDH chief executive, Kevin Dodd, said: “WDH is very proud that we have created the UK’s largest zero carbon housing development. In addition to the creative look of the homes, they offer fantastic savings on energy bills. The entire project has had some outstanding benefits for the local community, including the WDH apprentices who learned many skills while working on the site.”


Community project

A community hydro-electric scheme is to go ahead after it raised £125,000 in three months from a share issue which gave people the chance to back renewable energy.

Esk Valley Community Energy Group aims to establish a small-scale hydro-electric turbine known as an Archimedes' screw on the River Esk in Ruswarp, near Whitby, North Yorkshire.

The project attracted enough social investment, in the form of loans and grants, to make the directors approve the next phase.

When the scheme is completed in summer 2012, the ‘fish-friendly” turbine will generate around 200,000 kWh of sustainable energy a year, saving an estimated 3,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in its lifetime.

Colin Mather, retired civil engineer and chair of the energy group, said: "One of our sayings is 'think global, act local' and our scheme offers people a chance to do their bit to protect the environment while generating a new source of sustainable green energy.

"We are delighted with the response to the share issue and although we know that there is still a lot of hard work ahead, it illustrates that by working together, co-operating, amazing things can be achieved."

The community share issue is still open, with shares available from as little as £250 up to a maximum of £20,000, to allow the group to reduce loans.

A recent report by YouGov found that 42% of Brits with private wealth want to get involved with ethical and social investment.

Green living

A ZinCo green roof from Alumasc has provided a pleasant recreational space for residents of a new housing scheme in Guernsey.

Designed by architects Lovell Ozanne and Partners, the Hougue a La Perre housing development is situated on the northern outskirts of St Peter Port and is managed by Guernsey Housing Association.

The project involves the development of 77 houses and flats constructed in 2009 on the site of the former Grand Bouet bus depot for Guernsey Housing Association in partnership with the States of Guernsey Housing Department, in order to create a sustainable and attractive neighbourhood.

The ZinCo green roof from Alumasc was specified for the podium deck above an underground car-park, which forms a courtyard for use by the residents. The 1200m2 intensive green roof will offer notable ecological and amenity benefits, providing a natural habitat for plants and wildlife, while helping to reduce air and noise pollution, cutting carbon emissions and assisting with rainwater retention and attenuation.

ZinCo green roofs vary from extensive and biodiverse types which require minimal irrigation and maintenance, to intensive roofs such as the one at Hougue a La Perre, which are suited for areas of public and recreational use and require more tending.

The roof was installed over Hydrotech MM6125 structural waterproofing, also from Alumasc.

The Main contractor on the Hougue a La Perre project was Charles Le Quesne (Guernsey) Ltd.


Finding a low energy space

A Nottinghamshire local authority, which won the 2011 Low Carbon Council of the Year award, is the latest to upgrade to ‘intelligent’ energy-saving lighting from Chalmor for two of its largest town centre car parks.

Mansfield District Council is making savings of £22,569 and 132.88 tonnes of CO2 per year by using Chalmor’s low energy lighting with motion and photo controls. This has been installed in the Four Seasons shopping centre car park and the Walkden Street car park, which jointly offer 936 parking spaces.

Mansfield’s climate change officer, Helen Bartle and colleagues saw Chalmor’s latest low energy lighting demonstrated at the ESTA (Energy Services and Technology Association) exhibition in Manchester last year.

Chalmor’s ‘smart’ lighting and controls are operated by time controls, outside light levels and occupancy sensors or any permutation of the three. The company’s Refit T5 system, installed at both these Mansfield town centre car parks, replaces older fluorescent fittings by the latest new generation T5 fluorescent technology offering cost savings and reducing energy consumption.

The T5 fluorescent lamp technology consumes less energy and depreciates little over its lifetime – 6% compared to 30% over the former lighting. Each of the car parks uses one of Chalmor’s Autolux six-channel controllers and two weatherproof light level sensors to maximise energy-savings by making use of daylight and time sensors.

