Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry


Red-hot start to 2012

As the temperature drops, Altecnic’s sales team are handling red-hot enquiries about its recently launched A-rated thermostatic radiator valve, Ecocal.

Tested against the requirements of the European Valve Manufacturers’ Association, ‘Thermostatic Efficiency Label’ (TELL), and specifically engineered for both retro-fit and new installations, the BS EN 215 certified Ecocal is available in 8mm, 10mm and 15mm.

Designed to be easily installed, the serrated sliding tail piece helps to prevent alterations to pipework and ensuring PTFE sealant bonds securely. A positive off position also allows the radiator to be removed without the need to be drained.

The straight or angled device has a fully reversible body for either vertical or horizontal fit that is suitable for on flow or return pipework. The Ecocal is also available in white and chrome finish with matching lockshields and are liquid filled to instantly react to changes in ambient temperature.

Chris Ramster, sales director said: “The industry recognises the benefits of installing high grade, internationally accredited products that are easy to fit and maintain. As with the rest of our range, Ecocal ticks all these boxes. Our customers know that when they choose an Altecnic product they’ll get a quality, hassle-free piece of kit which makes them, and their customers, happy!”

www.altecnic.co.uk 01785 218200

Load tested

The TPedge module, jointly developed by Bystronic glass and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has successfully completed the mechanical load test and hail impact test.

The characteristic features of the TPedge module technology are the local fixing of the cell array – without lamination – and a glass edge sealing. The TPedge modules in the full-format measuring 1636 mm x 985 mm were subjected to the mechanical load test up to a force measuring 2400N/m2 and the hail impact test with ball speeds of 23m/s.

The tests that were performed on two TPedge modules were based upon the requirements as set out by the IEC 61215 Standard. No loss in performance could be detected on the modules following testing in the accredited ‘TestLab PV Modules’ at Fraunhofer ISE.

Losses in performance of up to 5% are permitted in the complete test sequence in accordance with the standard. According to a TestLab PV Modules statistic, approximately 10% of module failures that occur during the certification tests are as a result of the mechanical load and hail impact test.

The TPedge module is a joint development by Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg and the Bystronic glass Group on the basis of a Fraunhofer patent. The wafer-based solar module can be produced much quicker and less expensively than standard wafer modules. The time and cost savings are a consequence of a simplified modular structure and a completely innovative production technology.

"The cell array is locally fixed between two glass plates,” said Dr Harry Wirth, Head of Group Photovoltaic Modules, Systems and Reliability at Fraunhofer ISE. "The utilisation of foils and the associated laminating are not necessary."

The edge sealing of the TPedge module is carried out via the application of the thermoplastic material TPS at 130°C, even an additional aluminium frame is not necessary. www.bystronic-glass.com

New MEV range

EnviroVent has launched a new range of centralised and decentralised mechanical extract ventilation (MEV) solutions suitable for houses, apartments and communal residences.

Developed to meet the requirements of system 3 in accordance with Part F of the Building Regulations the systems provide all year round, good indoor air quality using the lowest energy consumption.

The Ozeo is a compact whole house MEV unit fitted with multiple extract points and designed with double-injection self-sealing duct connections which pivot 90° to allow ease and flexibility when it comes to installation. To enable full demand ventilation, the unit has intelligent humidity sensing valves and PIR sensors. The Ozeo is SAP Appendix Q eligible and is Energy Savings Trust Best Practice Performance Compliant.

In addition, and developed for specific markets, is the intelligent constant pressure MEV, the Ozeo Ecowatt CP. Constant pressure ventilation allows the airflow inside the property to self-adjust in order to remain at a constant level without a drop in pressure, regardless of any ‘boost’ activity in other areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.

The ECO dMEV is a constant volume, continuously running, stylish single room decentralised MEV. SAP Appendix Q eligible, achieving a low Specific Fan Power of 0.26 W/l/s, the ECO dMEV makes a significant contribution to achieving favourable SAP calculations for ventilation.

Mobile control

Mitsubishi Electric has released details of a special mobile display unit which has been developed specifically to allow the company to take its range of advanced air conditioning control systems out to customers’ buildings.

The display contains all of the company’s most popular control systems from the M2M platform which allows customers to integrate multiple sites into one network, to the advanced AG150 touch screen controller with web server capabilities and energy meter interfaces showing operators the full potential of energy monitoring.

“We have developed this display so that we can easily demonstrate to customers how effective control of their air conditioning system can help lead to lower energy use,” explained Mitsubishi Electric’s controls expert, Sebastien Desmottes.

