With companies falling over themselves to introduce sustainable technology into their schemes, research into what's possible seems increasingly to be the name of the game

Post-consumer tyres in bridleway surfaces

Consultant Scott Wilson has been awarded £180,000 funding from a not-for-profit company called Waste & Resources Actions Programme to explore the potential for using recycled tyres in bridleway surfaces. The purpose of WRAP's tyres programme is to support demonstration trials where rubber is used in new applications using existing technologies. The trial, which will take

place in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, is said to be the first of its kind to be carried out in the UK. It will involve tyre rubber being used for foundations, surface dressing and in between conventional materials along a 420 m stretch of bridleway.

In order to assess the durability of the surfacing it will be monitored every three months alongside an 80 m section that is made of conventional recycled materials.

Increasing renewable energy in a housing scheme

Linden Homes has undertaken a 12 month research project on renewable energy on its Fusion development. The aim is to generate at least 10% of the development's energy requirements through renewable energy, and the scheme is being undertaken in conjunction with Woking council.

The 86 homes have been fitted with a ventilation system called Nuaire Drimaster which takes the air within the loft space that has already been partially heated by the sun and pushes it through a ventilation system in the ceiling. The warmed air then circulates the house, reducing the demand on the boiler.

Some units on the scheme have been fitted with a device from Nuaire called Sunwarm which uses solar panels to heat water and air in the home reducing dependency on the traditional boiler system. The progress of the systems will be monitored remotely using radio frequency signals to prevent intrusion into the lives of residents. Linden Homes says it anticipates achieving as much as 12.7% of Fusion's energy requirement through these installations.

Sustainable best practice in construction

The Sustainability Forum, part of industry body Constructing Excellence, has released a draft document called Framework for More Sustainable Construction. This is the gives the results of industry consultation held at the end of last year. Forty-five organisations including Slough Estates, WRAP, Feilden Clegg Bradley, English Partnership, Turner & Townsend, CITB-Construction Skills, CABE and SEEDA took part in the research, which was intended to find out how sustainable best practice in construction could be set up. The most important issues, according to the report, comprise implementing zero carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing buildings, zero waste to landfill from construction sites, the complete use of sustainable materials in construction activities, high health and safety standards and training skills. The forum says it will try to ensure that the industry knows what and how to measure performances and ensure industry implementation. The final report is expected to be published by the autumn of 2006.

Recycled woodchip as a surfacing material

The Waste & Resources Action Programme has launched a series a trials designed to demonstrate the performance and commercial benefits of using recycled wood products in landscaping applications. The trials aim to increase awareness of the benefits of recycled woodchip as a surfacing material for pathways and playgrounds. Participants include the councils of Cornwall, Rugby and Redditch, Adas and Tal Goed nurseries and Giffords and Persimmons Homes which will use 43, 105, 80, 200 and 100 tonnes of recycled wood products respectively. Throughout these trials WRAP intends to gather further

evidence of the material's key performance properties such as low maintenance and weed suppression, slope stability, resistance to wind drift and accessibility for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Boost for alternative electricity generation

Contractor ISG InteriorExterior is to source half of its electricity use from renewable sources after signing a supply agreement with EDF Energy. Under the agreement, half of InteriorExterior's electricity will come from generators using wind, landfill gas and hydropower, with the rest coming from conventional sources. The company says

the deal enables it to reduce its carbon footprint and develop more responsible and sustainable business practices. ISG InteriorExterior has just completed what is said to be the UK's largest solar power project at the CIS Tower in Manchester where the service tower is clad with 7000 photovoltaic panels.

Energy efficiency awards

The UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development, an independent charitable foundation, has launched the National Energy Efficiency Awards programme to showcase good practice in energy efficiency. Set up in partnership with EDF Energy, DEFRA and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the UK CEED, the awards will reward innovative, cost effective and transferable energy efficiency. The deadline for nominations is mid-July. The winners will be announced in December during a ceremony held at the Science Museum in London.