Autolux is also temperature-sensitive and this is used to switch perimeter lights back on again when the temperature reaches zero. Autolux also controls the roof and perimiter lighting that were not replaced to keep these lights off during the night when the car parks are closed.

Chalmor’s national sector manager, Colin Childs, said: “By offering Mansfield District Council savings of nearly £30,000 a year with savings of 168 tonnes of CO2 emissions yearly, this project has at the same time delivered a safer environment offering increased light levels and both day and night time lighting control.”


Sustainable boardwalks

A sure-footed solution to accessing environmental education in Yorkshire has been made possible with boardwalks ‘more sustainable than wood’ – made entirely from recycled plastic carrier bags and bottles.

A 30m-long walkway, 6m bridge and pond dipping platform built from Centriforce recycled plastic posts and planks are supporting safe and slip-free fieldwork by students visiting the pioneering Carlshead Farm near Wetherby.

The award-winning 273-hectare farm in the lower Wharfedale Valley is a leading national example of innovation and diversification in farming with a range of complementary educational and environmental projects, including a biomass plantation and a training centre for excluded teenagers.

Consultant ‘Environments for People’ designed and built the boardwalks to facilitate educational visits by local primary and special needs schools, providing raised access across boggy ground and a low-lying platform for pupils to get up close and safely explore pond wildlife.

Using recycled plastic profiles instead of wood provided a more durable and maintenance-free solution that was also more practical to design and build, explained Hugh Roberts from Environments for People.

“Unlike the wooden alternative, Centriforce planks have a slip-resistant and splinter-free surface, and don’t need to be fixed with chicken wire or nails,” he said. “So the children have a safe platform to walk, or even to lie on to investigate wildlife habitats.”

Centriforce recycled plastic posts and bearers are built to form the base structure of the walkways. The plank-like decking is laid on top and finished with an edging strip. Manufactured from 100% HDPE post-consumer waste, the recycled plastic profiles can be drilled and sawn like timber and designed into any shape.

“During construction, the recycled plastic is very forgiving,” continued Hugh. “The Centriforce profiles do not deform, chip or split. A treated wooden post can easily split when driven into the ground causing rot and leaching chemicals into the soil; a recycled plastic post is completely inert.

“Centriforce profiles offer a truly sustainable solution. There’s no maintenance and no ongoing cost involved in looking after the boardwalk. Even on wet and marshy ground, the boardwalk is rot and algae-free, but still looks and feels like wood and blends nicely with the environment.”


Zero carbon journey

Miller Homes has built five identical Miller Zero houses to different levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes in Basingstoke.

These homes, which are the same in layout to others on the site of 79 units, have been completed to Code levels 1, 3, 4, 5 and zero-carbon 6.

The CfSH houses are among 79 homes for sale on this development. Miller had planning permission for these houses based on 2006 Building Regulations; but as an R&D project, it was decided to construct some of these homes to various levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

The company wanted to know what the development costs would be between each of the Levels and how much consumers would be prepared to pay for homes created to the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Building as cheaply as possible was not a consideration for Miller, it was about achieving the different Code Levels using different types of materials and construction methods. The company also realised it would be the first time that any house builder would test this decision on the open market.

Having tested how the additional construction costs compare, Miller Homes is now researching the public appeal of homes built to different levels. Once sold, each of the homes will be monitored by Miller (with the approval of the owners) to collect data on their lifestyles. The model can then be value-engineered towards possible future sites nationwide.

The Code level 6 home is super-insulated with the external walls built using H+H’s 200mm Vertical Elements. The Elements themselves have excellent thermal insulation properties = 0.11 W/mK with a compressive strength of 3.0 N/mm2. The Vertical Elements in combination with 200mm Webbertherm insulation and render achieved a U-value as low as 0.09 W/m2K.

