Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry


Flushed away

Geberit will be at Ecobuild 2012 in March with a stand displaying its sanitary systems.

Taking centre stage will be Geberit’s UP320 concealed cistern, which requires no tools to maintain. The cistern, which is fitted into the Duofix framing system, has been updated to ensure a top-rate performance while helping specifiers adhere to ‘green’ guidelines for sustainability.

Primarily, the flush valve has been adapted to feature an additional low flush volume setting of 4.5 which can be simply activated and therefore provides flush volumes of 6 litres and 3 litres, factory set, or 4.5 and 3 litres for use with WC pans that have been designed for low flush volumes.

Alongside the UP320, Geberit will also be displaying its comprehensive range of products, from plumbing and drainage solutions through to easy to install frame systems for wall-hung sanitaryware, stylish flush plates and touch-free infra-red sensor brassware.

Also, making its debut at Ecobuild will be a new self-sustaining power supply for Geberit infra-red taps.

Stand S225

Electrically heated glass

Glass UK has announced the launch of EtaGlass – a new electrically heated glass technology, which, the company claims, enables buildings to have far greater amounts of glass without increasing their energy use.

EtaGlass provides a simple room thermostat to control the temperature and can be specified in glass sizes of up to 6m in height.

“Etaglass is designed to increase the amount of radiant heat because the cold face of a window always produces a chilly downdraught that causes people to turn up the room thermostat and waste energy,” explained Glass UK’s sales director Warren Evans.

“The use of EtaGlass means that property owners can reduce air temperature while saving energy and increasing their comfort levels. We put some electrical energy into the glass and this can save significant amounts on the overall cost of heating. Other manufacturers can only offer heated glass in maximum sizes of 1200mm. Oversized glass panel sizes usually mean larger cold spots around the glass. EtaGlass allows structures to be designed with very large glass areas while maintaining comfort levels.”

Glass UK came up with EtaGlass following demand from architects and developers. “Our reputation has been established by working with architects to design, engineer and assemble fully bespoke structural glass projects on prestigious homes,” Warren said. “Architects are always looking for ways to optimise the efficiency of their structures, especially when it comes to the use of heating energy. This is a technically simple solution that may dramatically reduce energy use and cost.”


Design manual

Kingspan Insulation has released the latest edition of its design manual.

This specification tool provides architects, contractors, stockists and end users with a complete guide, not only to product information, but also to design and construction good practice.

The easy to use format has been updated to provide a thorough catalogue of the extensive range of Kingspan Kooltherm and Therma rigid thermoset insulation products, along with advice on how these products can help towards compliance with the current Approved Document L.

One of the biggest challenges in the ADL 2010 version is the requirement for a 25% carbon reduction from 2006 levels, and one of the most effective ways to achieve such a dramatic reduction is through a fabric-first approach. The design manual provides a guide to the thicknesses needed to achieve the required U-values for ADL 2010, and includes specifications that provide even greater thermal efficiencies.

The manual is available now from the Kingspan Insulation website, as an Interactive PDF which allows for simple navigation, searching and zooming of the manual. It can be viewed or downloaded from the Kingspan Insulation website.

Hard copies of the design manual are also available for order. These come in a ring binder with clearly labelled sections that can be easily removed, allowing any updates to the literature to be easily incorporated. As part of its commitment to the environment, Kingspan offers a free recycling service for old copies of the design Manual.

Specifiers, stockists and contractors are supported by a free technical advice service.


Sustainable champions

Lafarge will be among the ‘champions of sustainable construction’ celebrated at a high profile parliamentary reception arranged by The Green Organisation.

The event, at the Strangers Dining Room, House of Commons, on Wednesday February 18, will feature some of the companies which have most impressed in the Built Environment section of the Green Organisation’s Green Apple Awards, one of the world’s most popular environmental campaigns.

Leicestershire-based Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK (LACUK) will be among the firms being presented to Parliament, enabling it to showcase its contribution to the construction of the UK’s future homes, communities and business centres.

Part of the Lafarge Group – the world’s largest building materials manufacturer – LACUK is committed to developing innovative products which can play a part in ensuring the UK meets its goal to achieve an 80% carbon reduction by 2050.

In the year the Green Deal will become available to encourage existing homes and businesses to become more energy efficient, LACUK will also use the reception to launch a unique partnership.

The partnership will lead the way in developing pioneering, yet easily scalable and commercially viable solutions to constructing new housing which will meet the Government’s target of all new homes being zero-carbon by 2016.

Stuart Wykes, managing director for the aggregates business of LACUK, said: “Success for the UK in achieving the target of an 80% carbon reduction by 2050 will require the support of innovative and environmentally responsible companies in the fields of architecture, construction and property management.

“We plan to use our experience of creating sustainable and ever more environmentally sound products, together with our expertise in building materials, to forge ahead with a groundbreaking partnership we are developing with SEArch Architects and a major UK housebuilder.

LACUK’s architectural partners, SEArch Architects will also feature at the reception along with Alumet, specialists in the design, production and installation of the entire building envelope, Land Securities the largest commercial property company in the UK and The Green Organisation, the independent, not-for-profit group which launched the Green Apple Awards for the Built Environment and Architectural Heritage more than 12 years ago.

Recycling help

Bedfors-based DGU manufacturer, Clearglaze, recently took delivery of a recycling waste compactor from Landfill Alternatives for its cardboard and plastic film packaging waste.

Clearglaze director Nick Graziano said: “As part of our existing environmental policy and our commitment to on-going improvements in our operations production efficiency we wanted to ensure that none of our recyclable packaging waste ended up in landfill.

“This small machine has made an enormous difference to Clearglaze, by simply segregating and compacting our cardboard and plastic film waste we’ve reduced our waste management costs by 75% saving us thousands of pounds a year and we now also receive revenue for waste we previously paid to have taken away.

“It’s a win win scenario.”

Landfill Alternatives offers free advice to the fenestration industry on how best to reduce ever increasing skip costs.

Skip costs are set to increase again on April 1st due to a 15% rise in landfill tax.

01295 816733

Recycling help

Leads2Trade is offering a discount for the ‘SolarCare Plus’ product range.

SolarCare Plus is a scheme launched by Quality Assured National Warranties (QANW) that offers benefits to both solar installers and consumers. Leads2Trade customers will be able to become part of the popular package at the discounted rate of £49.99, which is reduced from £119.40.

By joining via Leads2Trade, installers will benefit from a reduced full one-year membership of SolarCare Plus. The scheme includes benefits such as access to BondPay, which is a secure way for homeowners to pay and contractors to get paid for home improvements.

Members will also be able to take advantage of chip and pin services to provide their customers with convenient payment solutions; flexible consumer finance options to help them sell their products more effectively and insurance backed guarantees that protect both solar installers and their customers.

Leads 2Trades’ sales director Andy Royle said: “Ultimately, membership means installers join a select group with access to services that will give them the edge over their competitors. Despite past announcements and uncertainty regarding the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) rate, solar remains a great investment opportunity and SolarCare Plus will help installers win more business.”


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.