Systems that help building operators to monitor and control their energy use include specialist systems such as Melcotel, which can integrate with hotel room systems to ensure that rooms are not using air conditioning when they are empty.

Mitsubishi Electric has also developed air conditioning controllers that can monitor and link to other energy-using equipment such as lighting and alarm systems.

“According to the Building Research Establishment, UK buildings account for 44% of all greenhouse gas emissions which is more than industry or transport so anyone involved in the built environment needs to find ways of controlling and minimising their energy use,” Desmottes added. “This mobile system will allow us to respond to customer’s requests and show them the benefits of advanced control in their own premises.”

air.conditioning@meuk.mee.com 01707 282880

Highly rated

The Safedoors retail offer from Permadoor has become one of the first composite door ranges to achieve the highest A rating on both solid and glazed doorsets, under the new Door Energy Rating (DER) scheme.

An independent measure of a door’s energy efficiency, DERs are based on a doorset’s U-value (rate of heat transfer) and air leakage. Performance ratings range from A (most energy efficient) to G (least energy efficient) and follow the same ‘rainbow’ scale commonly used on domestic appliances and by the well-established Window Energy Ratings (WERs) scheme.

Safedoors supports the DERs objectives and has confirmed the results per doorset to be in line with the DERs scheme developed by the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC).

Safedoors is the new retail offer from Permadoor, the UK’s original composite door manufacturer, providing reliable, friendly service and a proven product range, all supported by the £multi-million Epwin Group.

Commenting on the Door Energy Ratings, Adrian Wyatt of Safedoors said: “Safedoors is a real supporter of the DERs scheme. WERs have already proved their value with homeowners who appreciate and understand energy rating labels, and we expect DERs to have a similar positive impact on retail sales.

“With rising energy bills, homeowners are not only concerned with the appearance and performance of home improvement products; they are also increasingly focused on how a new front door for example, will effect their household energy use and fuel bills.

“Fabricators and installers would be wise to recommend energy rated doors to householders to help them maximise potential energy savings and with so many A ratings across both solid and glazed doorsets, the Safedoors offer represents the widest choice of energy rated composite doors in the industry.”

The Safedoors range is available in red, blue, green, white and black finishes, plus antique oak and rosewood woodgrain effects. All doors come complete with a full multipoint locking system and a choice of suited hardware including a knocker, letterplate, numerals and spyhole in gold, chrome, black, white or satin chrome finishes.

The doors are fully compliant with the latest Building Regulations and are proven to be thermally efficient, with some of the lowest U-values in the marketplace.

Each door has a fully reinforced 70mm PVC-U outer frame, high insulation foam core, strong through-coloured GRP facings and slim, low line aluminium thresholds with twin seals.

The energy rated doorsets are on display at the new Epwin Group stand at the Building Centre in London and will also be showcased on the Epwin Group stand (N1310) at Ecobuild at ExCel, London from 20 to 22 March 2012.


From Eco to Zed

ZEDfactory is back at Ecobuild 2012 with solarZED, which challenges received thinking on high density public transport provision by putting affordable solar-powered transport at the heart of sustainable development.

The latest version of ZEDfactory’s energy roof will be on display, creating a ‘solar tree’ to power a new range of electric vehicles.

The 3kw peak ‘solar tree’ – using the latest version of ZEDfactory’s energy roof – will promote zero carbon personal transport as a viable option for private individuals, as well as companies and pool hire, at a fraction of the cost of providing public transport infrastructure.

Sustainability floored

New ways of reusing carpet materials and offcuts will be showcased by Carpet Recycling UK on Stand S20 at Ecobuild 2012.

A full information-packed CRUK seminar programme on Thursday March 22nd will highlight the latest progress on treating recovered carpet as a rich new resource for novel products and high-end applications.

Three popular seminar sessions will focus on sustainable practices supported by CRUK, the industry-backed association for waste carpet reuse and recycling, in its third appearance at the Excel show.

Starting at 11am, the seminars will feature senior industry figures and leading flooring manufacturers sharing their knowledge on the latest research and development into advanced recycling and reprocessing techniques for all types of synthetic and wool carpets.

Discussion will also centre on how carpet materials can be used as a valuable new resource for cost-effective and eco-friendly design concepts, including construction products. The sessions will cover:

• Innovative construction products from carpet fibres
• Design for recycling and designing products with recycled content
• Carpet tile reuse and recycling

“Tremendous opportunities for recovering and recycling carpet materials are emerging all the time. For example, recovered carpet fibres can be used in wood replacement products and advertising hoardings or protective screens for building sites,” said Jane Gardner of resource recovery specialists Axion Consulting, which manages CRUK.

