Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry


Solar Canopy range

Able Canopies has launched its Faraday Solar Canopy range, a new range of free standing structures which provide shade from the sun while converting the sun's energy into electricity to be used by nearby buildings.

The Faraday Solar canopy is a steel framed canopy with a 32mm box profile steel roof, which can support a photovoltaic (PV) system to convert the sun's energy into electricity. Once the canopy has been installed, customers can take advantage of the Government's Feed in Tariff allowing them to not only generate electricity for their organisation but also earn added revenue for every Kilowatt per hour (kWh) generated.

This new canopy is ideal for organisations that cannot install PV systems to their existing roof space due to building restrictions or insufficient sun exposure caused by shading or an unsuitable position. With a Faraday Solar Canopy the structure can be positioned to ensure the PV panels received optimum sun exposure, plus the customer will also gain the benefits of a covered outdoor area.

The canopy is supplied galvanised as standard for corrosion protection and comes with a 25-year guarantee.

It is also possible to view the day-to-day operation and output of a Faraday Solar canopy's PV system on a specially designed website or via special screen allowing customers to view how much energy the PV panels are generating. With this optional extra the Faraday Solar canopy can be transformed into an educational tool for schools, turning the canopy into a "living laboratory" allowing students to see first-hand how solar energy works and gain an understanding of the importance of sustainable energy and environmental living.


Achieving Level 6

Offering a U-value of just 0.7W/m2K, System10 Aluminium from Bowater Architectural is one of the only UK aluminium window systems to meet Level 6 requirements of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Combining thermal performance with stylish aesthetics, System10 Aluminium presents a superior window and curtain walling system for specifiers and contractors alike, meeting the needs of a variety of applications – from housing and commercial projects, through to education and healthcare.

System10 Aluminium will provide a U-value of 1.4W/m2K when fitted with standard double glazed units and can achieve a U-value as low as 0.7W/m2K if required, thanks to a multi-chamber thermal break. The durability and high-strength of the system means the product can be used for bespoke applications, as well as being used to create sizeable glazed areas and large opening sashes.

Richard Garland, sales director at Bowater Architectural said: “New legislation is placing ever more stringent demands on specifiers and it is essential that they can be rest assured the products they choose will meet requirements. We are committed to developing reliable solutions that are fit for our customers’ purposes and that suit their design requirements.”

The system can be powder coated, both internally and externally in any RAL colour, to complement its surroundings. Alternatively, the system is available in a high quality laminate finish, expertly providing an authentic timber look. Additionally, the system incorporates concealed gaskets for clean sightlines, as well as a hidden drainage structure to ensure its sleek design.


New rainwater pump

HydroForce Pumps has launched a new clean water pump for rainwater harvesting tanks.

With the strapline ‘quality under pressure’, the new HydroForce pump has been designed with a number of important features.

Perhaps the most important of these is the alloy bulkhead, pressure release gap and twin chamber design which prevents ingress of water to motor, electrical components and to bearing oil, and for which a patent has been applied for.

Other key features are that it is pressure sensitive (it turns itself off until there is a demand for water); it’s dry-run protected (it turns itself off when no water is detected); and it comes complete with factory fitted filter, connectors and non-return valve.

Manufactured in Peterborough, the new HydroForce pump is guaranteed for two years and satisfies a need for a pump with good performance and reliability.

The new pump can be fully immersed in tank water or it can be externally connected to the tank above ground. The pump will deliver up to 3.5 bar and delivers over 2,500 litres per hour using a one-inch connector. Rated at 800w, on a 220v to 240v power supply, the pump is electronically controlled and features logic processors in the printed circuit board (PCB).


Climate change award

Jablite picked up the National EEF Climate Change Opportunity Award for the Jablite Dynamic Insulation at the Gala Dinner for the EEF Future Manufacturing Awards on 26 January 2012 in London.

“I am extremely proud and pleased that Jablite’s work in developing a completely new concept in insulation has won this award,” said Jason Griffiths, operations director, who accepted the award on Jablite’s behalf.

“As all manufacturers know, innovating and developing new products, takes real commitment, enthusiasm and hard work – especially in the current economic climate.

“This award is for everyone in Jablite; all parts of the business contributed to this success – operations, technical, commercial and finance – and we are all delighted to have our work recognised by a well-respected organisation like the EEF.”

Gold medal winners

Janisol Arte, a highly insulated steel renovation window system launched by steel specialist Schueco Jansen in 2011, was awarded a Gold Medal for Innovation in the Joinery & Fenestration category at Batimat 2011. It also won a Bronze Medal for Design.

The window's major benefit is that it enables an architect to satisfy the concerns of local authority planners and building conservation officers while still ensuring that the refurbished building meets the strict energy-saving requirements of Part L of the Building Regulations. With a narrow face-width of just 25mm or 40mm, Janisol Arte looks similar to the slender Bauhaus-type glazing to be found in many old buildings and is therefore likely to be acceptable as a replacement window even if a building has been given listed status.

Importantly, Janisol Arte combines structural elegance with U-values of 1.6 W/m2K using standard Low-e double-glazed units. These values are the result of advanced technology which combines high-grade steel with a unique thermal break material.

The Janisol Arte window system includes outward- and inward-opening vents, hung on butt hinges, together with fixed glazing. Optionally for outward-opening top- or side-hung vents, heavy duty friction hinges may be fitted. There is also a double-vent version, and additional structural profiles can be added to the mullions to allow the fabrication of large-scale and rigid combinations of fixed and opening lights all presenting the same narrow face widths.

Janisol Arte can be seen for the first time in the UK on Schueco's stand (S310) at this year's Ecobuild, which is being staged at ExCeL, London, 20-22 March.



