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.

Schott Solar
www.building.co.uk/enquiries 302

Central heating on half the power

Heating 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.

www.building.co.uk/enquiries 303

Slimline insulation

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
www.building.co.uk/enquiries 304

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.

Elkay Electrical
www.building.co.uk/enquiries 305

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.

Lutron Electronics
www.building.co.uk/enquiries 306

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.

www.building.co.uk/enquiries 307

Automatic awnings

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.

www.building.co.uk/enquiries 308

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
www.building.co.uk/enquiries 310

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.

www.building.co.uk/enquiries 311

Vacuum cladding

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.

Schüco International
www.building.co.uk/enquiries 301

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
www.building.co.uk/enquiries 309

Movers and makers

  • Housebuilder Lovell will be using Powergen’s micro combined heat and power system incorporating a thermal store for a development of 550 homes at The Way in east Manchester. The CHP unit will take the place of a domestic boiler by providing hot water and central heating.

  • RWE Schott, Europe’s largest photovoltaic manufacturer, is setting up two additional 40 mW solar cell factories, one in the Czech Republic and one at its headquarters in Alzenhau, Germany.

  • A hydrogen fuel cell is being used for the first time in the UK to deliver electrical power and hot water in the home. The fuel cell, supplied by Alternative Fuel Systems, has been switched on at a new home for the Black Country Housing & Community Services Group. The unit has the potential to produce 4.4 kW of electricity and 3 kW
    of heat.

  • The Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers has obtained European funding to undertake a three-year project to develop a system that can recover up to 40% of the heat from the waste water in both commercial and domestic installations.

  • The Draught Proofing Advisory Association has put together a register of draught-proofing installers for commercial and industrial premises. The installers listed are members of the association that have agreed to only use appropriately skilled staff to carry out the work.

  • Sandolitt, the UK arm of Norwegian insulation firm Brodr, has commissioned a new production line at its Gateshead plant for expanded polystyrene insulation and void-fill products.

  • Low-energy buildings