“Identifying new ways of diverting this bulky waste stream from landfill and recovering it for reuse is a primary focus for us as we move towards our target of 25% carpet waste diversion from landfill by 2015.”


Triple accreditation

ICB, provider of sustainable roofs, has received a hat-trick of awards from the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) to demonstrate the company’s commitment to quality, safety and the environment.

The accreditations, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001, were added to ICB’s existing ISO 9001 and all three ISOs were awarded to sister company ICB (Solar) which specialises in turnkey Solar PV solutions.

ISO 14001 is the internationally accepted standard for effective environmental management systems and standards. To receive this certification, the company had to demonstrate a systematic approach to the identification, control and improvement of its environmental impact.

In recognition of ICB’s abilities to deliver continuous improvements to both customers and other stakeholders, the company also achieved ISO 9001 – the internationally recognised standard for the quality management of businesses.

To complete the hat-trick, the OHSAS 18001 accreditation was awarded to recognise and reward ICB’s implementation of a framework to effectively manage Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S).

Taped up

ISO-Chemie will be hosting a series of on-stand (N1020) demonstrations of its high performance foam sealing tapes at Ecobuild 2012 to show how quick and easy they are to install.

These will include the iso³ system which provides three levels of sealing – external seals provide weather resistance and breathability while the intermediate seal provides extra thermal and acoustic properties and the internal one air tightness and humidity regulation. All three levels are designed to accommodate movement between the adjacent materials.

The system features a combination of materials which can be mixed and matched to suit the individual installation. These include the ISO-Bloco 600 tapes, ISO-Bloco HF tape, and various ISO-Connect window foils such as the Vario SD, CX and FD ranges. The window foils can be installed using either the factory applied adhesives or the separate ISO-TOP flexi-adhesive for airtight and windproof bonding of window connection films and loft foils.

Also showing will be ISO-Bloco One foam sealing tape – now available with a 10-year performance guarantee – which enables installers to easily seal windows from inside the building, avoiding the need to use time consuming and costly external access systems like scaffolding and ladders.

The premium edition of the ISO-Bloco T-Max, now available in new sizes, has been designed for multi-storey timber frame structures, where it compensates for the large amount of differential movement which can occur between the internal timber wall and roofs and the external brick or block work.

Also showing will be the ISO-Bloco One Control for sealing of windows at the manufacturing or fabrication site with activation at the building /installation site, ISO-Connect HB Band, ISO-Butyl Alu Tape (UK version) and ISO Chemie’s green tape ISO-TOP Flex. All systems and products comply with energy saving standards, DIN standards and RAL requirements.


Political visit

NSG Group recently welcomed Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, on a tour of its new 150,000ft2 off-line coating facility currently under construction at Pilkington Park, St Helens.

Nick Clegg witnessed work in progress on the facility, which once operational in November 2012, will produce the new highly energy efficient Pilkington K Glass S which was launched to the UK market in October.

Work has now started on site, preparing the derelict land for the foundations of the £36m off-line coating facility, adjacent to the NSG Group’s Cowley Hill float line in St Helens. The new facility exemplifies the Group’s commitment to continued investment in the latest glass production technology for the benefit of customers across the UK.

The plant will in provide the company with a wide range of products available across the UK market, complementing its hard coat Pilkington K Glass, as well as solar control glass. In the meantime products will be supplied from the Group’s coating facilities in Sweden and Germany.

David Pinder, managing director, Building Products UK & South Europe said: “The new line will allow us to widen our range of high-performance coated glasses, enabling our customers to meet and exceed UK building energy-saving regulations. Local UK manufacture of some products we currently import from our plants elsewhere in Europe will in turn help reduce transport costs and environmental impact, in line with our sustainability agenda.”

UK Building Regulations have been gradually tightened since 2002, mandating the use of low-emissivity products in new and replacement windows in homes. The new coating line will manufacture improved products, ‘future proofed’ to meet tighter regulations in future.

The wider range of products will in turn satisfy an even broader range of customer and market-specific requirements. It is estimated that installing energy-efficient windows in all UK homes could reduce national CO2 emissions by 10% and domestic energy expenditure by 10% – saving in excess of £2 billion per year for consumers across the UK.


