Latest innovations and products in the sustainability sections of the construction industry.

With government legislating for net-zero by 2050, what does this mean for UK energy markets and business models?

Getting to net-zero will require economy-wide changes that extend well beyond the energy system, leading to rapid and unprecedented change in all aspects of society.

Research published today by the UK Energy Research Centre shines a light on the level of disruption that could be required by some sectors to meet net-zero targets.

With many businesses making strong commitments to a net-zero carbon future, the report highlights the stark future facing specific sectors. Some will need to make fundamental change to their business models and operating practices, whilst others could be required to phase out core assets. Government may need to play a role in purposefully disrupting specific sectors to ensure the move away from high carbon business models, facilitating the transition a zero-carbon economy.

Sector specific impacts

The in-depth analysis presented in ‘Disrupting the UK energy systems: causes, impacts and policy implications’ focuses on four key areas of the economy, highlighting how they may need to change to remain competitive and meet future carbon targets.

Heat: All approaches for heat decarbonisation are potentially disruptive, with policymakers favouring those that are less disruptive to consumers. Since it is unlikely that rapid deployment of low carbon heating will be driven by consumers or the energy industry, significant policy and governance interventions will be needed to drive the sustainable heat transformation.

Transport: Following the ‘Road to Zero’ pathway for road transport is unlikely to be disruptive, but it is not enough to meet our climate change targets. The stricter targets for phasing out conventional vehicles that will be required will lead to some disruption. Vehicle manufacturers, the maintenance and repair sector and the Treasury may all feel the strain.

Electricity: Strategies of the Big 6 energy companies have changed considerably in recent years, with varying degrees of disruption to their traditional business model. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to continue to adapt to rapid change – or be overtaken by new entrants.

Construction: To deliver low-carbon building performance will require disruptive changes to the way the construction sector operates. With new-build accounting for less than 1% of the total stock, major reductions in energy demand will need to come through retrofit of existing buildings.

The report identifies how policy makers plan for disruptions to existing systems. With the right tools and with a flexible and adaptive approach to policy implementation, decision makers can better respond to unexpected consequences and ensure delivery of key policy objectives.

Prof Jim Watson, UKERC Director and Professor of Energy Policy, UCL said “The move to legislate for net-zero is welcome progress, but we need economy-wide action to make this a reality.
This includes policies that deliberately disrupt established markets and business models in some sectors – and address any negative impacts.”

Prof Jillian Anable, UKERC Co-Director and Professor of Transport and Energy, University of Leeds added “The UK transport sector is nearly 100% fuelled by fossil fuels, with only tiny niches of electrified and bio-fuelled vehicles.

Whilst politically challenging, the sector can only hope to reach ‘net-zero’ through whole-scale change that involves reducing hyper-mobility and fuel switching. This will lead to disruption to actors, global networks, governance and lifestyles.”

Building industry charity, the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) have unveiled an ambitious framework for the UK construction and property industry to help us transition new and existing buildings to become net zero carbon by 2050, in line with the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The report follows six months of intense industry engagement, involving over 180 experts and stakeholders from across the built environment value chain, and is supported by 13 trade associations and industry bodies including BPF, RICS and RIBA. It provides an overarching framework of consistent principles and metrics that can be integrated into tools, policies and practices, and aims to build consensus in the industry on the approach to decarbonising buildings.

The new framework offers guidance for developers, owners and occupiers targeting net zero carbon buildings, setting out key principles to follow and outlining how such a claim should be measured and evidenced. Two approaches to net zero carbon are proposed by the framework which can be accurately measured:

  1. Net zero carbon – construction: the embodied emissions associated with products and construction should be measured, reduced and offset to achieve net zero carbon.
  2. Net zero carbon – operational energy: The energy used by the building in operation should be reduced and where possible any demand met through renewable energy. Any remaining emissions from operational energy use should be offset to achieve net zero carbon.

