his month, we have a cornucopia of energy-saving products, including a cladding system that thinks it’s a Thermos flask, the latest condensing boilers and movement-sensitive lighting controls
Weather-resistant solar panels
Schott Solar has launched a photovoltaic solution called InDaX 100 for integrating directly into pitched roofs. The system is comprised of solar modules, each measuring 0.86 m2 and producing 100 W of electricity. The modules can be arranged in a variety of ways – in rows, rectangular blocks or stepped formations – and the system can be added to or adapted in the future. The company says the panels provide good resistance to the weather, including driving rain and storms, and are designed to meet the same wind uplift loading as the surrounding roof.
Central heating on half the powerHeating control and security specialist Centroller has updated its 3000 Plus central heating programmer. The company says its power consumption has been halved from 10 W to 5 W and the back-up battery now lasts for 24 hours. Temperatures can be set for four separate time periods over 24 hours, and the hot water temperature can be varied. The company adds that the programmer is easy to set and all the information is visible on a display. It is supplied as a kit and includes thermsostats for rooms and hot water tanks.
Building materials supplier Natural Building Technologies has launched a slimline insulation system for existing exterior walls. The company says the system has no need for a cavity or vapour barrier, and does not need drylining or skilled labour to install it. Called Difutherm, it is made from natural woodfibre and is bonded directly to the brickwork then rendered. It is available in 60, 80 and 100 mm boards. With the insulation installed, the company says a wall would have a U-value ranging from 0.33 W/m2K to 0.51 W/m2K.
Natural Building Technologies
Movement-sensitive lighting control
Elkay Electrical has launched the 376A infrared timer for controlling lighting use in commercial and public buildings.
It can be used for controlling incandescent, fluorescent and compact lamps. The device switches on the lights for a preset period when it detects a moving heat source within a range of 7 m. It can be set to keep the lights on for between five and 60 minutes after the last detected movement, and can be set to operate the lights in a range of ambient settings. A version with a manual override switch is also available.
Quiet electronic blind control
Lighting controls maker Lutron Electronics has introduced a quiet electronic drive for roller blinds. Called the Sivoia QED, the unit will allow blinds to be lowered to reduce solar heat gain. The drive units are located inside the roller tube, allowing three installation possibilities: inside jamb, outside wall mount and ceiling mount. The unit can be controlled individually or integrated into Lutron’s Grafik Eye and Homeworks lighting control systems.
High-capacity condensing boiler
Heating systems maker Vaillant has added the ecoMax 635 to its range of high-efficiency condensing boilers. The high-capacity model is SEDUK A-rated and is claimed to be one of the most powerful condensing boiler systems in the UK. The unit is claimed to provide up to 34.9 kW of heat output making it suitable for large domestic properties. The unit includes a fully modulating low nitrogen oxide burner and a stainless-steel heat exchanger. Heating output can be adjusted from 10.5 kW to 34.9 kW to ensure optimum efficiency.
Solar control specialist Elero has brought out a range of products for automating awnings, blinds and roller shutters. Called ProLine, the range consists of wireless weather sensors, motors, multifunctional controls and the solar-powered Aero-868 sensor system, which reacts to weather changes and automatically adjusts the position of awnings and blinds.
Energy storage balls
Environmental Process Systems has launched a thermal energy storage system. Called PlusICE, the system works on the principle that energy is stored or released from a material as it freezes or melts. The point at which freezing takes place, and therefore the energy released, depends on the constituents of the material used within the system’s stainless-steel ball-shaped casing. The PlusICE system can operate between –114 and +164 °C. The standard balls are 100 mm in diameter and can be placed in horizontal or vertical tanks to provide sufficient thermal energy storage for building applications.
Environmental Process Systems
How to select the greenest facade
The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers has launched a toolkit to help designers select facades, based on a range of environmental criteria including solar gain, heat losses, daylighting and acoustics. A software tool enabling designers to identify a suitable facade from a library of 37 systems accompanies the publication.
Fenestration and cladding specialist Schüco International has developed a vacuum-insulated cladding panel. Called VacuTherm, it is made in the same way as insulated glass units, with a foil bag in the centre full of a silicate material from which the air has been extracted. According to the company, the product offers the same level of thermal performance as conventional mineral-wool insulation panels that are five times as thick. The company says a 32 mm thick panel has a U-value of 0.18 W/m2K. The panels are available in 20-36 mm thicknesses and have a maximum overall size of 2 × 3.5 m. They fit into any of the company’s facade systems and are available in a wide choice of external finishes. Two special versions are also available, the VacuTherm SonicSafe, which has enhanced acoustic performance, and the FireSafe W90, which Schüco says has a fire resistance of up to 90 minutes. The company has also launched a window with similarly high levels of thermal insulation. The Royal C, a compact aluminium window system that has a U-value of 2.8 W/m2K, is billed as offering a level of thermal performance never achieved before in a 60 mm profile.
Clamp for condensing boilers
Hepworth Plumbing Products has developed a solution to simplify the drainage of condensate from condensing boilers. Ordinarily, special pipe runs have to be installed, but Hepworth has developed a clamp that connects to existing waste, rainwater or soil pipes. A hole is drilled into the pipe, then the fitting, which has a spigot ready for connection to the boiler overflow pipe, is attached. The company has also developed a soakaway to drain the condensate. This is 110 mm in diameter and should be installed in the ground surrounded by limestone chippings.
Hepworth Plumbing Products
Movers and makers