Bacon butties

Recofloor says its successful nationwide ‘Bacon Butty’ roadshows in 2011 have attracted an additional 75 flooring contractors. Many signed up on the day to the UK’s award-winning vinyl flooring recycling scheme, founded by leading flooring manufacturers Altro and Polyflor.

Nine events were held at flooring distributors’ premises from Scotland to Kent and attracted over 160 visitors in total. Visitors took the opportunity to learn more about the scheme’s features and benefits over a bacon sandwich.

“We had a tremendous response, which certainly exceeded our expectations, and we received a lot of positive feedback from existing and potential Recofloor members. Many commented on how the Recofloor scheme is straightforward and easy to use,” said Matt Charlton, one of Recofloor’s representatives.

“People we spoke to were particularly keen to learn more about the scheme and appreciated the opportunity to meet Recofloor representatives who could explain more about it. I think that’s why we recruited so many new members at the events,” he said. “We’re planning to hold similar roadshows again in 2012.

“Membership now includes a large proportion of floor distributors in the UK who supply vinyl flooring.”

Recofloor is an industry-led take-back initiative that collects and recycles smooth uplifted vinyl and smooth and safety off-cuts. It is managed by resource recovery specialists Axion Consulting.

The scheme has more than 350 collectors across the UK and Ireland comprising flooring contractors, drop-off sites at flooring distributors and waste transfer stations. Recofloor diverts growing volumes of waste vinyl flooring from landfill, reducing disposal costs for local authorities, distributors and contractors. Waste vinyl flooring is also collected from major construction projects at schools, hospitals and leading retail stores.


Rehau at Ecobuild

2012 will be Rehau’s 4th appearance at Ecobuild and it will be showing its range of polymer solutions for the ground source and biomass markets.

The stand will display both of Rehau’s pre-insulated pipes – Rauvitherm and Rauthermex. These can be used for a wide range of applications including district heating, biomass, biogas and heat pumps. Both pipes use the renowned Rehau Everloc compression sleeve fitting and both are available in long coils, cut to length from UK stock.

Rehau’s Raugeo ground source range include vertical probes, horizontal collectors, Helix probes and energy piles. Rehau’s stand will feature a manifold chamber so that installers can see this lightweight and compact solution first hand, as well as information on the company’s underfloor heating solutions.

Alongside these will be Rehau’s award winning Awadukt Thermo ground-air heat exchanger which was a winner in the 2011 Home Building & Renovating Product Excellence Awards. This underground pipe system pre-cools or pre-heats ventilation air before it enters a building, offering a simple and low-energy passive solution. Awadukt Thermo has been used extensively in both the residential and commercial sectors.

Rehau’s team of specialists will be on the stand ready to offer advice on which of its low energy solutions could be suitable for different types of projects.


Green themes

Demonstrating both sustainability and thermal efficiency, Reynaers Aluminium will be showcasing a number of thermally improved systems at EcoBuild 2012 including its window and door system, CS104, ideal for passive construction.

Also featured on the stand will be CF77 Concept Folding sliding doors, CS38 slimline, steel replacement windows, Airmax parallel opening windows, CW50 Hi thermally improved curtain walling and examples of the company’s sunscreening products.

A high insulation, triple glazed window system, meeting the exacting passive construction standards, Reynaers CS104 has a market leading Uw value of 0.77 W/m²K, for a complete window.

On show for the first time at EcoBuild is the new Reynaers Concept Folding 77, a sliding, folding system with features that combine openness with large dimensions while meeting the demands for high insulation. Versatile and easy to use, the system offers two vent profiles and can be used to fully open up internal spaces, while providing three threshold solutions.

Ideal for the replacement of steel windows, Reynaers CS38-SL is a three-chamber window system with excellent technical performance. Its slim lines make it equally attractive for new build applications for all types of side or top hung windows.

The unique parallel opening window Airmax allows air to flow around its entire perimeter facilitating highly efficient ventilation. Its use almost doubles airflow in comparison to traditional top hung windows. Airmax, in a fully automated version, will also feature on a CW50 Hi curtain walling facade. This high thermally insulated system can achieve a Uw value as low as 1.0 W/m²K, providing optimal thermal comfort.

Options of Reynaers Sunscreening systems will also be on show, designed to readily integrate into new or existing buildings to protect against solar heat gain and glare ensuring a comfortable working environment while reducing the reliance on air conditioning.


Exhibiting efficiency

Solent Glass & Glazing Products will be at Ecobuild exhibiting the Rehau Geneo composite window system.

