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Talk. Build 's Entries

  • 09 Oct 2018
    London Mayor Sadiq Khan has already gone on record to state that he wants to make the Capital a zero-carbon city by 2050 writes Kevin Knapp, CEO, Ecolution Renewables. It will be a major challenge and one that will only be achieved if Londoners are willing to embrace green technology. The Mayor has already put his considerable political weight behind a Solar Action Plan to persuade homeowners and businesses across the Capital to install photovoltaic panels to generate green electricity – and thousands are taking advantage of this initiative, benefitting from reduced installation costs and long term energy savings. It’s a welcome step forward but more could be done if householders and businesses would be willing to accept the Mayor’s challenge and even better – be prepared to go that extra mile, to help reduce air pollution across the Capital while significantly reducing reliance on fossil fuels. We call that extra mile #JointheEcolution which combines photovoltaic panels with advanced HyCube battery storage units further linked to electric charging points (EV) turning every household and business into its own virtual power station. With more electric cars on the road it means less pollution. Photovoltaics linked to storage units would also help to make buildings energy self-sufficient, with the ability to save and share that energy with others. It’s joined up green energy which could totally transform the way we power our homes and businesses in the future. The advantages are there for all to see. In the first month alone of 2018, London’s air pollution reached the legal limit for the entire year so anything that encourages the use of electric cars has to be welcome. Air toxicity has been at illegal levels in urban areas in the UK, including London, since 2010, resulting in around 40,000 early deaths a year. Add on our reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear and the word green seems a long way off. Now is the time to change all that and invest in renewables otherwise what will we leave for the next generation – London smog. As I recall - we have been there before and we did not like it. Visit: www.ecolutiongroup.com
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan has already gone on record to state that he wants to make the Capital a zero-carbon city by 2050 writes Kevin Knapp, CEO, Ecolution Renewables. It will be a major challenge and one that will only be achieved if Londoners are willing to embrace green technology. The Mayor has already put his considerable political weight behind a Solar Action Plan to persuade homeowners and businesses across the Capital to install photovoltaic panels to generate green electricity – and thousands are taking advantage of this initiative, benefitting from reduced installation costs and long term energy savings. It’s a welcome step forward but more could be done if householders and businesses would be willing to accept the Mayor’s challenge and even better – be prepared to go that extra mile, to help reduce air pollution across the Capital while significantly reducing reliance on fossil fuels. We call that extra mile #JointheEcolution which combines photovoltaic panels with advanced HyCube battery storage units further linked to electric charging points (EV) turning every household and business into its own virtual power station. With more electric cars on the road it means less pollution. Photovoltaics linked to storage units would also help to make buildings energy self-sufficient, with the ability to save and share that energy with others. It’s joined up green energy which could totally transform the way we power our homes and businesses in the future. The advantages are there for all to see. In the first month alone of 2018, London’s air pollution reached the legal limit for the entire year so anything that encourages the use of electric cars has to be welcome. Air toxicity has been at illegal levels in urban areas in the UK, including London, since 2010, resulting in around 40,000 early deaths a year. Add on our reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear and the word green seems a long way off. Now is the time to change all that and invest in renewables otherwise what will we leave for the next generation – London smog. As I recall - we have been there before and we did not like it. Visit: www.ecolutiongroup.com
    Oct 09, 2018 0
  • 07 Sep 2018
    It is high time the misconceptions surrounding renewable energy were demystified. With the effects of climate change a pressing concern, now more than ever it is important to turn to renewable energy resources, such as solar energy, to preserve our planet. Andrew Knapp addresses the top five misconceptions surrounding renewable solar energy, offering insight into how eco-friendly energy is a cost-efficient, effective and secure investment for the future. ‘Renewable energy is unaffordable’ This is probably the most important myth to debunk. So many people repel at the idea of installing renewable energy systems, even when the products are a safe and cost-effective solution. In fact, solar energy is actually cheaper than coal and nuclear energy. It is even said that, in time renewable energy will gradually become cheaper than gas. In 2016, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that solar and wind energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels in more than 30 countries It is inefficient and unreliable It is a common misconception that solar energy just needs sun to function. Many people believe solar panels do not work when the weather is bad; this is false. Solar energy will still convert 10-25% energy on a cloudy day, which means it is still being productive even when the sun is not shining. It will decrease the value of property Solar panels can actually add value to your home which will in essence futureproof it. They can do this firstly, by raising the home’s EPC (energy performance certificate) grade, which can have a significant effect on house values. Not only this but solar pv can increase your homes appeal via the Feed-In-Tariff, which is an ongoing payment the government offers homeowners for creating clean, renewable energy. This will provide you with an extra income and an attractive prospect for any future buyer. Solar Panels require no maintenance As long as you are using a reliable and credited manufacturer, your solar power system will never give you a headache. Companies such as Ecolution, which install PV panels and energy storage systems, provide an annual service including: quality check, performance and safety checks. The maintenance process is uncomplicated, easy and worth its cost. Excess energy goes to waste As mentioned above, there are some companies which provide smart energy storage systems, allowing you to convert renewable energy and use it at another time. It means you can control your own energy supply and resources, without being chained to the big energy suppliers. These systems are completely functional and reliable; you have the ability to utilise your own energy. As these systems store energy, you will ultimately reduce your carbon footprint and total energy bills. Not only do you save the environment, you save the pennies too. Hopefully, these five myths have demystified what seems to be quite a hazy topic. Most people lack the information to pass judgement on renewable resources; it has this stigma of only attracting the wealthy, planet-conscious people. However, as the demand continues to grow, prices will become more attainable for the majority – it is just part of the process. And as products, such as energy storage systems, infiltrate into the public eye, people will recognise the benefits of this cost-effective and reliable energy solution. Renewable energy, whether wind or solar, is paving the way towards a climate-friendly future. Visit: www.ecolutiongroup.com
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • It is high time the misconceptions surrounding renewable energy were demystified. With the effects of climate change a pressing concern, now more than ever it is important to turn to renewable energy resources, such as solar energy, to preserve our planet. Andrew Knapp addresses the top five misconceptions surrounding renewable solar energy, offering insight into how eco-friendly energy is a cost-efficient, effective and secure investment for the future. ‘Renewable energy is unaffordable’ This is probably the most important myth to debunk. So many people repel at the idea of installing renewable energy systems, even when the products are a safe and cost-effective solution. In fact, solar energy is actually cheaper than coal and nuclear energy. It is even said that, in time renewable energy will gradually become cheaper than gas. In 2016, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that solar and wind energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels in more than 30 countries It is inefficient and unreliable It is a common misconception that solar energy just needs sun to function. Many people believe solar panels do not work when the weather is bad; this is false. Solar energy will still convert 10-25% energy on a cloudy day, which means it is still being productive even when the sun is not shining. It will decrease the value of property Solar panels can actually add value to your home which will in essence futureproof it. They can do this firstly, by raising the home’s EPC (energy performance certificate) grade, which can have a significant effect on house values. Not only this but solar pv can increase your homes appeal via the Feed-In-Tariff, which is an ongoing payment the government offers homeowners for creating clean, renewable energy. This will provide you with an extra income and an attractive prospect for any future buyer. Solar Panels require no maintenance As long as you are using a reliable and credited manufacturer, your solar power system will never give you a headache. Companies such as Ecolution, which install PV panels and energy storage systems, provide an annual service including: quality check, performance and safety checks. The maintenance process is uncomplicated, easy and worth its cost. Excess energy goes to waste As mentioned above, there are some companies which provide smart energy storage systems, allowing you to convert renewable energy and use it at another time. It means you can control your own energy supply and resources, without being chained to the big energy suppliers. These systems are completely functional and reliable; you have the ability to utilise your own energy. As these systems store energy, you will ultimately reduce your carbon footprint and total energy bills. Not only do you save the environment, you save the pennies too. Hopefully, these five myths have demystified what seems to be quite a hazy topic. Most people lack the information to pass judgement on renewable resources; it has this stigma of only attracting the wealthy, planet-conscious people. However, as the demand continues to grow, prices will become more attainable for the majority – it is just part of the process. And as products, such as energy storage systems, infiltrate into the public eye, people will recognise the benefits of this cost-effective and reliable energy solution. Renewable energy, whether wind or solar, is paving the way towards a climate-friendly future. Visit: www.ecolutiongroup.com
    Sep 07, 2018 0
  • 16 Aug 2018
    Construction output is on the rise globally, but limited resources and awareness of the need to be environmentally responsible mean that you must be conscious of the environmental impact of all building projects writes Tom Moverman. There are four ways that technology is helping “green” the construction industry. Energy-Efficient Building Features There is clear customer demand for builders to be knowledgeable about and experienced in working with the modern technologies that allow for sustainable and environmentally friendly materials to be used in both commercial and residential projects. The benefits are clear when considering the financial efficiency of these options, along with government tax incentives for homeowners and businesses that have incorporated green technology systems like • Photovoltaic cells • Solar heaters • Geothermal power • Wind systems • Updates to building envelope features on existing properties including doors, windows and skylights, roofs, and insulation These technologies may come with a greater investment up front compared to traditional options, but overall the cost savings for the future make them worthwhile. Building Information Modeling (BIM) BIM is not just a type of software, but the entire process of using this technology in the architecture, engineering, and construction fields to build 3D digital models. From concept planning to beginning the building design, BIM takes users through all of the necessary steps in construction and management of the project, while remaining conscious of the building's environmental impact. Building Information Modeling facilitates savings and improves efficiency in construction, based on the expectation that this system results in fewer mistakes and prevents potentially costly changes during the building process. BIM is a huge advancement on past practices of CAD design using 2-D drawings or 3-D models separated into multiple sections. With BIM, if a change is made in one area, it automatically updates throughout the entire project. Envisioning the completed design as a whole is effortless, and any potential issues are easy to spot early in the design process. Learn more about the benefits of using BIM technology here. According to a recent Market Research Engine report, the BIM market is anticipated to experience continued significant growth worldwide. In 2014, the global BIM market was valued at US$2.3 Billion, and is expected to reach a value of US$ 13.2 Billion by the end of 2024. Prefabricated Construction BIM has also helped increase the opportunities for industrialized construction sites that allow you to create prefabricated and modular buildings in controlled offsite environments. There are a number of benefits to building this way, including • Increased worker safety • Reduced costs on materials • Less waste • Greater energy-efficiency in the buildings produced • Tighter delivery timelines Virtual Reality VR is much more than just a tool for gamers. This technology allows for a construction planning process that includes realistic walk-throughs of planned projects. Developers can interact with their design, notice any potential problems, and see where improvements can be made, all before anything is actually built. This method is amazingly vivid compared to the past practice of working with static 3-D mock-up models. Virtual reality is also especially helpful for education, as now students who may have never been on an actual construction site can get a real feel for that environment, all from the safety of the classroom. Customers can also benefit from VR by being able to take part in making decisions about the functionality and flow of the building during the planning process. Technology is driving the construction industry now more than ever, and it is sure to continue to do so as future strategies and tools arise that will help designers, engineers and builders create even greater sustainability in construction. Author Bio: Tom Moverman established the Lipsig Law Firm with Harry Lipsig and his partners in 1989. The personal injury law firm focuses on products liability, personal injury, construction accidents, car accidents and medical malpractice. For more information, visit LipsigLawyers.com