Conergy has launched a new brand of all-black panels and mounting systems – the Noir Edition range will be available from 1 February.

Robert Goss, managing director of Conergy UK said: “Last quarter there was a huge rush to install as many panels as possible before the tariffs were cut. Now customers are becoming more demanding and want panels that enhance the look, and value, of their properties. It’s a matter of personal taste, but for many rooftops, black is beautiful.”

The Noir Edition range comprises black monocrystalline versions of Conergy’s Powerplus modules, as well as polycrystalline laminates with black backsheets for roof-integrated systems, and a new all-black SunTop mounting system.

Conergy Powerplus modules come in four different power classes, from 240 to 255 watts, and have a load capacity of 6,000 pascals, meaning a single panel can take the weight of 12 fully-grown men. Positive performance tolerances are also high at up to +3%.

The SunTop mounting system is known for its ease of assembly, long service life and compatibility with uneven roof surfaces. It is also fully recyclable.


An ‘intelligent’ approach to domestic ventilation is overcoming the intrinsic failings of conventional techniques.

Passivent, supplier of domestic and commercial ventilation, has developed its iMVHR system to overcome the shortcomings of traditional MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery) systems in domestic and multi-occupancy environments, up to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6.

Passivent iMVHR combines the recognised benefits of traditional MVHR with those of demand controlled humidity sensitive ventilation, to ensure rooms are adequately ventilated, but only as necessary.

It provides additional benefits too, delivering greater control thereby reducing energy consumption, being quicker and easier to install and commission, and eliminating any need for occupier input.

Passivent product manager Dennis Bates said: “From our research, there are issues with MVHR, especially from social landlords. Real-life experience shows people do not operate the system at all, or they close the valves because of perceived draughts in habitable rooms and of perceived running costs. They can also overboost which consumes energy and money. As/when the system is boosted, it cannot differentiate where the extra ventilation is needed, so boosts throughout instead of only where needed. Passivent iMVHR overcomes all those issues.”

Passivent iMVHR centres around humidity sensitive extracts in each room coupled with the patented Passiflow self-regulating airflow system to ‘intelligently’ ventilate only as, where and when needed, without any occupier input.

The humidity sensitive extracts in each room sense when ventilation is needed, opening to increase extraction in that zone only without any occupier input. Non adjustable extract and supply valves eliminate potential for under- or over-ventilation caused by occupier interference. The Passiflow system maintains a constant fan speed to achieve effective whole-house ventilation, reducing energy consumption as there are no energy increases as extraction is boosted. Passivent iMVHR can be connected up using traditional rigid circular or flat channel ducting, or new Passiflex small bore semi-rigid ducting which can be concealed in ceiling voids or stud walling, and cuts ducting installation time by up to 50%.

Two birds

To make PV economically viable as a domestic power source without subsidies, Polysolar, an award winning UK developer and producer of transparent PV glass for BIPV applications, argues that photovoltaic modules needs to perform multiple functions – not just electricity generation.

In other words the PV installation needs to offer customers additional benefits, with the PV acting as a building material in its own right, substituting for existing building materials and, thereby, presenting only a marginal additional cost in construction, rather than remaining a resource wasteful ‘tack-on’ solution.

Polysolar produce a transparent PV glazing module specifically designed for use as an integrated building material that can be cost effective against conventional building cladding materials. The company has launched a range of domestic greenhouses that incorporate its tinted clear PV glass. The solution delivers both a fully functional greenhouse, with the added benefit of improved temperature and UV light control, together with generating renewable electricity for the home.

Hamish Watson, CEO of Polysolar, explained that for many homeowners putting conventional PV panels on the roof may not be possible for aesthetic, planning or positioning reasons, but putting a solar PV greenhouse in the garden can “kill two birds with one stone”. You get an effective PV system to power the home and a fully functional greenhouse. The PV panels in the greenhouse roof, despite cutting out some of the light, allow through the light spectrum used in plant photosynthesis. They also cut out the scorching effect of ultraviolet light and help maintain a more constant temperature in the greenhouse.


Eco boom

Demand for eco friendly products is on the rise according to Midlands based trade fabricator Truframe, which has noticed a considerable shift towards its energy rated windows in recent months.

Sales of Truframe’s A+8 rated window are going from strength to strength, the company said, as more consumers look towards thermally efficient products to help them cut fuel bills and protect the environment.

Patrick Firmager, Truframe’s operations manager said: “Homeowners are feeling the pinch more than ever and its no surprise products that can help lower fuel bills are increasing in popularity. An ‘A’ rated window can save around £461 per year on heating and will also result in a household cutting around 0.3 tonnes of CO2 every year, significantly reducing the consumer’s carbon footprint. Our trade customers have found great success with products such as the A+8 window and are using it to win sales ahead of the competition.”

Truframe manufacture frames using Liniar PVCU, one of the newest window systems to hit the market in recent years. The profile’s thermal performance and aesthetics means Truframe can manufacture an ‘A’ rated window using a low specification sealed unit, resulting in considerable cost savings for the installer.

“Our Liniar frames are so thermally efficient, nearly all our new customers are making savings to their glass bills,” Patrick said.

Truframe hand finishes all sashes and outer frames in the factory prior to assembly. Other products in the Truframe portfolio include the Liniar bi-fold Plus, Duraflex windows and doors, the Spectus vertical sliding sash window as well as astragal bar glazing. The company offers a five-day lead time on 90% of its product range and its delivery service covers the whole of the UK.

“Energy efficiency is a big driver in the market and our product range is geared up to suit this demand. We are planning to launch a new initiative later in the year to help our customers communicate the ‘green’ message more effectively and hopefully win even more sales,” Patrick concluded.

Picture: Truframe’s operations manager Patrick Firmager

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.