The specialist fabricator is showcasing a complete range of Passivhaus certified windows, doors and lift and slide patios in the Rehau Geneo system as well as illustrating recent successful installations in a range of energy efficient homes.

The six chambered Rehau Geneo window system is manufactured using a 100% recyclable fibre composite material branded RAU-Fipro, similar to the kinds of fibre composites used extensively in aircraft construction and Formula 1 design.

It has an inherent strength which means it can perform without any requirement for steel reinforcement in standard sized windows and a thermal efficiency which means windows fabricated in Rehau Geneo can achieve Uw values as low as 0.67W/m2K when triple glazed and Krypton filled and 1.1W/m2K when double glazed and Argon filled.

Solent Glass and Glazing, based in Fareham, Hampshire, is a specialist manufacturer of the Rehau Geneo system in the UK, and combines experience and expertise in this most advanced contemporary window solution with a successful 25 year track record in glass and glazing manufacture. www.rehau.co.uk

Design award

Technal has won an international award for innovation and design for its latest facade concept.

The Batimat Design Awards are held every two years as part of the international construction exhibition and conference in Paris. The awards recognise manufacturers who have launched innovative building products developed in conjunction with in-house or external designers.

At this year’s awards, Technal won a Silver trophy in the Structural category, which was presented at a glittering event held at the historic Hotel de Ville in Paris.

The award was given for a double skin facade concept developed by Technal with leading French architects, Jacques Ferrier Architectures. The aluminium system ‘folds’ to help accommodate a building in its environment – it is ‘pleated’ vertically for east or west orientations and horizontally for southern aspects.

The facade panels can be modular and units with photovoltaic cells provide sunshading to reduce solar gain and control glare. The double skin system is also designed to improve insulation, to cool the photovoltaic components whose efficiency is temperature-related and to deliver enhanced acoustic performance.

The concept was developed by Technal as part of a research and development project to redefine the building envelope and demonstrate innovative use of solar power generation.

This year Technal also launched a number of new façade products at Batimat, which all encompass the brand’s ethos for style, functionality, sustainability and comfort. These systems will be available in the UK and Ireland in 2012 and included:

The Soleal casement window range – available in tilt/turn, pivot, bottom and projecting top hung window options, and horizontal sliding and tilt/slide balcony door configurations.


Stove sales up

More householders than ever before are looking forward to a ‘green’ Christmas thanks to the growing popularity of wood burning stoves, according to Shropshire-based Broseley Fires which has seen a dramatic increase in sales of its stoves and it has been working hard to meet demand in the run-up to the festive season.

The company recently experienced it busiest ever week, selling 227 stoves in the five days from November 7. During the same week last year it sold 183 stoves, an increase of nearly 25%. What’s more, compared with sales in 2009 it marks a staggering rise of 95%.

According to the firm’s managing director, John Reeves, the increase in popularity of wood burners has been driven by rising fuel costs and fears that another cold winter is on the way.

“Environmental concerns are also a major factor,” John said. “An increasing number of people are recognising the fact that using a wood burning stove can have significant environmental benefits.

“Unlike fossil fuels, wood burners rely on renewable resources and thanks to advances in stove technology they are extremely efficient.”

The latest range of wood burning products are more than 80% efficient, compared to an open fire which is less that 30% efficient. Most gas fires, meanwhile, only achieve efficiencies of between 30% and 50%.


Switch to energy saving

Energys Group is launching Save It Easy ‘Eco-Switch’, a replacement starter fuse for switch-start fluorescent lamps.

It works with Energys’s existing Save It Easy range to save even more energy by giving the option of lighting different parts of the room to different levels.

In the past, lighting was either switched ‘on’ or ‘off’, but now the Save It Easy ‘Eco-Switch’ offers a carbon-saving third option. This simple replacement starter fuse allows non-vital lamps within a room to remain switched off unless staff choose to switch them on. Unlike some of the more complex control systems, the Eco-Switch is controlled directly by the building’s users and offers them both flexibility and choice, which in turn ensures that the best use is made of the energy saving options.

Many organisations waste energy by keeping parts of their buildings ‘over-lit’. A workspace close to a sunny window has no need of a light directly above it, for example. Previously, the only solution to this type of energy waste was to invest in expensive and sensors and building control technology.

However, the Eco-Switch provides a new solution that doesn’t require any wiring modification or expensive capital investment. The Eco-Switch, which works exclusively with the Save It Easy range of retrofit fluorescent lighting converters, simply replaces the starter fuse. The device is designed to suit switch-start fluorescent lamps and is simple enough to self-install.