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Construction output is on the rise globally, but limited resources and awareness of the need to be environmentally responsible mean that you must be conscious of the environmental impact of all building projects writes Tom Moverman. There are four ways that technology is helping “green” the construction industry. Energy-Efficient Building Features There is clear customer demand for builders to be knowledgeable about and experienced in working with the modern technologies that allow for sustainable and environmentally friendly materials to be used in both commercial and residential projects. The benefits are clear when considering the financial efficiency of these options, along with government tax incentives for homeowners and businesses that have incorporated green technology systems like • Photovoltaic cells • Solar heaters • Geothermal power • Wind systems • Updates to building envelope features on existing properties including doors, windows and skylights, roofs, and insulation These technologies may come with a greater investment up front compared to traditional options, but overall the cost savings for the future make them worthwhile. Building Information Modeling (BIM) BIM is not just a type of software, but the entire process of using this technology in the architecture, engineering, and construction fields to build 3D digital models. From concept planning to beginning the building design, BIM takes users through all of the necessary steps in construction and management of the project, while remaining conscious of the building's environmental impact. Building Information Modeling facilitates savings and improves efficiency in construction, based on the expectation that this system results in fewer mistakes and prevents potentially costly changes during the building process. BIM is a huge advancement on past practices of CAD design using 2-D drawings or 3-D models separated into multiple sections. With BIM, if a change is made in one area, it automatically updates throughout the entire project. Envisioning the completed design as a whole is effortless, and any potential issues are easy to spot early in the design process. Learn more about the benefits of using BIM technology here. According to a recent Market Research Engine report, the BIM market is anticipated to experience continued significant growth worldwide. In 2014, the global BIM market was valued at US$2.3 Billion, and is expected to reach a value of US$ 13.2 Billion by the end of 2024. Prefabricated Construction BIM has also helped increase the opportunities for industrialized construction sites that allow you to create prefabricated and modular buildings in controlled offsite environments. There are a number of benefits to building this way, including • Increased worker safety • Reduced costs on materials • Less waste • Greater energy-efficiency in the buildings produced • Tighter delivery timelines Virtual Reality VR is much more than just a tool for gamers. This technology allows for a construction planning process that includes realistic walk-throughs of planned projects. Developers can interact with their design, notice any potential problems, and see where improvements can be made, all before anything is actually built. This method is amazingly vivid compared to the past practice of working with static 3-D mock-up models. Virtual reality is also especially helpful for education, as now students who may have never been on an actual construction site can get a real feel for that environment, all from the safety of the classroom. Customers can also benefit from VR by being able to take part in making decisions about the functionality and flow of the building during the planning process. Technology is driving the construction industry now more than ever, and it is sure to continue to do so as future strategies and tools arise that will help designers, engineers and builders create even greater sustainability in construction. Author Bio: Tom Moverman established the Lipsig Law Firm with Harry Lipsig and his partners in 1989. The personal injury law firm focuses on products liability, personal injury, construction accidents, car accidents and medical malpractice. For more information, visit LipsigLawyers.com
    Aug 16, 2018 0
  • 25 May 2018
    With the ‘Beast from the East’ striking three times in succession, March was certainly one of the coldest anyone can recall for a long time.  This of course meant that people needed to heat their homes for longer periods than they would normally. For those on low incomes and those living in fuel poverty this can sometimes mean making difficult choices about whether to heat or eat.  The consequences of fuel poverty are well-documented and include discomfort, ill health, mental illness and debt. Fuel poverty is also linked to increased winter mortality with a rise in winter deaths associated with cold homes. Such is the problem that according to a study by the Association for the Conversation of Energy (ACE), living in a cold home kills more people than road accidents, alcohol or drug abuse. But it is not just the vulnerable, frail, and elderly who become a statistic.  A cold home can mean lower educational attainment and lead to social exclusion for young children. There are also links to rising costs within the NHS in the fight to treat conditions worsened by insufficiently heated homes, particularly heart and respiratory diseases. We all know that energy efficiency improvements should play their part in helping those in fuel poverty to keep up with rising energy costs, but with government-backed delivery of home energy efficiency improvements stalling, we inevitably end up playing political football with the issue whilst the poorest and most vulnerable in society suffer.  The government’s 2015 Fuel Poverty Strategy, which introduced a statutory target to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as practically possible achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030, will only be reached if we can upscale installation of high performance thermal insulation, to the nation’s housing stock. In short, we have to agree the process, ensure that the work has been carried out to a decent standard and is value for money. This is the real challenge we face. Firstly, is the need to provide an accurate upfront assessment of the existing building by a competent assessor, who can then interpret the findings and prescribe appropriate energy improvement measures. There will be various measures required to refurbish a building, but to ensure the right result is achieved there has to be coordination between all retrofit activities. Getting the fabric of the building well insulated should always be the starting point.   With examples of poor practice in retrofit on the increase, it is important that a comprehensive set of standards: the assessment, installation and commissioning, are all carried out correctly; and the consumer has a retrofit that works. Professional co-ordination coupled with consumer motivation, will deliver a successful retrofit and this is one of the key objectives of the Each Home Counts1 review which recommends that there be a quality mark for all energy efficiency and renewable energy measures to ensure that the consumer receives excellent levels of consumer protection, companies adhere to a strict code of conduct when operating in the energy efficiency arena and that products are installed to approved codes of practice.  Retrofitting insulation works for a whole host of reasons from saving money to reducing carbon and being good for our health.  Whether it is an internal or external insulation application, it is vitally important we bring the nation’s homes up to or beyond an acceptable standard by getting the fabric of the building as energy efficient as possible. Using the highest performing products, such as PIR insulation, will go a long way to achieve this. Only then will we be able to provide a long-term asset that can be passed onto future generations. Visit: www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk  Each Home Counts, The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for Communities and Local Government published December 2016
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With the ‘Beast from the East’ striking three times in succession, March was certainly one of the coldest anyone can recall for a long time.  This of course meant that people needed to heat their homes for longer periods than they would normally. For those on low incomes and those living in fuel poverty this can sometimes mean making difficult choices about whether to heat or eat.  The consequences of fuel poverty are well-documented and include discomfort, ill health, mental illness and debt. Fuel poverty is also linked to increased winter mortality with a rise in winter deaths associated with cold homes. Such is the problem that according to a study by the Association for the Conversation of Energy (ACE), living in a cold home kills more people than road accidents, alcohol or drug abuse. But it is not just the vulnerable, frail, and elderly who become a statistic.  A cold home can mean lower educational attainment and lead to social exclusion for young children. There are also links to rising costs within the NHS in the fight to treat conditions worsened by insufficiently heated homes, particularly heart and respiratory diseases. We all know that energy efficiency improvements should play their part in helping those in fuel poverty to keep up with rising energy costs, but with government-backed delivery of home energy efficiency improvements stalling, we inevitably end up playing political football with the issue whilst the poorest and most vulnerable in society suffer.  The government’s 2015 Fuel Poverty Strategy, which introduced a statutory target to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as practically possible achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030, will only be reached if we can upscale installation of high performance thermal insulation, to the nation’s housing stock. In short, we have to agree the process, ensure that the work has been carried out to a decent standard and is value for money. This is the real challenge we face. Firstly, is the need to provide an accurate upfront assessment of the existing building by a competent assessor, who can then interpret the findings and prescribe appropriate energy improvement measures. There will be various measures required to refurbish a building, but to ensure the right result is achieved there has to be coordination between all retrofit activities. Getting the fabric of the building well insulated should always be the starting point.   With examples of poor practice in retrofit on the increase, it is important that a comprehensive set of standards: the assessment, installation and commissioning, are all carried out correctly; and the consumer has a retrofit that works. Professional co-ordination coupled with consumer motivation, will deliver a successful retrofit and this is one of the key objectives of the Each Home Counts1 review which recommends that there be a quality mark for all energy efficiency and renewable energy measures to ensure that the consumer receives excellent levels of consumer protection, companies adhere to a strict code of conduct when operating in the energy efficiency arena and that products are installed to approved codes of practice.  Retrofitting insulation works for a whole host of reasons from saving money to reducing carbon and being good for our health.  Whether it is an internal or external insulation application, it is vitally important we bring the nation’s homes up to or beyond an acceptable standard by getting the fabric of the building as energy efficient as possible. Using the highest performing products, such as PIR insulation, will go a long way to achieve this. Only then will we be able to provide a long-term asset that can be passed onto future generations. Visit: www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk  Each Home Counts, The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for Communities and Local Government published December 2016
    May 25, 2018 0
  • 03 May 2018
    In September 2017, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) launched new regulations across America to address a worsening crisis in the labour world - silica exposure -constituting the first major shift in silica policy since 1971 writes Joshua Clark. Silica, if you work in construction, is a particle 100 times smaller than sand that is present in many building materials, particularly those containing quartz. Millions of these particles are released into the air during grinding, sanding, drilling, and similar processes. Without respiratory protection, it is easily inhaled and sucked into the deepest crevices of the lungs, where it remains lodged for the rest of the worker’s life. Scar tissue forms around the particles and eventually progresses to the point of silicosis, which has ended many careers and lives over the years. Kidney and obstructive pulmonary disease have also been documented. With approximately 2.3 million workers affected every year in the US, new regulations were long overdue. The six months that have passed have seen a flood of citations, with many more surely to come. There’s also been time for the National Association of Home Builders to initiate dialogue with OSHA to clarify ambiguous language in the rules. Progress will be gradual, but the prognosis looks good for a robust culture of prevention to develop, which is a long time coming for a workforce that has been suffering with this menace for generations. Under OSHA’s regulations, a workplace must be tested if it’s a candidate for silica exposure above the action level (25 μg/m³). If the reading is between 25 and 50, the test will be done periodically every six months to keep a record. If PEL can’t be brought below 50, official signage must be posted at all entrances marking the space as off-limits to anyone without protection. OSHA will be back every three months to test the levels. A comprehensive exposure control plan must be drafted by the employer, describing the tasks in the workplace that involve exposure. At least 30 days out of the year starting June 23, 2018, medical surveillance will be implemented on every worker who operates within the contaminated space.  On June 23, 2020 this requirement expands to all employees exposed above the action level. It is also the employer’s responsibility to inform their workers of the conditions they are working under, and the steps being taken to limit the hazards. At Enviro, we do our part by providing the best products on the market at highly competitive prices. The slight inconvenience of respiratory protection is totally worth it to avoid the devastation that silica can cause. You’ll find a curated selection of products that work great for silica protection here, and our general respiratory selection can be found here.  Guest blogger Joshua Clark, represents Enviro Safety Products, one of the oldest e-commerce sites online.  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • In September 2017, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) launched new regulations across America to address a worsening crisis in the labour world - silica exposure -constituting the first major shift in silica policy since 1971 writes Joshua Clark. Silica, if you work in construction, is a particle 100 times smaller than sand that is present in many building materials, particularly those containing quartz. Millions of these particles are released into the air during grinding, sanding, drilling, and similar processes. Without respiratory protection, it is easily inhaled and sucked into the deepest crevices of the lungs, where it remains lodged for the rest of the worker’s life. Scar tissue forms around the particles and eventually progresses to the point of silicosis, which has ended many careers and lives over the years. Kidney and obstructive pulmonary disease have also been documented. With approximately 2.3 million workers affected every year in the US, new regulations were long overdue. The six months that have passed have seen a flood of citations, with many more surely to come. There’s also been time for the National Association of Home Builders to initiate dialogue with OSHA to clarify ambiguous language in the rules. Progress will be gradual, but the prognosis looks good for a robust culture of prevention to develop, which is a long time coming for a workforce that has been suffering with this menace for generations. Under OSHA’s regulations, a workplace must be tested if it’s a candidate for silica exposure above the action level (25 μg/m³). If the reading is between 25 and 50, the test will be done periodically every six months to keep a record. If PEL can’t be brought below 50, official signage must be posted at all entrances marking the space as off-limits to anyone without protection. OSHA will be back every three months to test the levels. A comprehensive exposure control plan must be drafted by the employer, describing the tasks in the workplace that involve exposure. At least 30 days out of the year starting June 23, 2018, medical surveillance will be implemented on every worker who operates within the contaminated space.  On June 23, 2020 this requirement expands to all employees exposed above the action level. It is also the employer’s responsibility to inform their workers of the conditions they are working under, and the steps being taken to limit the hazards. At Enviro, we do our part by providing the best products on the market at highly competitive prices. The slight inconvenience of respiratory protection is totally worth it to avoid the devastation that silica can cause. You’ll find a curated selection of products that work great for silica protection here, and our general respiratory selection can be found here.  Guest blogger Joshua Clark, represents Enviro Safety Products, one of the oldest e-commerce sites online.  
