Products that make houses and flats easier on the environment, the pocket or just the eye.
Mira has introduced chrome versions of its Sport 9kW and 9.8kW electric showers. According to the manufacturer, chrome is now the second most sought after finish for electric showers after white.
The units include a Clearscale heating element, which is claimed to reduce limescale, a Sensi-Flo control to prevent occupants being scalded by hot water in the event of a significant loss of water pressure, and Opti-Flo flow control technology to help maintain water flow rates in the summer. The shower-head offers four spray patterns.
Vaillant’s two new flat-plate solar thermal collectors are some of the lightest in their class, weighing 38kg with a thickness of 80mm. The Aurotherm Plus VFK 150 and Aurotherm VFK 145 have a frameless front and can be connected horizontally or vertically, depending on the roof space.
The Aurotherm Plus VFK 150 has anti-reflex solar glass with 96% transmission and the Aurotherm VFK 145 has solar safety glass with 91% transmission. Each has a gross collector area of 2.51m2 and a net collector area of 2.35m2.
Mounting brackets with push-fit hydraulic connections allow the plates to be fitted on pitched or low-angle roofs. They can be retrofitted with existing system boilers.
Designed for use in properties with exhaust air heat pumps, the new Domus Fresh Air Supply Set from Polypipe provides draught-free fresh air via a multi-directional inlet grille. It can also be used with extractor fans and cooker hoods, as a replacement air supply for mechanical extract vent (MEV) systems or in place of a conventional airbrick.
With a choice of four colours externally to match brickwork, the sets can be fixed in walls up to 450mm thick. A washable filter cleanses incoming air. The sets come with commissioning plugs to allow for air testing of the building.
Cambridge University has verified the airflow characteristics of the kit via a test programme.
The Centrair range from Greenwood Airvac offers the latest energy efficient whole-house extract systems. The CMEV.4 and CMEV.4e units, which are both SAP Appendix Q eligible, provide continuous ventilation in line with Building Regulations.
The CMEV.4e has a 100% variable motor-speed option for trickle and boost speeds, which can be adjusted after installation. Both units can be centrally mounted in a cupboard or loft void, eliminating nuisance from running noise. Compact in design, (the CMEV.4 units are among the smallest on the market), they are ideal for flats or properties with small windows which don’t allow for adequate trickle ventilation working alongside extract fans.
MHS Radiators’ nine new models include some unusual designs with names to match. The Hug is a corner radiator with an optional towel rail. The Volt is wirelessly controlled and comes with a polished mirror or black glass front. The XL (pictured) is described as a funky block-style radiator.
Perhaps the most interesting is the Makura, which is said to fuse soft furnishing with hard-edged heating. It is sold with either one or three cushions, filled with cherry stones to retain and radiate heat, which can be removed to “snuggle up with”.
Armstrong’s new 6800 HMP range of fixed-speed multipump booster sets for water supply are suitable for high-rise residential buildings. Incorporating programmable logic control, they are available in two-, three-, four- or five-pump configurations with a flexible system which allows for operation of all pumps or allocation of standby pumps. The system also incorporates automatic rotation of the duty pump to distribute wear evenly to achieve a longer life and less maintenance.
The range covers flow rates of up to 80 litres per second up to 16 bar. The units have BMS connectivity, pump run and trip outlets and LCD status indication.
Network heating: An alternative to combi-boilers?
So, you’re building a new block of flats in a central city location to excellent standards in terms of Part L of the Building Regulations – built tight, ventilated right.
You’ve specified a 30kW A-rated condensing combi boiler for the bathroom, ensuite and kitchen. But the boiler, while perfect for hot water delivery, is over-powered for the central heating demands.
With the advances in building construction and installation, the demand could be only 4-5kW under design conditions. And research shows light load running can be as little as 15% of design (less than 1kW). The problem is obvious: the central heating demand is substantially below the turndown capability of the 30kW combi boiler.
A typical combi will ignite at about 50% of its full load, so a boiler starting at 15kW has to turn down to an output of 0.6-5kW. This typically leads to rapid cycling, risk of nuisance overheat and trip/lockout, and excessive wear and tear on components. As well as being damaging to the boiler, it increases fuel consumption and emissions. And then there is the inconvenience to the householder, who just wants a nice warm flat and a hot shower.
One solution could be to use a traditional condensing boiler and hot water cylinder, but that’s not always practical for blocks of flats or multi-occupancy dwellings. The better solution is district or network heating.
A networked heating substation, such as the Nexus from MHS Boilers, draws heat from a central boiler plant or CHP system via a simple LTHW loop. It then delivers all the functions of a combi boiler – providing heating controlled by the occupants via a programmable room thermostat and instantaneous hot water.
The Nexus also features a heat meter, which not only ensures accuracy when calculating bills but can be monitored remotely via an M-bus system. Water meters with remote monitoring can be incorporated. In contrast to installing separate boilers, district heating eliminates the need to supply gas to every home in a block of flats.
Networked heating also does away with the problem of flueing, especially the unsightly pluming effect of high-efficiency condensing boilers, and eradicates the increasing problem associated with condensate waste from individual condensing appliances.
The absence of gas in the units means that gas competency certification is not required to carry out maintenance and inspections. The units are easy to site because they are small and do not have a flue. They can be used with radiators or underfloor heating and some models can be weather compensated.
- The Nexus range offers the Diatech, which is built into the wall, and the Nexus Futura, which is wall-mounted with lockable doors.
Both are available in the LF version, which operates with the lower central system flows in condensing boilers, and the Bitherm version, with a heat exchanger for indirect heating.
The Conter Zone unit is built into the wall and can distribute and meter the supply of any or all of: centrally generated heating, centrally generated hot water, cold or chilled water.
Inside a Nexus Unit
Peter Gammon is technical manager at MHS Boilers (www.mhsboilers.com)
Building Sustainable Design