When staff enter a room and flick the light switch, the Eco-Switch in place allows the lighting system to automatically power up in ‘energy saving mode’. This means that only lamps that have been specified to be ‘always on’ (those in areas where a high level of illumination is always required) switch on, while the rest remain switched off. If a staff member decides they require more lighting, they simply flick the switch once more and all the lamps in the room light up.

Natural ventilation partnership

A natural ventilation combination from Passivent and Rehau can provide a low energy cooling solution for the commercial market.

The Passivent/Rehau solution combines the former’s passive stack natural ventilation with the latter’s Awadukt Thermo ground-air heat exchanger, and is particularly appropriate for buildings with deep floor plans and/or restricted external facades.

Passivent’s natural ventilation uses inlets on exterior walls and/or windows to draw fresh air into the building, exhausting the ‘used’ internal air through high level facade ventilators and/or roof mounted terminals. Where fresh air is required but there is no suitable exterior facade, the Rehau ground-air heat exchanger draws fresh air into the building through the ground and pump it into the depths of the building via a low energy fan, simultaneously using the earth’s constant temperature of between 7ºC-12°C to pre-heat or pre-cool the incoming air, and relying on Passivent’s extracts to ensure a background ventilation requirement in line with Regulatory requirements.

In domestic environments, a Co-efficient of Performance (COP) of up to 50 can be achieved, with 20 realistic in commercial buildings.

And the strategy is already being proven in ‘real life’, in Carclaze School in St Austell, Devon, a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’ was attained. The two storey school was set into a sloping site, limiting available facades. M&E contractor EIC designed the ventilation so Passivent Aircool units in the walls and windows optimized air flow in classrooms, complemented by an Airscoop providing both fresh air in and ‘used’ air out on the upper ground floor; the Rehau ground-air system providing fresh air into the ground floor areas with limited or no external facades. The whole ventilation is integrated into 18 zones for temperature and CO2, monitored and flow rates adjusted as required by Passivent’s iC6000 controller.

Passivent ‘commercial’ natural ventilation systems already qualify for credits under the BREEAM verification system and contribute towards achievement of Building Regulations Approved Document L (Conservation of Fuel & Power). Further, they reduce energy consumption over air conditioned buildings by up to 50%, yield 15% savings on capital costs, 75% savings on maintenance costs, and eliminate the need for a separate plant room. Natural ventilation is further proven in research to reduce incidence of ‘sick building syndrome’, and improve occupant performance in all environments.

Solar-powered blinds

Sunbell has introduced an external solar photovoltaic option for their range of battery powered interstitial blinds.

The solar panel is designed to improve the performance of the battery by extending to up to six months the period between recharging.

Sunbell has also launched a ‘remote’ control option allowing the user to control up to 12 blinds individually or as a group.

Sunbell blinds are powered by a low-voltage motorised system with control technology that varies from the simple ‘up and down’ rechargeable battery unit with optional solar cell, to more sophisticated ‘hard wired’ options with remote activation for up to 12 blinds.

For manual control Sunbell offers a tilt-only solution operated by a rotating knob linked by a steel cable allowing complete privacy without the need for cords or magnets.

Blinds are designed to provide enhanced privacy, low maintenance and a reduction in sound intrusion and solar glare. Designed for all types of windows, doors and glass partitions, the Sunbell range includes a choice of aluminum and fabric finishes including total blackout options.

Sealed from dirt, dust and moisture, integral blinds are a hygienic and safe solution; by controlling the diffusion of natural light, they can help to reduce the effect of direct sunlight and heat loss, offering protection from overheating in the summer and thermal insulation in the winter.


Showing the way

Cutting energy bills for customers is boosting business for one Essex electrical contractor so impressed with the trial installation of a domestic voltage optimisation system that it has invested its own money in marketing the power saving solution to customers.

Map Contract Services, based in Woodford, installed a Marshall-Tufflex Voltis Home unit in the home of an employee to assess its performance, ease of installation etc. The optimiser proved straightforward to install, taking less than an hour, and returned savings of more than 10% as soon as it was turned on.

MAP is now offering Voltis Home HD to all customers with a single phase electrical supply of up to 60Amps, both domestic, social housing and light commercial users. The company has invested in its own marketing material, backed up with information from Marshall-Tufflex, and already has a number of interested customers.

Company spokesman Jack Creed said: “We’re expanding the MAP portfolio to include ‘green’ solutions to help reduce customers’ energy bills and had heard about domestic voltage optimisers. We compared several systems on the market and selected Marshall-Tufflex’s Voltis Home as our preferred choice. The system is much like an isolator to install – it’s very simple and took less than an hour.”