    May 03, 2018 0
  • 30 Apr 2018
    Much has been written about damp and condensation in homes which can cause considerable damage and health issues. Industry reports suggest that almost seven million properties could be at risk in the UK affecting up to 16 million occupants. At the most optimistic level at least 2% of properties are affected by condensation. Condensation and dampness also accounts for poor health, in particular asthma, with the UK recording more than 1,000 deaths from this disease in 2014, one of the highest instances in the world. Condensation can eventually lead to damp and mould on walls, ceilings and behind furniture. Other factors causing damp comes from leaking pipes and roofs and from blocked gutters. Rising damp from the ground can also be a problem and is usually where a damp course is defective. This can be identified by a white tidemark on the walls. It’s a massive problem so let’s get the facts. It is impossible to avoid some condensation in properties but you can minimise the risk by ensuring you have proper heating and most importantly of all - good ventilation. It is estimated that four people living in a three bedroom property would create 112 pints of moisture a week from just breathing, cooking, showering and boiling the kettle. But if you constantly have to wipe condensation off your windows and have a dehumidifier running for lengthy periods of time then you need to consider installing better ventilation in every part of the property. (see link below) In such cases you need to call in the experts for a home survey but there are a few things you can do in the meantime to ease the situation The ideal temperature at home should range between 19-22 degrees Celsius in living rooms, kitchen and bathroom, and 16-20 degrees Celsius in bedrooms. Good insulation is also advised as it creates warmer walls and ceilings, and inhibits mould growth by preventing condensation from forming on them. Airtight windows and buildings require more active ventilation. You can also ventilate your home without making draughts to reduce moisture. Try keeping a small window ajar when someone is in the room or if your windows have been recently renewed open the trickle ventilators provided. Ventilate kitchens and bathrooms when in use by opening the windows wider, or better still, use a humidity-controlled electric fan if one is fitted. Close the kitchen and bathroom doors when these rooms are in use, even if your kitchen and bathroom has an extractor fan. This will help prevent moisture reaching other rooms, especially bedrooms, which are often colder and more likely to get condensation. Do not block air-brick vents, ventilate cupboards and wardrobes and avoid putting too many things in cupboards and wardrobes as this stops the air circulating. Do not block permanent ventilators or chimneys by ensuring that you leave a hole about two bricks in size and fit a louvered grille over it. Reducing draughts in rooms where there is condensation or mould is also a NO. Householders are also recommended to keep washing, boiling kettles and any other items that form steam or moisture to be kept to a minimum, but if all efforts fail and mould begins to form then you will probably need a fungicidal wash to get rid of the problem. As already discussed – the major factor is good ventilation. There are many products available on line to consider. Just click the link for an example. Click here to visit Amazon    
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Much has been written about damp and condensation in homes which can cause considerable damage and health issues. Industry reports suggest that almost seven million properties could be at risk in the UK affecting up to 16 million occupants. At the most optimistic level at least 2% of properties are affected by condensation. Condensation and dampness also accounts for poor health, in particular asthma, with the UK recording more than 1,000 deaths from this disease in 2014, one of the highest instances in the world. Condensation can eventually lead to damp and mould on walls, ceilings and behind furniture. Other factors causing damp comes from leaking pipes and roofs and from blocked gutters. Rising damp from the ground can also be a problem and is usually where a damp course is defective. This can be identified by a white tidemark on the walls. It’s a massive problem so let’s get the facts. It is impossible to avoid some condensation in properties but you can minimise the risk by ensuring you have proper heating and most importantly of all - good ventilation. It is estimated that four people living in a three bedroom property would create 112 pints of moisture a week from just breathing, cooking, showering and boiling the kettle. But if you constantly have to wipe condensation off your windows and have a dehumidifier running for lengthy periods of time then you need to consider installing better ventilation in every part of the property. (see link below) In such cases you need to call in the experts for a home survey but there are a few things you can do in the meantime to ease the situation The ideal temperature at home should range between 19-22 degrees Celsius in living rooms, kitchen and bathroom, and 16-20 degrees Celsius in bedrooms. Good insulation is also advised as it creates warmer walls and ceilings, and inhibits mould growth by preventing condensation from forming on them. Airtight windows and buildings require more active ventilation. You can also ventilate your home without making draughts to reduce moisture. Try keeping a small window ajar when someone is in the room or if your windows have been recently renewed open the trickle ventilators provided. Ventilate kitchens and bathrooms when in use by opening the windows wider, or better still, use a humidity-controlled electric fan if one is fitted. Close the kitchen and bathroom doors when these rooms are in use, even if your kitchen and bathroom has an extractor fan. This will help prevent moisture reaching other rooms, especially bedrooms, which are often colder and more likely to get condensation. Do not block air-brick vents, ventilate cupboards and wardrobes and avoid putting too many things in cupboards and wardrobes as this stops the air circulating. Do not block permanent ventilators or chimneys by ensuring that you leave a hole about two bricks in size and fit a louvered grille over it. Reducing draughts in rooms where there is condensation or mould is also a NO. Householders are also recommended to keep washing, boiling kettles and any other items that form steam or moisture to be kept to a minimum, but if all efforts fail and mould begins to form then you will probably need a fungicidal wash to get rid of the problem. As already discussed – the major factor is good ventilation. There are many products available on line to consider. Just click the link for an example. Click here to visit Amazon    
    Apr 30, 2018 0
  • 27 Apr 2018
    Whether it is at home, in workplaces, leisure facilities or healthcare environments, there can be no doubt that people spend large amounts of their time in buildings.  In the drive towards both sustainability in construction and reducing our carbon footprint, we need to ensure that we build with this in mind.  So, naturally we should be creating buildings that ultimately make people feel healthier and happier.   We already know that a well-designed and insulated building fabric provides the benefits of energy reduction, lower fuel bills and better control of internal temperature, keeping the occupants warm in winter and cool in the summer which all adds to their comfort and wellbeing.  But it’s not just an issue of temperature that impacts our wellbeing; we need to design to control humidity and consider the acoustic and visual comfort of occupants. Well-designed ventilation systems promoting good indoor air quality, coupled with good natural light are essential elements for good health. Of course, the improved health of building occupants is a key consideration since warm, dry homes help to reduce the impact on the NHS by the most vulnerable in our society.  Living in under-heated, cold and draughty homes can pose severe health risks, due to the higher instances of damp and mould, which exacerbates health issues such as asthma, bronchitis, heart and lung disease. A comfortable thermal environment that will meet all these needs and those of all occupants is of course a challenge, particularly when you take into consideration individual preferences and also the vagaries of a building’s thermal environment. High performance PIR insulation has an important role to play in any new build or retrofit project which aims to substantially raise thermal performance standards and improve the building’s internal environment. Good design and workmanship also play their part, as does good detailing. Ultimately, it’s a balancing act of a complex set of interdependent factors – however, the benefits of getting it right are worth it. Sustainable buildings are not just about energy performance, aesthetics and the materials that are used to build them, we must also ensure that the people that use them are comfortable and happy. The design of our built environment has a significant impact on the nation’s health and we need to ensure that we get it right first time in order for everyone to feel better about themselves in the longer term, and to ensure that we do not have to go back and retrofit buildings in the future because we failed to deliver today the highest performing insulation that is practically and economically available. Visit: www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Whether it is at home, in workplaces, leisure facilities or healthcare environments, there can be no doubt that people spend large amounts of their time in buildings.  In the drive towards both sustainability in construction and reducing our carbon footprint, we need to ensure that we build with this in mind.  So, naturally we should be creating buildings that ultimately make people feel healthier and happier.   We already know that a well-designed and insulated building fabric provides the benefits of energy reduction, lower fuel bills and better control of internal temperature, keeping the occupants warm in winter and cool in the summer which all adds to their comfort and wellbeing.  But it’s not just an issue of temperature that impacts our wellbeing; we need to design to control humidity and consider the acoustic and visual comfort of occupants. Well-designed ventilation systems promoting good indoor air quality, coupled with good natural light are essential elements for good health. Of course, the improved health of building occupants is a key consideration since warm, dry homes help to reduce the impact on the NHS by the most vulnerable in our society.  Living in under-heated, cold and draughty homes can pose severe health risks, due to the higher instances of damp and mould, which exacerbates health issues such as asthma, bronchitis, heart and lung disease. A comfortable thermal environment that will meet all these needs and those of all occupants is of course a challenge, particularly when you take into consideration individual preferences and also the vagaries of a building’s thermal environment. High performance PIR insulation has an important role to play in any new build or retrofit project which aims to substantially raise thermal performance standards and improve the building’s internal environment. Good design and workmanship also play their part, as does good detailing. Ultimately, it’s a balancing act of a complex set of interdependent factors – however, the benefits of getting it right are worth it. Sustainable buildings are not just about energy performance, aesthetics and the materials that are used to build them, we must also ensure that the people that use them are comfortable and happy. The design of our built environment has a significant impact on the nation’s health and we need to ensure that we get it right first time in order for everyone to feel better about themselves in the longer term, and to ensure that we do not have to go back and retrofit buildings in the future because we failed to deliver today the highest performing insulation that is practically and economically available. Visit: www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk
    Apr 27, 2018 0
  • 26 Mar 2018
    You can find a variety of wastes on the construction sites. For categorization, there are basically four types of garbage writes Krysta Jackson. Excavated Garbage- This includes sand, soil, rock, gravel, asphalt, and many more. Demolition Waste Material- This includes metal, concrete, asbestos, roofing sheets, wood, brick etc. Construction Waste- It includes plastics, cardboard, metals, concrete, ceramic tiles and many more. Mixed Garbage - Organic wastes are included here.  It is believed that most part of the waste can be recycled and used for various purposes. These are non-toxic stuff. This makes the construction garbage useful as they can save a huge amount of money too. The authorities must pay proper attention to these. It is important to make tiny efforts to bring about significant changes in the environment and the lifestyle.  In case, you want to get rid of the skip providing services, then there are many such companies online that can help you at the reasonable cost. Contact them today to know better about it.  Some projects where the construction waste can be reused are as follows.   Use The Construction Waste For New Building You can make use of the construction site garbage that generates from the old structures . Well, such a thing happens naturally too. For instance, when the renovation is done, the walls are not demolished. During such a process, you can reuse the stuff by decorating or moving the structures by yourself. Therefore, this also comes under reusing the materials.   Measure Before Ordering The Construction Resources  In order to avoid wastage, calculate the quantity of the stuff that is required in the entire process. This is certainly the best way to prevent the wastage of money and resources. In addition to this, make it sure to avoid the use of the hazardous or toxic material. This will make the recycling process flexible. Getting the products in the standard dimensions will also be beneficial for the construction. The cutting procedure leads to wastage. If the resource will be of standard size then there will be less cutting and therefore, the reduced amount of wastage will be produced. l  Where Is The Nearest Local Recycling Service Centre? Before the start of the work, make it sure that the nearest recycling centre is known to you. You do not want to spend your precious time and money on transporting the waste to the recycling centre which is far from the site. That is why you must know about the one which is nearest to the point. l  Disposal Must Be Last Option This process must be started when there is no other option left for treating the garbage. With the help of an expert contractor, the entire procedure must be completed professionally. For instance, plasterboard is considered to be a toxic element for the landfill. Just like this substance, there are others too which must not be reused. So, it is better to treat them first before you dispose of them. l  Deconstruction Is Better Than Demolition There are certain firms that easily separate the reusable substances from the garbage. This can be used in buildings, houses etc with ease. The best part is, doing so the customers will be able to save tax. You certainly do not want to let go such an opportunity, do you? There is one more alternative to use the recyclable substances. You can always make money by organizing a front yard sale. Make money by selling resources which are in perfect condition like grates, radiators, piping, fittings and appliances   Take Time To Calculate The Budget Sticking to the budget is an important procedure in the construction project. Recycling the construction products help in many ways. They are mentioned below. 1. They help in making the planet clean and green. 2. They provide profit to the customers. 3. The customers get better prices here When you will invest in shopping for fewer products than the usual then you can see for yourself how valuable recycling is. Therefore, make use of recycling of the construction garbage and set an example for other firms too. When the management of waste is done responsibly, it becomes an essential feature of sustainable structures. Here, eliminating, minimizing and reusing the garbage becomes an important factor in the construction management. Visit: https://www.rmsskips.com/    
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • You can find a variety of wastes on the construction sites. For categorization, there are basically four types of garbage writes Krysta Jackson. Excavated Garbage- This includes sand, soil, rock, gravel, asphalt, and many more. Demolition Waste Material- This includes metal, concrete, asbestos, roofing sheets, wood, brick etc. Construction Waste- It includes plastics, cardboard, metals, concrete, ceramic tiles and many more. Mixed Garbage - Organic wastes are included here.  It is believed that most part of the waste can be recycled and used for various purposes. These are non-toxic stuff. This makes the construction garbage useful as they can save a huge amount of money too. The authorities must pay proper attention to these. It is important to make tiny efforts to bring about significant changes in the environment and the lifestyle.  In case, you want to get rid of the skip providing services, then there are many such companies online that can help you at the reasonable cost. Contact them today to know better about it.  Some projects where the construction waste can be reused are as follows.   Use The Construction Waste For New Building You can make use of the construction site garbage that generates from the old structures . Well, such a thing happens naturally too. For instance, when the renovation is done, the walls are not demolished. During such a process, you can reuse the stuff by decorating or moving the structures by yourself. Therefore, this also comes under reusing the materials.   Measure Before Ordering The Construction Resources  In order to avoid wastage, calculate the quantity of the stuff that is required in the entire process. This is certainly the best way to prevent the wastage of money and resources. In addition to this, make it sure to avoid the use of the hazardous or toxic material. This will make the recycling process flexible. Getting the products in the standard dimensions will also be beneficial for the construction. The cutting procedure leads to wastage. If the resource will be of standard size then there will be less cutting and therefore, the reduced amount of wastage will be produced. l  Where Is The Nearest Local Recycling Service Centre? Before the start of the work, make it sure that the nearest recycling centre is known to you. You do not want to spend your precious time and money on transporting the waste to the recycling centre which is far from the site. That is why you must know about the one which is nearest to the point. l  Disposal Must Be Last Option This process must be started when there is no other option left for treating the garbage. With the help of an expert contractor, the entire procedure must be completed professionally. For instance, plasterboard is considered to be a toxic element for the landfill. Just like this substance, there are others too which must not be reused. So, it is better to treat them first before you dispose of them. l  Deconstruction Is Better Than Demolition There are certain firms that easily separate the reusable substances from the garbage. This can be used in buildings, houses etc with ease. The best part is, doing so the customers will be able to save tax. You certainly do not want to let go such an opportunity, do you? There is one more alternative to use the recyclable substances. You can always make money by organizing a front yard sale. Make money by selling resources which are in perfect condition like grates, radiators, piping, fittings and appliances   Take Time To Calculate The Budget Sticking to the budget is an important procedure in the construction project. Recycling the construction products help in many ways. They are mentioned below. 1. They help in making the planet clean and green. 2. They provide profit to the customers. 3. The customers get better prices here When you will invest in shopping for fewer products than the usual then you can see for yourself how valuable recycling is. Therefore, make use of recycling of the construction garbage and set an example for other firms too. When the management of waste is done responsibly, it becomes an essential feature of sustainable structures. Here, eliminating, minimizing and reusing the garbage becomes an important factor in the construction management. Visit: https://www.rmsskips.com/    