Excellent levels of airtightness were also achieved to help meet the mandatory heat loss parameter required for Code 6 Homes of 0.8 W/m2K. This is aided by the fact that the Vertical Elements’ larger panel surface areas of aircrete mean fewer joints, higher levels of air-tightness and improved speed of build.

The extra costs of all the Code level homes was identified almost entirely from the addition of the renewable technology required such as a ground source heat pump and photovoltaics, rather than the fabric of the buildings.

• The Code 3 house cost between £5,000 and £7,000 more than a house typically specified to meet the Building Regulations.
• The Code 4 house cost between an extra £7,000 and £10,000.
• The Code 6 house’s cost to build however was £50,000 more.

Miller Homes wants to work closely with the occupiers to understand what the impact, if any, the code-home features.

Recycled floor

Tarkett iQ Megalit vinyl tiles were installed throughout the new single storey extension of the Law School at Newcastle University.

Ces Maddison, of project architects Tench Maddison Ash, explained the choice of flooring: “All materials were selected for their sustainable properties using the BRE green guide to specification. We chose Tarkett’s vinyl floor finishes for their recycled material content and long life/low maintenance characteristics. They give a stunning finish to the new main entrance.”

Megalit is one of Tarkett’s iQ floorings. Made with high quality raw materials, iQ Megalit needs no wax or polish throughout its life, with a third generation PUR reinforcement that requires the absolute minimum of heavy, wet cleaning. Thanks to its Unique Surface Restoration, simple dry buffing will fully restore the flooring surface to its original appearance and properties, minimising maintenance costs. The reduced use of water, chemicals and energy add to its excellent environmental profile. iQ Megalit is also one of the first homogeneous floorings to achieve the highest wear group classification, class T, EN660-2, ensuring it can withstand heavy daily traffic.

For the entrance to the Law School, contrasting wall and floor finishes were used to comply with DDA requirements. A mix of dark colours and lighter borders were employed for the flooring in circulation routes, with the colour scheme designed to reflect that used in the garments of the judiciary.

Seeing the wood and the trees

The Hicks Lodge Cycle Centre project, completed by Robert Woodhead for the Forestry Commission, achieved second place in this year’s EMCBE (East Midlands Centre for Constructing the Built Environment) Environmental Sustainability Award category.

Craig Pygall of Woodhead said: “With 11 other strong finalists, achieving second place on the night was a great accomplishment. The project as a whole was a fantastic achievement for us. We worked really well as a team; the Forestry Commission, the National Forest Company, Pick Everard Architects and ourselves.

“It was truly a delightful project and is a great facility for the local community near Moira in Leicestershire.”

Incorporating Woodhead’s knowledge of green technologies, Hicks Lodge uses sustainable timber throughout, solar panels, a biomass boiler, a sustainable urban drainage (SUD) system in an airtight structure – all design elements which make a significant contribution to sustainable development principles.

Set in the National Forest the project is designed to BREEAM Excellent standard. Only one site skip was used with less than 3% of waste going to landfill.

Landmark storm controln

ACO Water Management’s cellular attenuation system, ACO StormTank, has been selected to provide surface water storage at Centenary Quay – Southampton’s new landmark regeneration project.

A key component of a sustainable drainage system serving the site’s car parking and footway areas, the StormTank proposal, which positioned the tank next to a new Section 38 highway, is one of the first to be Category ‘O’ certified having met the adopting highways authority’s strict structural performance criteria.

The £500 million Centenary Quay redevelopment will transform the former Vosper Thornycroft shipyard into a vibrant mix of new homes, leisure and community facilities, shops and offices. Funded through a partnership of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), Southampton City Council and the private sector, the scheme also includes a new Maritime and Marine Innovation Quarter.

Sized to attenuate the surface water run-off that would arise from a 1 in 100 year storm coinciding with a 1 in 200 year high tide – together with a 30% allowance for climate change – the tank would need to withstand the lateral and sheering loads exerted by passing traffic using the new adjacent highway. The challenge facing consulting engineers Capita Symonds was to find a tank manufacturer that could support the proposed scheme with a rigorous structural analysis of its in-situ performance.