Voltis Home uses a transformer to step down voltage to a lower level. Pre-programmed control parameters enable it to self-manage, monitoring mains supply and domestic electricity demand. As appliances are switched on and off Voltis Home reacts accordingly to maximise savings. If the unit detects a problem with mains supply it switches into bypass mode and monitors mains until it returns to normal, at which point it returns to power saving mode.

The system is suitable for all single phase electrical loads of up to 60Amps. For domestic users electricity savings of up to 18% are possible. This equates to as much as £150 per year for the average three-bed semi occupied by a family of four people, based on today’s average electricity prices.


Recycling company of the year

FM Conway has been named as Recycling Company of the Year in the Construction Recycling Alliance (CRA) awards 2011.

The company was selected by a panel of judges, comprising academics, journalists and government policy makers who said that FM Conway’s work was deemed ‘commendable throughout’.

Michael Conway, CEO of FM Conway, said: “Being named as recycling company of the year is a fantastic achievement for the company and makes everything we do worthwhile.

“We try to demonstrate a commitment and embedded approach to improving our sustainability within the organisation and promoting an environmentally aware ethos across the company.”

FM Conway has invested £25 million on in-house recycling infrastructure over the past five years and now has the ability to recycle a wide array of materials in-house including; 100% of highways arisings into new aggregates and 100% of asphalt into new 95% recycled content asphalt.

With the only gully waste recycling plant in the UK, 95% of gully waste is recycled as well as all kerbs, paving, concrete, asphalt, sub- base, sand and granular materials.

In 2010, FM Conway saw more than 250,000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill, 220,000 tonnes of recycled products supplied to sites and more than 220,000 tonnes of virgin aggregates saved.

The company’s new asphalt plant, which opened in 2010, incorporates the latest automated technology and is the UK’s only asphalt recycling solution and recognised as one of Europe’s most innovative construction recycling plants.

FM Conway has developed a 95% recycled binder and surface course which exceeds the 40% recycled content of the material used by its competitors, at a similar cost. This recycled product has already been successfully used in resurfacing contracts for its clients in London Boroughs.

Figures also show in 2009/201 that 5,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions were saved and it is estimated that in 2011/2012, there will be a further reduction of 7% in energy use and a commensurate reduction in CO2 emissions, saving more than 8,250 tonnes per year.

More than seven million litres of water were recycled in 2010, reducing the company’s water needs. The newly constructed Thames-side jetty, which will open later this year, will enable materials to be delivered and dispatched by river, saving more than 15,000 lorry movements per year.

Michael Conway added: “We are working hard to develop and deliver innovative products that meet our client’s growing needs for green solutions, and being recognised for our hard work shows we are in the right direction.”

Sustainable drainage guide

A detailed and informative Guide to Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in the Urban Landscape has been published as part of the Engineering Nature’s Way initiative by Hydro International.

The guide can be downloaded for free by visiting www.engineringnaturesway.co.uk, the web-based knowledge resource for SuDS and flooding in the UK. It is jointly authored by Prof Richard Ashley of EcoFutures, Sue Illman of Illman Young Landscape architects and Alex Stephenson, Stormwater director of Hydro International and chair of the British Water SuDS focus group.

The Guide considers the issues surrounding the development of SuDS techniques in urban settings. Topics considered include SuDS and ecosystems services, green infrastructure, water sensitive urban design and retrofitting SuDS, including in highways applications. The Guide also provides practical advice on component selection from the full SuDS toolbox.

“Sustainable surface water management measures can help create a more balanced and natural ecology in our towns and cities. For too long, we have paved over green spaces and treated the resulting surface water runoff as a problem or waste,” said author Alex Stephenson.

“A creative approach to planning for water above ground – in which stormwater is seen as a resource providing multiple benefits – can help make the urban landscape a more balanced, healthy and enjoyable place to live.

“The Guide demonstrates that a correct interpretation of SuDS is one that can be applied to every development. It’s simply no longer acceptable to have an ‘either or’ choice between SuDS or ‘not possible’. A range of techniques, natural, manufactured or combined are available to recreate (or improve on) natural drainage paths.”


Halving landfill waste

Staffordshire manufacturer, Instarmac Group, has recorded a 51% reduction in its waste to landfill.