    Mar 26, 2018 0
  • 19 Mar 2018
    Have you ever thought it would be great to be paid for doing nothing? Well if you have certain types of boiler that’s almost exactly what you do writes Krysta Jackson So, What Is The Renewable Heating Incentive? Owners of solar panels and other microgeneration equipment will be familiar with the concept of Feed-In Tariffs – what you get paid for generating your electricity regardless of whether you use that electricity or export it. If you have a heat generator that uses renewable energy you can apply for the Renewable Heat Incentive which then pays you an amount based on an estimate of the amount of heat that the source will generate. Internationally this is a unique plan to encourage the use of renewable forms of heat generation in place of traditional oil and gas fired boilers. Unlike Feed-In Tariffs which are used in over 40 other countries only Britain offers you the chance to be paid for using less polluting forms of heat generation. Who Is Eligible? Pretty much anyone can apply for a Renewable Heat Incentive if they install heating equipment that uses renewables. Businesses and homeowners, community groups, farmers, schools, care homes and hospitals – even potentially whole communities who could then share the heat, and income, generated. How Do I Get It? First you need to install a renewable form of heat generation. Aboiler installation specialist will be able to advise what type of heat generation is best suited to your property as there are several different types that qualify for the payments. Then, an estimate is made of the amount of heat the system will generate. This will vary from property to property depending on the type of equipment installed and, in the case of solar systems, the availability of sunlight! Finally, you sit back (in a nice warm bath perhaps) and enjoy being paid to do nothing! What Types Of System Does It Cover? Pretty much any system that uses renewable forms of energy to create heat will be covered by the Renewable Heating Incentive. The three most likely sources are biomass, solar and ground source. A solar system works by placing a series of pipes on a south or nearly south facing roof where they can absorb heat energy from the sun’s rays. In most systems the pipes are filled with refrigerant so that there are no issues with them freezing in winter and the heat is transferred to your water through a solar coil in the hot water tank. A biomass boiler is the most traditional of the options. It uses a high tech fuel delivery system to burn wood pellets. As wood grows on, well, trees, it can be a simple way to add a renewable heat source to your property as it only requires replacing a boiler which can be done at the end of the boiler’s natural lifecycle anyway. A ground source heat pump utilises the Earth’s own warmth by taking advantage of the fact that warm liquids rise and cool ones fall. What About Electricity? The Renewable Heat Incentive only covers replacements to the boiler in your heating and hot water system. Electricity generation needs to be done with respect to the National Grid and will continue to be funded through Feed-In Tariffs proportional to the amount of electricity generated. How Can I Find Out More? If you are interested in installing a renewable heat generation system eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive your first step needs to be to contact a reputable company who can discuss your options with you and guide you through the whole process. Visit: http://www.jchlondon.co.uk/renewable-energy/renewable-heating-incentive/  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Have you ever thought it would be great to be paid for doing nothing? Well if you have certain types of boiler that’s almost exactly what you do writes Krysta Jackson So, What Is The Renewable Heating Incentive? Owners of solar panels and other microgeneration equipment will be familiar with the concept of Feed-In Tariffs – what you get paid for generating your electricity regardless of whether you use that electricity or export it. If you have a heat generator that uses renewable energy you can apply for the Renewable Heat Incentive which then pays you an amount based on an estimate of the amount of heat that the source will generate. Internationally this is a unique plan to encourage the use of renewable forms of heat generation in place of traditional oil and gas fired boilers. Unlike Feed-In Tariffs which are used in over 40 other countries only Britain offers you the chance to be paid for using less polluting forms of heat generation. Who Is Eligible? Pretty much anyone can apply for a Renewable Heat Incentive if they install heating equipment that uses renewables. Businesses and homeowners, community groups, farmers, schools, care homes and hospitals – even potentially whole communities who could then share the heat, and income, generated. How Do I Get It? First you need to install a renewable form of heat generation. Aboiler installation specialist will be able to advise what type of heat generation is best suited to your property as there are several different types that qualify for the payments. Then, an estimate is made of the amount of heat the system will generate. This will vary from property to property depending on the type of equipment installed and, in the case of solar systems, the availability of sunlight! Finally, you sit back (in a nice warm bath perhaps) and enjoy being paid to do nothing! What Types Of System Does It Cover? Pretty much any system that uses renewable forms of energy to create heat will be covered by the Renewable Heating Incentive. The three most likely sources are biomass, solar and ground source. A solar system works by placing a series of pipes on a south or nearly south facing roof where they can absorb heat energy from the sun’s rays. In most systems the pipes are filled with refrigerant so that there are no issues with them freezing in winter and the heat is transferred to your water through a solar coil in the hot water tank. A biomass boiler is the most traditional of the options. It uses a high tech fuel delivery system to burn wood pellets. As wood grows on, well, trees, it can be a simple way to add a renewable heat source to your property as it only requires replacing a boiler which can be done at the end of the boiler’s natural lifecycle anyway. A ground source heat pump utilises the Earth’s own warmth by taking advantage of the fact that warm liquids rise and cool ones fall. What About Electricity? The Renewable Heat Incentive only covers replacements to the boiler in your heating and hot water system. Electricity generation needs to be done with respect to the National Grid and will continue to be funded through Feed-In Tariffs proportional to the amount of electricity generated. How Can I Find Out More? If you are interested in installing a renewable heat generation system eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive your first step needs to be to contact a reputable company who can discuss your options with you and guide you through the whole process. Visit: http://www.jchlondon.co.uk/renewable-energy/renewable-heating-incentive/  
    Mar 19, 2018 0
  • 08 Mar 2018
    Global warming issues are once again in the news and we all watched with interest, developments at the World Economic Forum in Davos where the evidence is loud and clear, that we have an urgent need to curb emissions if we are going to come anywhere near the ambitious 2050 climate change targets. As in previous years, climate change and carbon emissions featured prominently at the WEF this year. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his opening address to warn us of the effects that exploitation of natural resources could have on humanity, while Anand Mahindra, co-chair of the WEF and chairman of one of India's largest conglomerates described cutting carbon emissions as not only good for the environment, but a commercial opportunity.  He said: “Everything that our group of companies have done to try and improve energy or to reduce greenhouse gases, has actually given us a return" and pointing out that over the last five years Mahindra (the conglomerate) has saved almost 60 million kWhs of energy - enough to supply power to 15,000 homes.  French President Emmanuel Macron also urged listeners to take heed of calls for action on climate change and laid out his ambition to make France "a model in the fight against climate change", with plans to phase out coal-burning. In stark contrast, the message from the United States of America couldn’t have been more different – after pulling the US out of the Paris climate agreement in one of his first acts as President, and his recent tax levied against imported solar panels, it’s unsurprising that Donald Trump didn’t mention climate change or carbon emissions at all in his address. However, the WEF’s website is thankfully quite positive about the future potential for action on climate change, stating: “By being more innovative and efficient, and working with suppliers and local economies, companies are finding ways to cut carbon and costs. Between now and 2030, the world will spend $90 trillion on infrastructure. How those investments are directed will make all the difference.” They go on to state that we have a choice: to lock in backwards-looking technologies, or to spend this $90 trillion investment on sustainable projects: “Companies that prioritise clean technology, like renewables, and avoid investing in high-carbon infrastructure are not only being environmentally responsible, they are also future-proofing their growth by factoring in long-term risk and positioning themselves as winners of the low-carbon economy.” So how does all of this affect us?  In Europe around 40% of the energy used is in buildings and up to 60% of that comes from heating and cooling, with much of that energy coming from the burning of fossil fuels.  Installing high performing insulants such a PIR into our buildings (which are currently amongst the least energy efficient in Europe) is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy demand and cut CO2.   Over the past 15 years or so, there has been a range of policies and initiatives to improve the building stock. Whilst some improvements have been made and plenty of homes are better than they were, we still have many homes that are woefully inadequate, with occupants and owners living in fuel poverty without the means to upgrade their property or without the understanding of how to. The PIR industry is ready and waiting to meet the challenge to improve all existing buildings.  Via participation in the work of the Each Home Counts initiative we are working with others to ensure that energy efficiency measures are effective through good design and installation procedures and that compliance and redress routes are in place to ensure this happens. At a time when the construction industry is faced with change and political uncertainty, the PIR insulation industry is well poised to help deliver better performing buildings both now and in the future, as well as playing a part in the UK achieving the ambitions of the Paris climate agreement. Visit www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Global warming issues are once again in the news and we all watched with interest, developments at the World Economic Forum in Davos where the evidence is loud and clear, that we have an urgent need to curb emissions if we are going to come anywhere near the ambitious 2050 climate change targets. As in previous years, climate change and carbon emissions featured prominently at the WEF this year. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his opening address to warn us of the effects that exploitation of natural resources could have on humanity, while Anand Mahindra, co-chair of the WEF and chairman of one of India's largest conglomerates described cutting carbon emissions as not only good for the environment, but a commercial opportunity.  He said: “Everything that our group of companies have done to try and improve energy or to reduce greenhouse gases, has actually given us a return" and pointing out that over the last five years Mahindra (the conglomerate) has saved almost 60 million kWhs of energy - enough to supply power to 15,000 homes.  French President Emmanuel Macron also urged listeners to take heed of calls for action on climate change and laid out his ambition to make France "a model in the fight against climate change", with plans to phase out coal-burning. In stark contrast, the message from the United States of America couldn’t have been more different – after pulling the US out of the Paris climate agreement in one of his first acts as President, and his recent tax levied against imported solar panels, it’s unsurprising that Donald Trump didn’t mention climate change or carbon emissions at all in his address. However, the WEF’s website is thankfully quite positive about the future potential for action on climate change, stating: “By being more innovative and efficient, and working with suppliers and local economies, companies are finding ways to cut carbon and costs. Between now and 2030, the world will spend $90 trillion on infrastructure. How those investments are directed will make all the difference.” They go on to state that we have a choice: to lock in backwards-looking technologies, or to spend this $90 trillion investment on sustainable projects: “Companies that prioritise clean technology, like renewables, and avoid investing in high-carbon infrastructure are not only being environmentally responsible, they are also future-proofing their growth by factoring in long-term risk and positioning themselves as winners of the low-carbon economy.” So how does all of this affect us?  In Europe around 40% of the energy used is in buildings and up to 60% of that comes from heating and cooling, with much of that energy coming from the burning of fossil fuels.  Installing high performing insulants such a PIR into our buildings (which are currently amongst the least energy efficient in Europe) is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy demand and cut CO2.   Over the past 15 years or so, there has been a range of policies and initiatives to improve the building stock. Whilst some improvements have been made and plenty of homes are better than they were, we still have many homes that are woefully inadequate, with occupants and owners living in fuel poverty without the means to upgrade their property or without the understanding of how to. The PIR industry is ready and waiting to meet the challenge to improve all existing buildings.  Via participation in the work of the Each Home Counts initiative we are working with others to ensure that energy efficiency measures are effective through good design and installation procedures and that compliance and redress routes are in place to ensure this happens. At a time when the construction industry is faced with change and political uncertainty, the PIR insulation industry is well poised to help deliver better performing buildings both now and in the future, as well as playing a part in the UK achieving the ambitions of the Paris climate agreement. Visit www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk
    Mar 08, 2018 0
  • 25 Jan 2018
    In a letter to Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has questioned whether the existing building regulations are fit for purpose, following the New Year’s Eve blaze at the King’s Dock multi-storey car park in Liverpool. In a fire that looks set to have a financial impact of over £50million, the question should be are we creating buildings and structures that are resilient and do the regulations go far enough? The fire, which reached temperatures of 1000 °C, destroyed upwards of a thousand vehicles inside the car park and caused extensive damage to the building itself. In an interview with the BBC Joe Anderson said it was unlikely the building could now be saved. The Mayor went on to state in his letter there was a “question of their efficacy in dealing with petrol based fires”, but the statistics show that the opposite is true. According to the UK Fire Statistics, there were 162 car park fires between 1994 and 2005 in which a fixed fire suppression system was present. Automatic sprinklers extinguished or contained 100 of these fires; and in only 1% of cases did the sprinklers operate but fail to contain or extinguish the fire. It is assumed that the remainder of the fires were too small to actuate the sprinklers, or were contained quickly by other means. This 99% success rate of activated sprinkler systems containing or extinguishing car park fires lays to rest the myth that sprinklers are ineffective at controlling fires in this setting. While the car park met current Building Regulations, this only means that the building complies – not that it is resilient. The Regulations are designed with life safety in mind and in this case they worked and everyone got out without injury. However, property protection is not considered and as such a fire which destroys a structure entirely can still be considered a success. This is fundamentally wrong. As a result of the lack of focus on property protection it has been estimated by the Association of British Insurers that £20m of claims will be paid out to insurance customers for the loss of vehicles and possessions in the fire. The construction cost of the building itself has been estimated to be in the range of £15m, bringing the total cost of property damage to an estimated £35m. However, the total cost of the fire will be far larger when the effect on the city as a whole is taken into account. The loss of the car park’s 1,600 spaces, charged at £15 per day, means a potential £24,000 of lost revenue daily, and the car park may not reopen for a year or longer. If it takes 18 months to reopen, this will mean potential lost earnings of £13,140,000. Visitors will seek alternative places to park, causing confusion and congestion and potentially cancelled visits should suitable alternative parking not be found. The ripple effect from this will be felt by businesses in the area who could previously expect custom from those parked in the multi-storey, who will now be spending less time in the town as they search for alternative places to park. Initial estimates of the cost of installing a sprinkler system in the car park have fallen within the range of £600k to £950k; considerably lower than the costs incurred as a result of the fire – costs that not only affect the Liverpool Echo Arena but smaller businesses and the city as a whole. Despite the evidence of the effectiveness of sprinklers in car parks and the resultant costs of a fire such as this one, the regulatory guidance for building safety does not call for the installation of sprinklers. The regulations concern themselves solely with life safety and do not take into account the wider economic effects of fire. Compliance with the regulations as they stand offers the bare minimum standards, rather than adequate resilience. By the existing regulations’ measure, the fire was a success as no one was injured. However, to consider the Liverpool car park fire a ‘success’ would be a difficult pill to swallow for many people, and for this reason the BSA backs the call for a review of building regulations with regards to the installation of sprinklers across the built environment.  