“ACO was the only potential supplier who could provide the quality of information and level of detail we needed to satisfy the adopting highway authority,” Robert Cooper, principal engineer at Capita Symonds, said. “The technical assessment compiled by ACO’s Design Services Team formed a vital part of the overall Section 38 submission which was subsequently fully approved.”

The 120m3 ACO StormTank at Centenary Quay has a recessed edge profile along one side to avoid any direct vertical loading from a series of off-line parking bays on the highway. Configured to attenuate all the water it receives, the tank is encased in an impermeable welded geomembrane which is then wrapped in a protective outer fleece – a combination that achieves a fully watertight and stable installation. When tidal conditions permit, the tank discharges to the adjacent River Itchen through a conventional non-return valve outlet.

ACO StormTank’s design uses high strength central pillars and side walls to provide load bearing capacity and structural integrity. A completed tank only requires side panels at its perimeter to provide lateral support. The result is a totally barrier free interior void that can be easily accessed, inspected and cleaned. The free flow of storm water entering the tank also avoids having to use expensive pipe manifolds and additional pipework to distribute flow evenly.


Solar water heating kicks off

The new Ark Academy in Wembley incorporated Andrews Water Heaters to supply two solar water heating systems and five award-winning direct fired storage water heaters to meet the hot water requirements.

The system’s roof-mounted solar collectors comprise the largest surface area of Andrews’ glazed flat plate collectors so far installed in a single project.

The Academy, which has specialist status in mathematics and citizenship, is mixed and non-denominational. Completed and ready for occupation in September 2010, the new school buildings provide all-through, primary and secondary education to children aged from 3 to 18, half of whom come from Wembley, with the other half from the Stonebridge and Harlesden areas of London.

The planning requirements dictated that a percentage of renewable energy was to be used to reduce the school’s carbon footprint. The building services for Ark Academy were designed by Mitie Engineering Services South East Region which also specified the Andrews Solarflo water heating systems.

A spokesman for the company said: “The system was easy to install without using specialist labour, and quick to commission. Since commissioning, the system has been operating without any problems and is easy to maintain.” The equipment supplied comprises two separate Solarflo systems with a total of 150m2 of glazed flat plate collectors, along with five Maxxflo gas-fired storage water heaters which won the Queen’s Award for Innovation for their energy saving capabilities when they were introduced to the market.

The solar collectors are installed in two areas: on the flat roof of the primary school, where 100m2 serves the building housing both schools, while the separate sports building is served by 50m2 of collectors installed on the pitched roof. In the school building, the Solarflo cylinder and ancillary plant, together with two Maxxflo water heaters, are located within the ground floor plantroom and serve classrooms, laboratories, kitchen, food tech room, toilet areas and tea points. Equipment in the sports building, including three Maxxflo water heaters, is located in the first floor plantroom, serving, showers and toilet areas. Water is preheated by the solar collectors, which are installed at an angle which optimises their efficiency and the heat is transferred to an unvented cylinder, in turn supplying the Maxxflo water heaters and thereby considerably reducing consumption of natural gas.

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


Windy high street

One of the UK’s largest independent fashion retailers, Mackays Group, which trades as M&Co, is taking steps to secure its continued growth by becoming the first High Street chain to secure full control of its future electricity consumption.

The move will see all of M&Co’s stores, in nearly 300 towns across the UK, powered by its own renewable energy sources. To ensure total control and long-term supply, Mackays Group has launched a wholly owned subsidiary business, MEG Renewables, which will invest in, develop and operate small to medium-scale wind turbine sites across the UK.

Mackays Group’s strategy is different to that adopted by many other retailers where supply contracts are generally in place with third party wind-farm owners. The MEG Renewables’ model is to develop and own smaller sites of typically one to three turbines with a combined capacity of between 500kW and 5MW. The output from these turbines will be secured directly by M&Co.