Instarmac, incorporating Ultracrete, Ultrascape, Ultra Tile and Ultra Floorbrands, has more than halved its waste to landfill as part of its dedication to reducing its environmental impact.

The company has a list of environmental programmes that have included transparent waste stream development, investment in solar and wind powered energy, and providing shredded paper for use at local Twycross Zoo to keep the animals warm in winter.

Instarmac has received recognition for its environmental and sustainability schemes, as well as its projects to boost lean efficiency. The most recent accolade comes from UK’s FeRFA (Resin Flooring Association) where it was shortlisted for an ‘Environmental Initiative’ award. For two years running the company won the same award presented by The Tile Association, for its waste stream processes, recycling and green ethics.

Darren Gough, QHSE manager said: “I am delighted we have reduced our landfill waste by such a huge percentage in a short space of time. We are now looking towards achieving zero waste to landfill.”


Passiv Haus range

Internorm claims to be the only window manufacturer in Europe with nine Passive House certified components.

Thomas Hagen from Internorm said: “The window in a Passive House plays a key role. It can reduce heat loss while optimising thermal gain. In order to achieve this, there are a number of essential principals that need to be met. Firstly, the system requires highly insulating glazing, with a U-value less that 0.80 W/m2K, and should have a g-value of 50% or more.”

The newest addition to Internorm’s Passive House certified range, Thermo Passiv, is a PVCU or PVCU/aluminium window system, which is available with an aluminium attachment cover on request. The system is fitted with new triple glazing as standard and achieves heat insulation values up to 0.69 W/m2K. The product’s sash in ‘Vetro’ design allows frameless, modern glass architecture and narrow view widths up to 87mm.

Internorm also offers Dimension 4 and Passion 4, which are composite PVCU/aluminium clad window options. This system offers integral blinds for privacy and sun protection and is available in both Premium and Softline design.

For a timber/aluminium Passive House certified window, Internorm offers many designs – Premium, Softline and Classic. For a timber/aluminium composite window, there are three options – Varion 4 in flush design, the Varion 4 in Vetro design and Edition 4, which is available in Premium and Softline design. All three windows have integral blinds for privacy and sun protection. The windows feature excellent energy performance and outstanding sound reduction of 45db (with standard glazing).

The PVCU/aluminium clad and the timber/aluminium-clad can be used in the same project as both systems use the same aluminium cladding on the outside. Visually there is no difference – even if one is a PVCU window.

For Passive House entrance door specification Internorm offers its Selection and Selection 2. Both are timber/aluminium house entrance doors with the capacity to deliver a thermal insulation value of 0.79W/m2K. Each comes in a wide selection of designs to suit different architectural styles. There is also a range of balcony and side entrance doors available.


Aiming for net-zero energy

Kingspan Insulated Panels’ head office in Kingscourt, Ireland has installed the Kingspan Roof PowerPanel System.

1000m2 of photovoltaic modules were installed by Northeast Electrical to more than offset the total annual electricity usage of the Group offices in what is thought to be one of the largest PV installations in Ireland. The 130kWp system, which comprises of five hundred and fifty three 235Wp Yingli crystalline PV modules, is expected to generate circa 100,000 kWh per annum.

Similar systems have already been installed at Kingspan Insulation’s manufacturing facility in Pembridge and Kingspan Insulated Panels’ plant in Holywell. At 800kW and 406kW respectively they are currently two of the largest roof-top PV arrays in the UK, the company claimed. At both plants the PV systems were designed to supply a significant proportion of the site’s lighting and manufacturing electricity needs.

Gilbert McCarthy, managing director of Kingspan Insulated Panels, said: “There are so many ways we can take action towards achieving net-zero energy, and it is important to lead by example. We are planning to roll out a basket of measures across all of our operations, and are already working on the next phase to move our own manufacturing sites towards net-zero energy. It is a real challenge for manufacturers, but one that is well worth pursuing, both in terms of cutting energy costs, reducing our reliance on power from the grid and exceeding customer expectations in managing our own environmental impacts.”

Commissioned and approved by ESB on the 10th October, the Kingscourt system took just two weeks to complete, and is predicted to save around 52,500Kg/CO2 per annum. The installation will make a significant contribution to reducing carbon as well as generating energy.

The addition of a Kingspan Safetraxx off-ridge fall arrest system, which was designed and installed by Skyway, means that the ongoing maintenance of the Kingscourt PV system has been made both safer and easier. Safetraxx complies with BS EN 795 and, when installed in conjunction with Kingspan insulated panels, is available with the Kingspan 25 year Total System Guarantee.