Visit: www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • In a letter to Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has questioned whether the existing building regulations are fit for purpose, following the New Year’s Eve blaze at the King’s Dock multi-storey car park in Liverpool. In a fire that looks set to have a financial impact of over £50million, the question should be are we creating buildings and structures that are resilient and do the regulations go far enough? The fire, which reached temperatures of 1000 °C, destroyed upwards of a thousand vehicles inside the car park and caused extensive damage to the building itself. In an interview with the BBC Joe Anderson said it was unlikely the building could now be saved. The Mayor went on to state in his letter there was a “question of their efficacy in dealing with petrol based fires”, but the statistics show that the opposite is true. According to the UK Fire Statistics, there were 162 car park fires between 1994 and 2005 in which a fixed fire suppression system was present. Automatic sprinklers extinguished or contained 100 of these fires; and in only 1% of cases did the sprinklers operate but fail to contain or extinguish the fire. It is assumed that the remainder of the fires were too small to actuate the sprinklers, or were contained quickly by other means. This 99% success rate of activated sprinkler systems containing or extinguishing car park fires lays to rest the myth that sprinklers are ineffective at controlling fires in this setting. While the car park met current Building Regulations, this only means that the building complies – not that it is resilient. The Regulations are designed with life safety in mind and in this case they worked and everyone got out without injury. However, property protection is not considered and as such a fire which destroys a structure entirely can still be considered a success. This is fundamentally wrong. As a result of the lack of focus on property protection it has been estimated by the Association of British Insurers that £20m of claims will be paid out to insurance customers for the loss of vehicles and possessions in the fire. The construction cost of the building itself has been estimated to be in the range of £15m, bringing the total cost of property damage to an estimated £35m. However, the total cost of the fire will be far larger when the effect on the city as a whole is taken into account. The loss of the car park’s 1,600 spaces, charged at £15 per day, means a potential £24,000 of lost revenue daily, and the car park may not reopen for a year or longer. If it takes 18 months to reopen, this will mean potential lost earnings of £13,140,000. Visitors will seek alternative places to park, causing confusion and congestion and potentially cancelled visits should suitable alternative parking not be found. The ripple effect from this will be felt by businesses in the area who could previously expect custom from those parked in the multi-storey, who will now be spending less time in the town as they search for alternative places to park. Initial estimates of the cost of installing a sprinkler system in the car park have fallen within the range of £600k to £950k; considerably lower than the costs incurred as a result of the fire – costs that not only affect the Liverpool Echo Arena but smaller businesses and the city as a whole. Despite the evidence of the effectiveness of sprinklers in car parks and the resultant costs of a fire such as this one, the regulatory guidance for building safety does not call for the installation of sprinklers. The regulations concern themselves solely with life safety and do not take into account the wider economic effects of fire. Compliance with the regulations as they stand offers the bare minimum standards, rather than adequate resilience. By the existing regulations’ measure, the fire was a success as no one was injured. However, to consider the Liverpool car park fire a ‘success’ would be a difficult pill to swallow for many people, and for this reason the BSA backs the call for a review of building regulations with regards to the installation of sprinklers across the built environment.  Visit: www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org
    Jan 25, 2018 0
  • 23 Jan 2018
    Air leakage in the form of a draught within a building’s fabric is usually easy to detect. A shiver-inducing light gust is normally solved with the closing of a door or window, or with the strategic placement of a gap-filling excluder. For a property to achieve Passive House standards for air tightness, however, requires sealing the building against air leakage which isn’t felt or immediately apparent. Securing good levels of air tightness is not only beneficial for the building’s owner in terms of reduced energy usage and lower fuel bills. Since 2006, UK Building Regulations have included compulsory air leakage testing of new buildings, requiring developers to prove the air tightness of a sample of new buildings on a new residential housing estate, for example. Air leakage or air permeability, which refers to escaping or penetrating a building, is generally seen in the following areas: at external wall and floor junctions around windows and doors around pipe work including those generally boxed-in behind fitted units or behind bath and shower panels at socket points and around electricity units. Air assessment and APR During an air test, assessors will fit a temporary airtight screen at the entrance door of a building, whilst all other areas, such as water traps and vents, are temporarily blocked or closed. A fan then blows air into or out of the building to create a pressure difference between inside and outside of approximately 50 Pa. Air tightness is calculated by measuring the rate of airflow through the fan whilst a range of pressure differences between the inside and outside of the house are sustained. To pass an air leakage test a building must achieve an air permeability result (APR) of 10 m3/(h.m2). However, some targets are even more stringent when defined at design stage. A test that doesn’t achieve a Building Regulations minimum performance requirement would be classed as a fail. Should tests fail to achieve the necessary performance level, the building may require remedial work and retesting. This is where a good test engineer will often be able to identify the leakage points and provide corrective advice. Ignore these areas of escape at your peril. by Martin Peat, Commercial Director at Richardson & Peat Visit: http://www.richardsonandpeat.com/
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Air leakage in the form of a draught within a building’s fabric is usually easy to detect. A shiver-inducing light gust is normally solved with the closing of a door or window, or with the strategic placement of a gap-filling excluder. For a property to achieve Passive House standards for air tightness, however, requires sealing the building against air leakage which isn’t felt or immediately apparent. Securing good levels of air tightness is not only beneficial for the building’s owner in terms of reduced energy usage and lower fuel bills. Since 2006, UK Building Regulations have included compulsory air leakage testing of new buildings, requiring developers to prove the air tightness of a sample of new buildings on a new residential housing estate, for example. Air leakage or air permeability, which refers to escaping or penetrating a building, is generally seen in the following areas: at external wall and floor junctions around windows and doors around pipe work including those generally boxed-in behind fitted units or behind bath and shower panels at socket points and around electricity units. Air assessment and APR During an air test, assessors will fit a temporary airtight screen at the entrance door of a building, whilst all other areas, such as water traps and vents, are temporarily blocked or closed. A fan then blows air into or out of the building to create a pressure difference between inside and outside of approximately 50 Pa. Air tightness is calculated by measuring the rate of airflow through the fan whilst a range of pressure differences between the inside and outside of the house are sustained. To pass an air leakage test a building must achieve an air permeability result (APR) of 10 m3/(h.m2). However, some targets are even more stringent when defined at design stage. A test that doesn’t achieve a Building Regulations minimum performance requirement would be classed as a fail. Should tests fail to achieve the necessary performance level, the building may require remedial work and retesting. This is where a good test engineer will often be able to identify the leakage points and provide corrective advice. Ignore these areas of escape at your peril. by Martin Peat, Commercial Director at Richardson & Peat Visit: http://www.richardsonandpeat.com/
    Jan 23, 2018 0
  • 24 Nov 2017
    Biodiversity is something that is all too often overlooked in building design and built environment projects, especially on inner city, industrial and commercial projects. Often seen as exclusive for urban development, biodiversity has taken on a new importance and is something that should be considered on every project. Drawing from a pioneering and collaborative strategic ecological framework, BREEAM helps design teams consider how to incorporate biodiversity on every project by looking at the science behind biodiversity, encouraging alignment of relevant processes and promoting consideration of the environmental, social and economic benefits that ecological protection and enhancements can bring. There have been significant developments over the past decade in best practice for evaluating, protecting and enhancing ecological features. In response to industry feedback BRE Global’s BREEAM team has worked with a wide range of stakeholders to understand how to progress development of its ecology assessment content which covers master planning, infrastructure and buildings. Strategic Ecology Framework for BREEAM Scheme Development Following extensive feedback from ecology and landscape professionals and others commonly engaged with BREEAM assessments, the BREEAM team concluded that the ratings scheme should take a more strategic approach to encouraging high ecological standards. As a result, the treatment of ecology in UK BREEAM schemes has therefore been extensively reviewed in order to develop a Strategic Ecology Framework (SEF) for improving and evaluating the ecological performance of buildings, assets and developments. The SEF has been developed to reflect the advances in the field of ecology and landscape management. It forms the basis for future development of relevant ecology-related assessment criteria according to the respective life cycle stages covered by UK BREEAM schemes Measuring and Specifying for Ecological Performance BREEAM UK’s Ecology related content encourages project teams and facilities managers to reduce and manage impacts on the natural environment and local biodiversity/habitats and identify opportunities for enhancement. It does this by identifying ecological value on and around a site and the risks and opportunities that arise as a result of the design, construction and operation of an asset. It focuses on processes and actions that protect features of value, mitigate unavoidable impacts, and enhance habitats. Importantly, it also seeks to promote best practice regarding long term biodiversity management practices and strategies for assessed sites and ecologically associated surrounding areas to maximise the outcomes. Assessment content relate to the use of land of low ecological value, mitigation and enhancement of ecological value, long term ecological and biodiversity management and seek to maximise the wider benefits to occupants and the broader society through provision of additional amenity and economic value in a manner which is context specific. There are four key issues which make up the Ecology content: Identifying and understanding the risks and opportunities for project Managing negative impacts on habitats and biodiversity Enhancement of ecological value Long term biodiversity management and maintenance Part of each issue focuses on looking at how ecology, biodiversity and soft landscaping can support and link other core specification areas such as landscape and habitat management, surface water run-off management, flood risk management, light and noise pollution, health and wellbeing, and recreational space. Promoting consideration and where appropriate specification of elements which support sustainability and resilience on the site. Process of implementation With the SEF published in the spring of 2016, the process of implementation is underway through the BREEAM scheme development update process. BRE has brought together a group of ecologists, landscape architects and many others involved in the design, construction, handover and operational aspects of the built environment to advise on the development of a methodology for implementing the SEF which could be used across all BREEAM schemes. These individuals span all of the BREEAM schemes. This includes the following BREEAM new build suite of schemes currently being updated: BREEAM UK Non Domestic New Construction Home Quality Mark Next version of CEEQUAL (incorporating BREEAM Infrastructure pilot scheme) These schemes will be the first to take account of the updated ecology content informed by the Strategic Ecology Framework. Specifying and Creating a Sustainable Built Environment It is vital that we aspire to a built environment that is optimal in terms of ecology, and not only in terms of technology and costs. Of course not all projects can be ecologically ambitious, but they can take steps to protect and enhance the ecological value of buildings and sites, such as preserving natural areas, maintaining ponds, promoting bee-friendly planting and very many others. Protecting and improving ecology and how it relates to the built environment can contribute greatly to the environmental quality of our increasingly urbanised world and – as a growing body of evidence shows – improve the health, wellbeing and even productivity of building users. The new and comprehensive ecological framework developed by BREEAM will be key to both promoting and rewarding. By Yetunde Abdul, BREEAM Scheme Development Manager, BRE Global Visit: www.breeam.com/sef.
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Biodiversity is something that is all too often overlooked in building design and built environment projects, especially on inner city, industrial and commercial projects. Often seen as exclusive for urban development, biodiversity has taken on a new importance and is something that should be considered on every project. Drawing from a pioneering and collaborative strategic ecological framework, BREEAM helps design teams consider how to incorporate biodiversity on every project by looking at the science behind biodiversity, encouraging alignment of relevant processes and promoting consideration of the environmental, social and economic benefits that ecological protection and enhancements can bring. There have been significant developments over the past decade in best practice for evaluating, protecting and enhancing ecological features. In response to industry feedback BRE Global’s BREEAM team has worked with a wide range of stakeholders to understand how to progress development of its ecology assessment content which covers master planning, infrastructure and buildings. Strategic Ecology Framework for BREEAM Scheme Development Following extensive feedback from ecology and landscape professionals and others commonly engaged with BREEAM assessments, the BREEAM team concluded that the ratings scheme should take a more strategic approach to encouraging high ecological standards. As a result, the treatment of ecology in UK BREEAM schemes has therefore been extensively reviewed in order to develop a Strategic Ecology Framework (SEF) for improving and evaluating the ecological performance of buildings, assets and developments. The SEF has been developed to reflect the advances in the field of ecology and landscape management. It forms the basis for future development of relevant ecology-related assessment criteria according to the respective life cycle stages covered by UK BREEAM schemes Measuring and Specifying for Ecological Performance BREEAM UK’s Ecology related content encourages project teams and facilities managers to reduce and manage impacts on the natural environment and local biodiversity/habitats and identify opportunities for enhancement. It does this by identifying ecological value on and around a site and the risks and opportunities that arise as a result of the design, construction and operation of an asset. It focuses on processes and actions that protect features of value, mitigate unavoidable impacts, and enhance habitats. Importantly, it also seeks to promote best practice regarding long term biodiversity management practices and strategies for assessed sites and ecologically associated surrounding areas to maximise the outcomes. Assessment content relate to the use of land of low ecological value, mitigation and enhancement of ecological value, long term ecological and biodiversity management and seek to maximise the wider benefits to occupants and the broader society through provision of additional amenity and economic value in a manner which is context specific. There are four key issues which make up the Ecology content: Identifying and understanding the risks and opportunities for project Managing negative impacts on habitats and biodiversity Enhancement of ecological value Long term biodiversity management and maintenance Part of each issue focuses on looking at how ecology, biodiversity and soft landscaping can support and link other core specification areas such as landscape and habitat management, surface water run-off management, flood risk management, light and noise pollution, health and wellbeing, and recreational space. Promoting consideration and where appropriate specification of elements which support sustainability and resilience on the site. Process of implementation With the SEF published in the spring of 2016, the process of implementation is underway through the BREEAM scheme development update process. BRE has brought together a group of ecologists, landscape architects and many others involved in the design, construction, handover and operational aspects of the built environment to advise on the development of a methodology for implementing the SEF which could be used across all BREEAM schemes. These individuals span all of the BREEAM schemes. This includes the following BREEAM new build suite of schemes currently being updated: BREEAM UK Non Domestic New Construction Home Quality Mark Next version of CEEQUAL (incorporating BREEAM Infrastructure pilot scheme) These schemes will be the first to take account of the updated ecology content informed by the Strategic Ecology Framework. Specifying and Creating a Sustainable Built Environment It is vital that we aspire to a built environment that is optimal in terms of ecology, and not only in terms of technology and costs. Of course not all projects can be ecologically ambitious, but they can take steps to protect and enhance the ecological value of buildings and sites, such as preserving natural areas, maintaining ponds, promoting bee-friendly planting and very many others. Protecting and improving ecology and how it relates to the built environment can contribute greatly to the environmental quality of our increasingly urbanised world and – as a growing body of evidence shows – improve the health, wellbeing and even productivity of building users. The new and comprehensive ecological framework developed by BREEAM will be key to both promoting and rewarding. By Yetunde Abdul, BREEAM Scheme Development Manager, BRE Global Visit: www.breeam.com/sef.