With MEG Renewables project managing sites, rather than just financing them, the arrangement will also mean that the M&Co business will have continuity of supply throughout the 25 years or more of a site’s operational lease.

Duncan Black, energy manager for M&Co, said: “As well as providing a secure source of renewable electricity, in line with our desire to minimise our carbon footprint, owning our own wind turbines provides a valuable hedge against any future upward movements in electricity prices.”

MEG Renewables has estimated it will need to develop up to 20MW to service all its stores. This approach to develop smaller sites is in keeping with MEG Renewables strategy to maintain a broad portfolio of renewable energy assets.

Recycling success

Since launching Recofloor in Scotland just under six months ago, Headlam Scotland is turning the UK’s award-winning vinyl flooring recycling scheme into a real success story north of the border.

More than 10 tonnes of waste vinyl flooring has been collected by the firm, Scotland’s largest floorcovering wholesaler and distributor, at its North Lanarkshire premises since April 2011. This figure represents some 3.5% of the total waste collected by Recofloor this year.

Collected material is sent back to flooring manufacturers and Recofloor founders, Altro and Polyflor for further processing. Clean offcuts are reprocessed back into new vinyl flooring. Smooth uplifted flooring is used to make traffic management products such as traffic cone bases and speed bumps.

Headlam Scotland has operated from its Eurocentral headquarters since 1997 and is the first distributor to launch Recofloor in Scotland. Recofloor bins have been installed at its site to accept off-cuts from fitters, making it easy for them to dispose of waste when they arrive to pick up new flooring and supplies.

Waste vinyl flooring off-cuts are also being collected from the new £840 million New South Glasgow Hospital Campus – the biggest single NHS hospital building project ever undertaken in Scotland. Due for completion in 2016 on the site of the existing Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, the 14-floor building will have 1,109 beds, 20 operating theatres and is expected to treat 110,000 patients every year.

Headlam Scotland provides one-tonne bags for collecting waste off-cuts from the hospital site. The collection process is overseen on site by its key client, Edinburgh-based Recycling and Services. When full, the bags are returned to Headlam’s premises for bulking up before being sent for recycling.


Brunswick House, Cambridge

Unite Modular Solutions has been appointed by McLaren Construction as the specialist volumetric modular contractor for a new student accommodation development in Cambridge.

Brunswick House is located in the heart of the new landmark Cambridge Riverside Development and will boast the use of volumetric modular construction – the fast-track design and factory manufacture of volumetric units in the form of lightweight steel frame technology that are then joined together on site – for all of its 346 modules.

Work on site started in July 2011 and Unite Modular Solutions (UMS) will begin production of the modules at its state-of-the-art Gloucestershire factory in December before delivering them to site.

Volumetric modular construction’s ability to meet the strict deadlines required by McLaren Construction was a crucial factor in UMS being appointed as it means that the building can be taken from concept to completion by the start of the academic year in 2012.

As well as the project benefitting from volumetric modular construction’s ability to provide benefits in cost and programme reductions, it will also receive enhancements to build quality, improved health and safety on site, a significant reduction in environmental impact and improved through-life performance.

Ray Williamson, divisional director at Stride Treglown, said: “Brunswick House has been designed to take full advantage of the UMS system, with modular bedrooms, staircases and lift shafts, which enabled the project to be delivered faster than a traditional build, with zero defects on completion. The client and its delivery team know exactly what they are going to get thanks to the factory mock-ups and with fully finished rooms arriving on site so early in the build, risks to the handover date are greatly reduced.”


Southampton sun

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

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

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

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

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


Carbon management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mayor calls for world class

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Clever lights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A rubbish road bridge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sustainable landmark

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starter for ten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Development is a wrap

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

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

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

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

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

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


Get ahead for business

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

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

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

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

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


Sustainable Suffolk mansion

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

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

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

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

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

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