    Nov 24, 2017 0
  • 13 Oct 2017
    Buildings are responsible for nearly 50% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions. Well-insulated existing and new-build properties will help improve that figure, but only if the insulation is correctly fitted in the first place. Global leaders in PIR manufacture, Recticel Insulation, provides a guideline to installation practices and techniques in respect of one of the more innovative insulation products on the market. A Green Building Council report released earlier this year revealed 25 million homes need to be refurbished by 2050 in order to meet insulation standards, and achieve the UK’s pledge to cut carbon emissions by 80%, by then in line with the 2008 Climate Change Act. Excess energy used to heat draughty buildings is a major contributor to the country’s carbon footprint, hence the need for quality insulation that is fitted to a high standard. The onus on providing buildings which deliver in terms of thermal performance will largely fall on architects, developers and the building industry as a whole. However, manufacturers can also play their part by continuing to refine the properties and performance of ‘fabric first’ materials which are so vital in putting a thermal seal on the building envelope. Innovative solution Dedicated to raising the standards of insulation products in the UK, Eurowall + represents Recticel Insulation’s commitment to PIR innovation to improve a building’s thermal performance and enhance the comfort and wellbeing of its occupants. Eurowall + was the first rigid insulation board to feature a tongue and groove joint on all four sides. This interlocking feature ensures boards slot together easily to provide insulation that is solid and airtight and minimises heat loss caused by thermal bridging, as well as offering effective protection against elements such as wind-driven rain. In the quest for improved energy efficiency, designers can be left with little option but to increase the thickness of insulation in a dwelling’s external walls. This additional insulation can be added internally, externally or within the cavity, all of which mean that floorplans need to be enlarged, which for housebuilders can mean smaller rooms or fewer houses per plot. Eurowall +, a premium, full-fill cavity insulation board manufactured from high performance closed cell polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam, has been developed to allow designers and housebuilders to maintain traditional build techniques, without compromise to thermal performance. It’s resulted in a board that achieves a U-value of 0.18W/m2K to enable compliance with Part L1A of the Building Regulations 2013 in England and Part L1A of the Building Regulations 2014 in Wales. Installation made easy Installing Eurowall + couldn’t be easier. To help the installer fit the boards the right way, there is a different gas-tight foil-faced finish on each side: one is distinctive grey alkali-resistant facing for placing against the inner leaf; where wet cement can affect the foil facing. The other is a low emissivity multi-layer aluminum facing which enhances the thermal resistance of the cavity. Eurowall + eliminates the need to tape board joints, whilst the boards themselves should be installed in a brick bond pattern with staggered vertical joints.  Wall ties should be applied in the same way as if a partial-fill board were being installed. This involves cutting a slot in the tongue joint with a trowel then pushing the wall tie into it. Retaining discs fit onto the wall ties, acting as a spacer to help maintain the 10mm cavity.  In terms of reveals, wall ties continue to be installed at every second course of blockwork, rather than every course, as is common practice. Two ties are positioned within 225mm of the reveal. Corner details are formed by cutting the boards squarely and closely ****-jointing. A vertical 300mm wide DPC covers the corner and runs the full length of the junction. Cavity trays are fitted by either cutting the insulation at an angle and running a DPC over the top of it,  or using a partial-fill board behind the section where the DPC is due to be fitted. Case study: Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire Eurowall + was used by Mentmore Homes in the construction of two energy-efficient, detached five-bedroom homes in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, valued at £2.5 million each. The high-quality, traditionally-constructed homes feature external walls built using brick/block cavity construction. Cavity wall is the UK’s most common method of wall construction for residential dwellings. For Mentmore Homes, a significant challenge was to retain a standard-sized cavity while complying with the latest Building Regulations. To maximise the thermal performance of the external walls without increasing the width of the 100mm wide cavity, Mentmore Homes specified Eurowall + full-fill insulation. Using this high-performance PIR insulation board enabled the developer to meet the thermal performance required to achieve Building Regulation compliance. A total 500m2 of Eurowall + boards were used in the wall construction of the two houses. Nicholas Peck, contracts manager at Mentmore Homes was impressed with the performance of Eurowall +: “We wanted to make the properties as energy efficient as possible; to make this happen the best place to start is the insulation,” he said. “Specifying Eurowall + meant we didn’t have to increase the size of the wall cavity and lose space inside the properties”. The panel’s interlocking feature was another element of the product that Peck says was beneficial: “Eurowall +, because it slots together so easily will remain solid and airtight,” he said. “We required a high-performance product for this extremely high-profile project and Eurowall + didn’t disappoint”. Case study: Hedge End, Southampton; Ludgershall, Andover Ease of handling and simplicity of installation were just two of the reasons Foreman Homes selected Eurowall + to insulate the walls of the homes on two large housing developments in the south of England. The schemes at Hedge End, Southampton, and Ludgershall, Andover, together contain a mix of over 300 plots of social and private housing; homes vary in size from two- to five-bedrooms. Mark Kew, a bricklayer with Foreman Homes, applauded the benefits of using Eurowall +: “In 35 years’ experience in construction, the insulation developed by Recticel is easy to cut accurately due to the grid printed on the foil-facing side which makes it easy to install with minimal waste. I can honestly say our quality and speed have excelled as a result of its use.” In total over 15,000m2 of Eurowall + insulation was installed. For Foreman Homes, using Eurowall + meant the homes’ external walls could be built quicker and easier resulting in a corresponding saving in construction costs.  And, the full-fill insulation’s excellent thermal performance will mean that residents on both developments will be able to enjoy their comfortable, energy-efficient dwellings. As these case studies demonstrate, innovative PIR products such as Eurowall + contain a host of benefits to fit the 21st century need for insulation which improves a property’s thermal performance and speeds-up the overall construction process. However, for the performance to match the quality of the product, its installation has to be correct – hopefully first time.  Visit: http://www.recticelinsulation.co.uk/
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Buildings are responsible for nearly 50% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions. Well-insulated existing and new-build properties will help improve that figure, but only if the insulation is correctly fitted in the first place. Global leaders in PIR manufacture, Recticel Insulation, provides a guideline to installation practices and techniques in respect of one of the more innovative insulation products on the market. A Green Building Council report released earlier this year revealed 25 million homes need to be refurbished by 2050 in order to meet insulation standards, and achieve the UK’s pledge to cut carbon emissions by 80%, by then in line with the 2008 Climate Change Act. Excess energy used to heat draughty buildings is a major contributor to the country’s carbon footprint, hence the need for quality insulation that is fitted to a high standard. The onus on providing buildings which deliver in terms of thermal performance will largely fall on architects, developers and the building industry as a whole. However, manufacturers can also play their part by continuing to refine the properties and performance of ‘fabric first’ materials which are so vital in putting a thermal seal on the building envelope. Innovative solution Dedicated to raising the standards of insulation products in the UK, Eurowall + represents Recticel Insulation’s commitment to PIR innovation to improve a building’s thermal performance and enhance the comfort and wellbeing of its occupants. Eurowall + was the first rigid insulation board to feature a tongue and groove joint on all four sides. This interlocking feature ensures boards slot together easily to provide insulation that is solid and airtight and minimises heat loss caused by thermal bridging, as well as offering effective protection against elements such as wind-driven rain. In the quest for improved energy efficiency, designers can be left with little option but to increase the thickness of insulation in a dwelling’s external walls. This additional insulation can be added internally, externally or within the cavity, all of which mean that floorplans need to be enlarged, which for housebuilders can mean smaller rooms or fewer houses per plot. Eurowall +, a premium, full-fill cavity insulation board manufactured from high performance closed cell polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam, has been developed to allow designers and housebuilders to maintain traditional build techniques, without compromise to thermal performance. It’s resulted in a board that achieves a U-value of 0.18W/m2K to enable compliance with Part L1A of the Building Regulations 2013 in England and Part L1A of the Building Regulations 2014 in Wales. Installation made easy Installing Eurowall + couldn’t be easier. To help the installer fit the boards the right way, there is a different gas-tight foil-faced finish on each side: one is distinctive grey alkali-resistant facing for placing against the inner leaf; where wet cement can affect the foil facing. The other is a low emissivity multi-layer aluminum facing which enhances the thermal resistance of the cavity. Eurowall + eliminates the need to tape board joints, whilst the boards themselves should be installed in a brick bond pattern with staggered vertical joints.  Wall ties should be applied in the same way as if a partial-fill board were being installed. This involves cutting a slot in the tongue joint with a trowel then pushing the wall tie into it. Retaining discs fit onto the wall ties, acting as a spacer to help maintain the 10mm cavity.  In terms of reveals, wall ties continue to be installed at every second course of blockwork, rather than every course, as is common practice. Two ties are positioned within 225mm of the reveal. Corner details are formed by cutting the boards squarely and closely ****-jointing. A vertical 300mm wide DPC covers the corner and runs the full length of the junction. Cavity trays are fitted by either cutting the insulation at an angle and running a DPC over the top of it,  or using a partial-fill board behind the section where the DPC is due to be fitted. Case study: Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire Eurowall + was used by Mentmore Homes in the construction of two energy-efficient, detached five-bedroom homes in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, valued at £2.5 million each. The high-quality, traditionally-constructed homes feature external walls built using brick/block cavity construction. Cavity wall is the UK’s most common method of wall construction for residential dwellings. For Mentmore Homes, a significant challenge was to retain a standard-sized cavity while complying with the latest Building Regulations. To maximise the thermal performance of the external walls without increasing the width of the 100mm wide cavity, Mentmore Homes specified Eurowall + full-fill insulation. Using this high-performance PIR insulation board enabled the developer to meet the thermal performance required to achieve Building Regulation compliance. A total 500m2 of Eurowall + boards were used in the wall construction of the two houses. Nicholas Peck, contracts manager at Mentmore Homes was impressed with the performance of Eurowall +: “We wanted to make the properties as energy efficient as possible; to make this happen the best place to start is the insulation,” he said. “Specifying Eurowall + meant we didn’t have to increase the size of the wall cavity and lose space inside the properties”. The panel’s interlocking feature was another element of the product that Peck says was beneficial: “Eurowall +, because it slots together so easily will remain solid and airtight,” he said. “We required a high-performance product for this extremely high-profile project and Eurowall + didn’t disappoint”. Case study: Hedge End, Southampton; Ludgershall, Andover Ease of handling and simplicity of installation were just two of the reasons Foreman Homes selected Eurowall + to insulate the walls of the homes on two large housing developments in the south of England. The schemes at Hedge End, Southampton, and Ludgershall, Andover, together contain a mix of over 300 plots of social and private housing; homes vary in size from two- to five-bedrooms. Mark Kew, a bricklayer with Foreman Homes, applauded the benefits of using Eurowall +: “In 35 years’ experience in construction, the insulation developed by Recticel is easy to cut accurately due to the grid printed on the foil-facing side which makes it easy to install with minimal waste. I can honestly say our quality and speed have excelled as a result of its use.” In total over 15,000m2 of Eurowall + insulation was installed. For Foreman Homes, using Eurowall + meant the homes’ external walls could be built quicker and easier resulting in a corresponding saving in construction costs.  And, the full-fill insulation’s excellent thermal performance will mean that residents on both developments will be able to enjoy their comfortable, energy-efficient dwellings. As these case studies demonstrate, innovative PIR products such as Eurowall + contain a host of benefits to fit the 21st century need for insulation which improves a property’s thermal performance and speeds-up the overall construction process. However, for the performance to match the quality of the product, its installation has to be correct – hopefully first time.  Visit: http://www.recticelinsulation.co.uk/
    Oct 13, 2017 0
  • 06 Oct 2017
    The health and wellbeing of building occupants is a hot topic. It has been acknowledged that buildings have a direct impact on human wellbeing and happiness, something that is compounded by the large amount of time we spend indoors. With this growing interest has come a move to understand Biophilia and its potential to improve indoor environments. However, with this also comes the challenge of how we measure its impact. This raises the question, if we are to truly understand its impact on building occupants, how closely should we link Biophilic design with post-occupancy evaluation? The term Biophilia was first used by psychologist Erich Fromm to explain our “love of life and all that is alive”. In 1984, Edward O Wilson released his book ‘Biophilia’ and defined the term as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. The concept suggests that humans have an innate attraction to natural processes, and hold a biological need for physical, mental and social connections with nature. Research has shown that being in natural environments, or even viewing scenes of nature, can have a general positive impact on our wellbeing. Presence in natural environments has been known to alleviate negative emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, depression and stress. Whilst also helping us to feel calm, balanced and inspired. Through the industrial revolution and technological advances, our lifestyles have shifted in terms of how and where we both work and spend our leisure time. As a result, in the developed world, we spend on average 90% of our lives in buildings. This statistic is one we’ve heard many times before, maybe so many times that we’re now becoming desensitised to it. As a result it’s especially important to remember exactly what this statistic is telling us; that we spend the majority of our time indoors, separated from nature and the wealth of benefits it brings to us. A way to address this is to bring the outdoors indoors, design our built environment to work with nature, and create internal surroundings that incorporate the natural world and its multiple facets (colour, light, air, plants, sound, texture, diversity) into our lives. Biophilic design does just this, and provides the built environment with a method of satisfying our need to connect with nature, even when spending time indoors. The evidence base for Biophilic design is widespread across various building types. In office workplaces, over the long term, Biophilic design can reduce absenteeism, reduce comfort complaints and help to retain employees. In addition to this, the workplace can become more efficient as a result of Biophilic design through employees feeling more inspired, creative and productive. Likewise in school buildings, strategic Biophilic design has been linked to improved learning, improved health of staff and pupils and a more enjoyable learning experience. In healthcare buildings, Biophilic design has been said to support quicker recovery rates amongst patients, decreased medication dependency, reduced stress amongst staff and patients and improved mental wellbeing. In the retail sector, buildings that incorporate Biophilic design can find their store provides a more enjoyable consumer experience which can draw in customers and boost sales.  But, how do we go about measuring these reported impacts? If the health and wellbeing benefits of Biophilic design are understood to be present in various building types, can we measure the extent of their success? How do we determine which Biophilic design elements are most successful in different building types? These questions lead me to believe there needs to be symbiotic relationship between Biophilic design and post-occupancy evaluation (POE) methods, right from the get-go. This might seem like an unusual pairing. Their names alone would suggest these two processes would occur at opposite ends of the scope of works; the design obviously coming first, and the post-occupancy evaluation doing exactly what it says on the tin by taking place long after building handover and occupation. However, to better understand the wealth of benefits known to Biophilic design, it could be argued that the design should influence the methods of POE, and likewise the POE should impact upon the design. During the design process, questions and research methods for the POE could be formulated based around the design intent as it develops, right from the beginning of the project through to the start of the construction phase when final design details are ironed out. Similarly once completed, the outcomes of POE could then influence changes to the Biophilic design. Alterations and tweaks could be made to the design based on which Biophilic design elements have met their design intent, those that haven’t, and those that might have produced unexpected outcomes. Further to this, restrictions to the POE methods could be taken into account whilst making decisions around the Biophilic design. For example, if during the design the end tenant’s intended office floor plan is unknown, locating a living wall at one end of the floor space might mean that half of the office occupants rarely experience or interact with the feature. This will in turn impact on the POE, meaning that half the occupants will not be able to answer questions investigating the impact of that feature. As such, to support the POEs ability to thoroughly investigate each Biophilic feature, the design decision could ensure the living wall is located in a communal break-out space, or incorporate two living walls in each end of the office space. The BRE and Oliver Heath Design, supported by a wide range of partners, are embarking on a new research project around Biophilic design. A live office refurbishment will provide robust building environment and occupant data as evidence for positive health and wellbeing impacts of Biophilic design. Occupant surveys and POE quite clearly will have a very important role to play in understanding the outcomes of the project. The project is creating a baseline of data by monitoring the existing building for one year before intervening with Biophilic refurbishment, and monitoring the office again. The long-term findings from which are intended to be linked to the Biophilic elements thus giving a better understanding of the extent of product and design on occupants. This will support the case for Biophilic design in numerous areas of the built environment industry, including BREEAM. With Strategic Director Alan Yates on the Project Board, BREEAM intends to utilise the findings to better inform the Health and Wellbeing category and work around POE methodologies.  In its widest context, Biophilic design has a lot to offer the refurbishment and fit out sectors that will benefit clients, building owners and occupants. It doesn’t have to be deep refurbishment, complex or expensive – the simple choices of floor covering, paint on the walls and lighting have significant Biophilic qualities. The use of POE is key to understanding the evidence base of this, and educating the industry so that informed well researched choices can help create workplaces of the future, that are healthier and more energising, from the offices of the past. For more information on BREEAM visit: www.breeam.com By Kerri-Emma Dobson, BREEAM Technical Consultant   Blog first published on building.co.uk.  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The health and wellbeing of building occupants is a hot topic. It has been acknowledged that buildings have a direct impact on human wellbeing and happiness, something that is compounded by the large amount of time we spend indoors. With this growing interest has come a move to understand Biophilia and its potential to improve indoor environments. However, with this also comes the challenge of how we measure its impact. This raises the question, if we are to truly understand its impact on building occupants, how closely should we link Biophilic design with post-occupancy evaluation? The term Biophilia was first used by psychologist Erich Fromm to explain our “love of life and all that is alive”. In 1984, Edward O Wilson released his book ‘Biophilia’ and defined the term as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. The concept suggests that humans have an innate attraction to natural processes, and hold a biological need for physical, mental and social connections with nature. Research has shown that being in natural environments, or even viewing scenes of nature, can have a general positive impact on our wellbeing. Presence in natural environments has been known to alleviate negative emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, depression and stress. Whilst also helping us to feel calm, balanced and inspired. Through the industrial revolution and technological advances, our lifestyles have shifted in terms of how and where we both work and spend our leisure time. As a result, in the developed world, we spend on average 90% of our lives in buildings. This statistic is one we’ve heard many times before, maybe so many times that we’re now becoming desensitised to it. As a result it’s especially important to remember exactly what this statistic is telling us; that we spend the majority of our time indoors, separated from nature and the wealth of benefits it brings to us. A way to address this is to bring the outdoors indoors, design our built environment to work with nature, and create internal surroundings that incorporate the natural world and its multiple facets (colour, light, air, plants, sound, texture, diversity) into our lives. Biophilic design does just this, and provides the built environment with a method of satisfying our need to connect with nature, even when spending time indoors. The evidence base for Biophilic design is widespread across various building types. In office workplaces, over the long term, Biophilic design can reduce absenteeism, reduce comfort complaints and help to retain employees. In addition to this, the workplace can become more efficient as a result of Biophilic design through employees feeling more inspired, creative and productive. Likewise in school buildings, strategic Biophilic design has been linked to improved learning, improved health of staff and pupils and a more enjoyable learning experience. In healthcare buildings, Biophilic design has been said to support quicker recovery rates amongst patients, decreased medication dependency, reduced stress amongst staff and patients and improved mental wellbeing. In the retail sector, buildings that incorporate Biophilic design can find their store provides a more enjoyable consumer experience which can draw in customers and boost sales.  But, how do we go about measuring these reported impacts? If the health and wellbeing benefits of Biophilic design are understood to be present in various building types, can we measure the extent of their success? How do we determine which Biophilic design elements are most successful in different building types? These questions lead me to believe there needs to be symbiotic relationship between Biophilic design and post-occupancy evaluation (POE) methods, right from the get-go. This might seem like an unusual pairing. Their names alone would suggest these two processes would occur at opposite ends of the scope of works; the design obviously coming first, and the post-occupancy evaluation doing exactly what it says on the tin by taking place long after building handover and occupation. However, to better understand the wealth of benefits known to Biophilic design, it could be argued that the design should influence the methods of POE, and likewise the POE should impact upon the design. During the design process, questions and research methods for the POE could be formulated based around the design intent as it develops, right from the beginning of the project through to the start of the construction phase when final design details are ironed out. Similarly once completed, the outcomes of POE could then influence changes to the Biophilic design. Alterations and tweaks could be made to the design based on which Biophilic design elements have met their design intent, those that haven’t, and those that might have produced unexpected outcomes. Further to this, restrictions to the POE methods could be taken into account whilst making decisions around the Biophilic design. For example, if during the design the end tenant’s intended office floor plan is unknown, locating a living wall at one end of the floor space might mean that half of the office occupants rarely experience or interact with the feature. This will in turn impact on the POE, meaning that half the occupants will not be able to answer questions investigating the impact of that feature. As such, to support the POEs ability to thoroughly investigate each Biophilic feature, the design decision could ensure the living wall is located in a communal break-out space, or incorporate two living walls in each end of the office space. The BRE and Oliver Heath Design, supported by a wide range of partners, are embarking on a new research project around Biophilic design. A live office refurbishment will provide robust building environment and occupant data as evidence for positive health and wellbeing impacts of Biophilic design. Occupant surveys and POE quite clearly will have a very important role to play in understanding the outcomes of the project. The project is creating a baseline of data by monitoring the existing building for one year before intervening with Biophilic refurbishment, and monitoring the office again. The long-term findings from which are intended to be linked to the Biophilic elements thus giving a better understanding of the extent of product and design on occupants. This will support the case for Biophilic design in numerous areas of the built environment industry, including BREEAM. With Strategic Director Alan Yates on the Project Board, BREEAM intends to utilise the findings to better inform the Health and Wellbeing category and work around POE methodologies.  In its widest context, Biophilic design has a lot to offer the refurbishment and fit out sectors that will benefit clients, building owners and occupants. It doesn’t have to be deep refurbishment, complex or expensive – the simple choices of floor covering, paint on the walls and lighting have significant Biophilic qualities. The use of POE is key to understanding the evidence base of this, and educating the industry so that informed well researched choices can help create workplaces of the future, that are healthier and more energising, from the offices of the past. For more information on BREEAM visit: www.breeam.com By Kerri-Emma Dobson, BREEAM Technical Consultant   Blog first published on building.co.uk.  
    Oct 06, 2017 0
  • 03 Oct 2017
    Balancing environmentally sound proposals with commercial viability can present a number of challenges and is further complicated by planning requirements.  With many local planning authorities now requiring an energy and / or sustainability statement to be submitted as part of a planning application, Darren Evans of Darren Evans Assessments explains why a well prepared, professional statement will play a critical role in ensuring planning consent for a site. The purpose of the planning system is to contribute to sustainable development, which has economic, social and environmental dimensions.  The main aim of an energy and or sustainability statement is to promote high standards of design and to reduce the environmental impacts of new developments. The requirements of these statements are set regionally and will differ from council to council across the UK. An energy statement will involve demonstrating a specified reduction in energy demand or CO2 emissions beyond building regulations. This is usually through the use of onsite renewable or low/zero carbon technologies with examples including solar PV, solar thermal, air / ground source heat pumps and biomass boilers. A sustainability statement will incorporate these reductions but include additional requirements such as flood risk assessments, water consumption targets, transport and cycle storage, on site recycling, district heating connections and in depth feasibility studies for additional renewable and low/zero carbon technologies. A local plan With regional differences in requirements for energy statements the point could be argued that these planning policies do not go far enough in terms of sustainability. For example, Bristol City Council require a 20% reduction in CO2 through on site renewable technologies whist the bordering council South Gloucestershire has no requirements for an energy or sustainability statement.  A good example of where planning policies are going further in terms of sustainability is London where all new housing must follow the guidelines of the London plan, regardless of which borough the development lies. The London plan requires that a sustainability statement must be undertaken which amongst other requirements demands a 35% reduction in emissions over building regulations. Interestingly, this does not have to be through renewables or low/zero carbon technologies, although it is very difficult to achieve solely through a fabric first approach. The planning departments which fall under the London plan can then dictate if they choose to, reductions through the use of renewable technologies or other polices such as communal heating systems or the ability to connect to future district heating schemes. “Most projects that come to us for sustainability or energy statements will not initially meet the requirements outlined in the local planning policies and we will propose different options on how to comply that work with the development both practically and financially,” commented Darren Evans. Some contractors will want to avoid these policies for varying reasons, some genuine and some not. In this case, the approach taken is to try and demonstrate the reduction through a fabric first approach which is achievable in some areas but as previously mentioned in London can be very difficult. It also varies from region to region as to whether a development meeting the targets through the building fabric and no renewables will be approved through planning. However, more often than not the requirements will be strictly enforced. Meeting energy targets With many councils requiring schemes to provide minimum performance against BREEAM, contractors are not always up-to-speed on what is required for this standard and at what stages things need to be completed. This applies to non-domestic buildings over 1,000 m2 and the condition is either Very Good or Excellent and that is what needs to be met. The project teams are not always forthcoming with BREEAM evidence, and often when they do send evidence in it is incorrect or incomplete.  With the other pressures of the build, the BREEAM requirements seem to be a low priority and it is left until the ‘last minute’ to get information back to the assessor therefore making it harder to gather the evidence and incurring a higher risk of losing credits, which results in not meeting the necessary BREEAM rating.  This causes great stress to the design team and even the end client. To tackle this, the client could appoint a BREEAM Accredited Professional /Sustainability Champion at the early design stages and throughout the project to ensure the whole project team are aware of what is needed and guarantee the design team incorporate the necessary details into the design drawings and specifications.  This person should also proactively gather the required information from the various design team members. This will make it easier for the Design Stage assessments to be completed and allow contractors to focus on the Post Construction Assessment. They can highlight particular credits where evidence needs to be collated throughout the project. Contractors could appoint a project team member who is dedicated to BREEAM evidence collation to ensure BREEAM credits are not lost, so any day-to-day issues or changes can be assessed.  Having regular BREEAM team meetings, either by phone or in person, to check the process is moving forward will ensure it remains a high priority throughout the project. A future policy To improve the planning situation in relation to energy and sustainability in the built environment, it would be beneficial to see a nationwide policy rolled out which set out the requirements for these planning conditions. This way it would not come as a surprise to developers that they need to include renewable and low/zero carbon technologies with every development.  In an ideal situation from a sustainability point of view there should be a requirement that a given percentage of a dwellings total energy demand needs to be provided through on site renewables. Visit: www.darren-evans.co.uk  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Balancing environmentally sound proposals with commercial viability can present a number of challenges and is further complicated by planning requirements.  With many local planning authorities now requiring an energy and / or sustainability statement to be submitted as part of a planning application, Darren Evans of Darren Evans Assessments explains why a well prepared, professional statement will play a critical role in ensuring planning consent for a site. The purpose of the planning system is to contribute to sustainable development, which has economic, social and environmental dimensions.  The main aim of an energy and or sustainability statement is to promote high standards of design and to reduce the environmental impacts of new developments. The requirements of these statements are set regionally and will differ from council to council across the UK. An energy statement will involve demonstrating a specified reduction in energy demand or CO2 emissions beyond building regulations. This is usually through the use of onsite renewable or low/zero carbon technologies with examples including solar PV, solar thermal, air / ground source heat pumps and biomass boilers. A sustainability statement will incorporate these reductions but include additional requirements such as flood risk assessments, water consumption targets, transport and cycle storage, on site recycling, district heating connections and in depth feasibility studies for additional renewable and low/zero carbon technologies. A local plan With regional differences in requirements for energy statements the point could be argued that these planning policies do not go far enough in terms of sustainability. For example, Bristol City Council require a 20% reduction in CO2 through on site renewable technologies whist the bordering council South Gloucestershire has no requirements for an energy or sustainability statement.  A good example of where planning policies are going further in terms of sustainability is London where all new housing must follow the guidelines of the London plan, regardless of which borough the development lies. The London plan requires that a sustainability statement must be undertaken which amongst other requirements demands a 35% reduction in emissions over building regulations. Interestingly, this does not have to be through renewables or low/zero carbon technologies, although it is very difficult to achieve solely through a fabric first approach. The planning departments which fall under the London plan can then dictate if they choose to, reductions through the use of renewable technologies or other polices such as communal heating systems or the ability to connect to future district heating schemes. “Most projects that come to us for sustainability or energy statements will not initially meet the requirements outlined in the local planning policies and we will propose different options on how to comply that work with the development both practically and financially,” commented Darren Evans. Some contractors will want to avoid these policies for varying reasons, some genuine and some not. In this case, the approach taken is to try and demonstrate the reduction through a fabric first approach which is achievable in some areas but as previously mentioned in London can be very difficult. It also varies from region to region as to whether a development meeting the targets through the building fabric and no renewables will be approved through planning. However, more often than not the requirements will be strictly enforced. Meeting energy targets With many councils requiring schemes to provide minimum performance against BREEAM, contractors are not always up-to-speed on what is required for this standard and at what stages things need to be completed. This applies to non-domestic buildings over 1,000 m2 and the condition is either Very Good or Excellent and that is what needs to be met. The project teams are not always forthcoming with BREEAM evidence, and often when they do send evidence in it is incorrect or incomplete.  With the other pressures of the build, the BREEAM requirements seem to be a low priority and it is left until the ‘last minute’ to get information back to the assessor therefore making it harder to gather the evidence and incurring a higher risk of losing credits, which results in not meeting the necessary BREEAM rating.  This causes great stress to the design team and even the end client. To tackle this, the client could appoint a BREEAM Accredited Professional /Sustainability Champion at the early design stages and throughout the project to ensure the whole project team are aware of what is needed and guarantee the design team incorporate the necessary details into the design drawings and specifications.  This person should also proactively gather the required information from the various design team members. This will make it easier for the Design Stage assessments to be completed and allow contractors to focus on the Post Construction Assessment. They can highlight particular credits where evidence needs to be collated throughout the project. Contractors could appoint a project team member who is dedicated to BREEAM evidence collation to ensure BREEAM credits are not lost, so any day-to-day issues or changes can be assessed.  Having regular BREEAM team meetings, either by phone or in person, to check the process is moving forward will ensure it remains a high priority throughout the project. A future policy To improve the planning situation in relation to energy and sustainability in the built environment, it would be beneficial to see a nationwide policy rolled out which set out the requirements for these planning conditions. This way it would not come as a surprise to developers that they need to include renewable and low/zero carbon technologies with every development.  In an ideal situation from a sustainability point of view there should be a requirement that a given percentage of a dwellings total energy demand needs to be provided through on site renewables. Visit: www.darren-evans.co.uk  
    Oct 03, 2017 0
  • 02 Oct 2017
    Passive House is regarded as one of the best standards to reflect ultra-efficient building performance. Whilst many people talk about the desire to build to Passive House standard the number of projects that are actually delivered tells a different story. So are we setting the bar so high that it is unrealistic to achieve, particularly on a large volume scale? Or is there another reason? An estimated 30,000 buildings worldwide currently meet Passive House levels for airtightness, the majority having achieved the standard since the turn of the century. It’s a figure, which in worldwide terms at least, barely represents a drop in the ocean. As specialists in the building of low-energy properties, Richardson & Peat has experienced first-hand the results of this sustainable form of construction which profits the planet and a building’s occupants. But what is our experience of delivering to this standard? The Passive House experience For those unfamiliar with Passive House performance, the introduction to an interior where there is no variance in the air’s purity or temperature can prove quite a strange sensation. A sanitised environment, initially it doesn’t feel quite real - we are so used to homes that are filled with microscopic air pollutants such as dust particles. There should be no underestimating the part air quality plays in creating interiors which excel in terms of health, wellbeing and comfort, particularly when you consider a US Environmental Protection Agency report identified indoor air quality as one of the top-five urgent environmental risks to public health. Passive House construction can also improve occupants’ financial wellbeing. It’s estimated a household living in a 70m2 Passive House with gas heating could spend as little as £25 on space-heating each year. In Reality In 2016, we built a three-storey, six-bedroom private property in Mayfield, Sussex which became the first home in the east of the county to gain full Passive House certification. Upon completion, the first thing you notice when you enter a Passive House property is the clean, fresh air which pervades the whole house. There’s not a single hot or cold area to be found in the entire building, thanks to the constant air temperature, which in the Mayfield property’s case was set at a very comfortable 21°C. In short it is an extremely comfortable house to live in. It has virtually zero energy bills and the interior temperature and air quality make it a very pleasant place to be. Given the opportunity I would love to live in a house built to Passive House standards. Meeting the standard So what of the delivery of the project? Building to Passive House standards involves a higher levels of design and construction precision to attain the required airtightness. And this is not without its potential challenges. A successful Passive House build requires a concentrated team effort. The most successful projects are achieved when everyone from architect and structural engineer, to the main contractor and each and every sub-contractor and client, are involved in the project from the outset. Entering the project on the understanding that every detail, however minor, shall be implemented with the highest accuracy offers the best chance of success. Architects and on-site trades can consult on the designs to ensure every aspect is workable, which could iron out future problems at the start of the project, as opposed to midway through which can lead to redesigns further down the line, adding time and expense to an already relatively costly project. From experience it is the smallest if things that can derail a project. As the fundamental point of a Passive House is that the building is airtight, this is something that can have zero tolerance. Designing an airtight building is one thing, but delivering it is another. All too often different trades will come in and in an effort to deliver their part of the project, they will, in advertanly, compromise the efforts of others. This is where communication is paramount,. If everyone understands what you are trying to achieve and that the project has to be approached in a slightly different manner, then you are on the right road to success. Achieving Air Tightness However experienced the contractor, building Passive House to a price requires a flawless performance from all those involved. But again, it comes down to all trades adhering to the ‘no detail shall fail’ mantra. Actions, from any trade, could compromise the entire integrity of the building envelope. Throughout the project, the main contractor needs to carry-out at least three or four air tests to ensure u-values are being achieved. Tracking down such errant details, which can ultimately result in the performance not being met, creates a huge problem – it’s akin to finding a needle in a haystack.   With a house completed to what is presumed satisfactory levels of airtightness, the smallest hole can lead to air leakage that can lead to Passive House standards being compromised. In this instance, a smoke canister test might have to be taken to detect the barest movement of air. A far better solution would be for the trades people involved to own-up to the mistake, thus saving the valuable time and costs. As someone whose company is skilled in the building of Passive homes and has experienced the ‘cleaner ‘environment within, the question over whether we should be looking into building more properties to the same high level of airtightness is no longer valid because it’s an absolute no-brainer. The Cost On average, a Passive House build is 15% more expensive than properties constructed to a less-low energy standard. I agree with those who may feel this cost is too high. However, I believe the 15% figure will improve with communication and understanding through the supply chain, helping make Passive House construction more generally appealing. Is Passive House too complicated and difficult to achieve? Personally I don’t think so. It can be difficult, but for those willing to persevere, the results can be incredible. The secret to delivering to Passive House standard successfully and making it more commercially viable is about improving understanding across the supply chain. If everyone from client and architect, to every last sub-contractor understands why the project is being delivered to Passive House standards, it stands the best chance of success. This, however, is easier said than done, therefore education is needed in order to create Passive House buildings, which in my view are amongst the best properties there are in terms of energy and cost efficiency, and occupier comfort. By Martin Peat, Director, Richardson & Peat      
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Passive House is regarded as one of the best standards to reflect ultra-efficient building performance. Whilst many people talk about the desire to build to Passive House standard the number of projects that are actually delivered tells a different story. So are we setting the bar so high that it is unrealistic to achieve, particularly on a large volume scale? Or is there another reason? An estimated 30,000 buildings worldwide currently meet Passive House levels for airtightness, the majority having achieved the standard since the turn of the century. It’s a figure, which in worldwide terms at least, barely represents a drop in the ocean. As specialists in the building of low-energy properties, Richardson & Peat has experienced first-hand the results of this sustainable form of construction which profits the planet and a building’s occupants. But what is our experience of delivering to this standard? The Passive House experience For those unfamiliar with Passive House performance, the introduction to an interior where there is no variance in the air’s purity or temperature can prove quite a strange sensation. A sanitised environment, initially it doesn’t feel quite real - we are so used to homes that are filled with microscopic air pollutants such as dust particles. There should be no underestimating the part air quality plays in creating interiors which excel in terms of health, wellbeing and comfort, particularly when you consider a US Environmental Protection Agency report identified indoor air quality as one of the top-five urgent environmental risks to public health. Passive House construction can also improve occupants’ financial wellbeing. It’s estimated a household living in a 70m2 Passive House with gas heating could spend as little as £25 on space-heating each year. In Reality In 2016, we built a three-storey, six-bedroom private property in Mayfield, Sussex which became the first home in the east of the county to gain full Passive House certification. Upon completion, the first thing you notice when you enter a Passive House property is the clean, fresh air which pervades the whole house. There’s not a single hot or cold area to be found in the entire building, thanks to the constant air temperature, which in the Mayfield property’s case was set at a very comfortable 21°C. In short it is an extremely comfortable house to live in. It has virtually zero energy bills and the interior temperature and air quality make it a very pleasant place to be. Given the opportunity I would love to live in a house built to Passive House standards. Meeting the standard So what of the delivery of the project? Building to Passive House standards involves a higher levels of design and construction precision to attain the required airtightness. And this is not without its potential challenges. A successful Passive House build requires a concentrated team effort. The most successful projects are achieved when everyone from architect and structural engineer, to the main contractor and each and every sub-contractor and client, are involved in the project from the outset. Entering the project on the understanding that every detail, however minor, shall be implemented with the highest accuracy offers the best chance of success. Architects and on-site trades can consult on the designs to ensure every aspect is workable, which could iron out future problems at the start of the project, as opposed to midway through which can lead to redesigns further down the line, adding time and expense to an already relatively costly project. From experience it is the smallest if things that can derail a project. As the fundamental point of a Passive House is that the building is airtight, this is something that can have zero tolerance. Designing an airtight building is one thing, but delivering it is another. All too often different trades will come in and in an effort to deliver their part of the project, they will, in advertanly, compromise the efforts of others. This is where communication is paramount,. If everyone understands what you are trying to achieve and that the project has to be approached in a slightly different manner, then you are on the right road to success. Achieving Air Tightness However experienced the contractor, building Passive House to a price requires a flawless performance from all those involved. But again, it comes down to all trades adhering to the ‘no detail shall fail’ mantra. Actions, from any trade, could compromise the entire integrity of the building envelope. Throughout the project, the main contractor needs to carry-out at least three or four air tests to ensure u-values are being achieved. Tracking down such errant details, which can ultimately result in the performance not being met, creates a huge problem – it’s akin to finding a needle in a haystack.   With a house completed to what is presumed satisfactory levels of airtightness, the smallest hole can lead to air leakage that can lead to Passive House standards being compromised. In this instance, a smoke canister test might have to be taken to detect the barest movement of air. A far better solution would be for the trades people involved to own-up to the mistake, thus saving the valuable time and costs. As someone whose company is skilled in the building of Passive homes and has experienced the ‘cleaner ‘environment within, the question over whether we should be looking into building more properties to the same high level of airtightness is no longer valid because it’s an absolute no-brainer. The Cost On average, a Passive House build is 15% more expensive than properties constructed to a less-low energy standard. I agree with those who may feel this cost is too high. However, I believe the 15% figure will improve with communication and understanding through the supply chain, helping make Passive House construction more generally appealing. Is Passive House too complicated and difficult to achieve? Personally I don’t think so. It can be difficult, but for those willing to persevere, the results can be incredible. The secret to delivering to Passive House standard successfully and making it more commercially viable is about improving understanding across the supply chain. If everyone from client and architect, to every last sub-contractor understands why the project is being delivered to Passive House standards, it stands the best chance of success. This, however, is easier said than done, therefore education is needed in order to create Passive House buildings, which in my view are amongst the best properties there are in terms of energy and cost efficiency, and occupier comfort. By Martin Peat, Director, Richardson & Peat      
    Oct 02, 2017 0
  • 23 Sep 2017
    Flooding continues to be a major problem worldwide as our population continues to grow. In the UK, Government advisors are still suggesting that homes and offices be built on flood plains in spite of the risks – so it would seem that the problem can only get worse.. The Chinese have particular difficulties with huge numbers of people leaving the land to work in cities which are expanding at an ever increasing rate. With it comes the problem of channelling rainwater to minimise flood risks. Their answer - to create “Sponge Cities” and they reckon that by 2020, 80% of urban areas should absorb and re-use at least 70% of rainwater. The objective is to reduce the intensity of rainwater runoff by enhancing and distributing absorption capacities more evenly across targeted areas. Measures include rooftops covered by plants or green roofs which are becoming increasingly common across Europe, scenic wetlands for rainwater storage, and permeable pavements that store excess runoff water and allow evaporation. While all these ideas sound good in principle there is already mounting evidence that no one really wants to spend the money needed to create “Sponge Cities” and any such initiatives also have to go hand in hand with reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment. You cannot for example chop down natural sponges such as woodland to make way for new homes and offices and there is a limit to what even a sponge can soak up. In other parts of the world innovative water initiatives have been adopted  such as wetland restoration in the American Midwest, flushing systems using collectede rooftop water water have been introduced in Oregon USA, bioswales in Singapore, and public spaces as flexible water retention facilities in the Netherlands. In the UK there seems to be little joined up thinking with “Sponge Cities” way off the radar. We are seeing a steady increase in green roofs and seemingly token work on sea defences – but that seems to be it Perhaps we are being a little unfair on our Government – but how long before the next big flood and when the debate starts all over again? By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter @JohnRidgeway99.
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Flooding continues to be a major problem worldwide as our population continues to grow. In the UK, Government advisors are still suggesting that homes and offices be built on flood plains in spite of the risks – so it would seem that the problem can only get worse.. The Chinese have particular difficulties with huge numbers of people leaving the land to work in cities which are expanding at an ever increasing rate. With it comes the problem of channelling rainwater to minimise flood risks. Their answer - to create “Sponge Cities” and they reckon that by 2020, 80% of urban areas should absorb and re-use at least 70% of rainwater. The objective is to reduce the intensity of rainwater runoff by enhancing and distributing absorption capacities more evenly across targeted areas. Measures include rooftops covered by plants or green roofs which are becoming increasingly common across Europe, scenic wetlands for rainwater storage, and permeable pavements that store excess runoff water and allow evaporation. While all these ideas sound good in principle there is already mounting evidence that no one really wants to spend the money needed to create “Sponge Cities” and any such initiatives also have to go hand in hand with reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment. You cannot for example chop down natural sponges such as woodland to make way for new homes and offices and there is a limit to what even a sponge can soak up. In other parts of the world innovative water initiatives have been adopted  such as wetland restoration in the American Midwest, flushing systems using collectede rooftop water water have been introduced in Oregon USA, bioswales in Singapore, and public spaces as flexible water retention facilities in the Netherlands. In the UK there seems to be little joined up thinking with “Sponge Cities” way off the radar. We are seeing a steady increase in green roofs and seemingly token work on sea defences – but that seems to be it Perhaps we are being a little unfair on our Government – but how long before the next big flood and when the debate starts all over again? By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter @JohnRidgeway99.
    Sep 23, 2017 0