With the report presented as a starting point, the next ten years will see the scope and ambition of the framework increased to encourage greater action. In the short-term, additional requirements will be introduced to challenge the industry, including minimum energy efficiency targets and limits on the use of offsets. In the longer term, the two approaches for construction and operational energy will be integrated into a broader approach for net zero whole life carbon, covering all of the emissions associated with the construction, operation, maintenance and demolition of a building.

The work has been made possible thanks to the generous support of lead partner Redevco Foundation, and partners BAM, Berkeley Group, Grosvenor, JLL and Hoare Lea.

Richard Twinn, Senior Policy Advisor at UKGBC said “The urgency of tackling climate change means that businesses must work together to drive down emissions as fast as possible. But this requires a shared vision for what needs to be achieved and the action that needs to be taken. This framework is intended as a catalyst for the construction and property industry to build consensus on the transition to net zero carbon buildings and start to work towards consistent and ambitious outcomes. It is the first step on a journey towards ensuring all of our buildings are fit for the future.”

James Wimpenny, Chief Executive at BAM Construct UK added “Contractors, clients, supply chains need to work together – and quickly – to radically change the way we procure, design and deliver buildings. Smart use of renewable technologies and efficient use of low carbon materials are a priority. Reducing carbon makes financial sense over the lifecycle of buildings and that means we should not focus solely on capital costs when procuring a building.”

Rob Perrins, Chief Executive at Berkeley Group concluded “This framework is an important step towards defining net zero carbon buildings and helping the industry understand how they can be delivered. We want to help lead this work, which is so important to decarbonising the built environment and protecting our planet for future generations. Sustainability runs through everything we do at Berkeley Group. We have already become a carbon positive business and have committed to creating new homes that can operate at net zero carbon by 2030.”

Clean, green offshore wind is set to power more than 30% of British electricity by 2030, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry has announced with the launch of the new joint government-industry Offshore Wind Sector Deal.

This deal will mean for the first time in UK history there will be more electricity from renewables than fossil fuels, with 70% of British electricity predicted to be from low carbon sources by 2030 and over £40 billion of infrastructure investment in the UK.

This is the tenth Sector Deal from the modern Industrial Strategy signed by Business Secretary Greg Clark. It is backed by UK renewables companies and marks a revolution in the offshore wind industry, which 20 years ago was only in its infancy. It could see the number of jobs triple to 27,000 by 2030.

The deal will also:

  • increase the sector target for the amount of UK content in homegrown offshore wind projects to 60%, making sure that the £557 million pledged by the government in July 2018 for further clean power auctions over the next ten years will directly benefit local communities from Wick to the Isle of Wight
  • spearhead a new £250 million Offshore Wind Growth Partnership to make sure UK companies in areas like the North East, East Anglia, Humber and the Solent and continue to be competitive and are leaders internationally in the next generation of offshore wind innovations in areas such as robotics, advanced manufacturing, new materials, floating wind and larger turbines
  • boost global exports to areas like Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States fivefold to £2.6 billion per year by 2030 through partnership between the Department of Trade and industry to support smaller supply chain companies to export for the first time
  • reduce the cost of projects in the 2020s and overall system costs, so projects commissioning in 2030 will cost consumers less as we move towards a subsidy free world
  • see Crown Estate & Crown Estate Scotland release new seabed land from 2019 for new offshore wind developments
  • UK government alongside the deal will provide over £4 million pounds for British business to share expertise globally and open new markets for UK industry through a technical assistance programme to help countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan and the Philippines skip dirty coal power and develop their own offshore wind projects

Claire Perry, Energy & Clean Growth Minister said “This new Sector Deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector.

“By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain and a fivefold increase in exports. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action.”

The Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council and Ørsted UK Country Manager for Offshore, Benj Sykes, said “Now that we’ve sealed this transformative deal with our partners in government, as a key part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, offshore wind is set to take its place at the heart of our low-carbon, affordable and reliable electricity system of the future.

“This relentlessly innovative sector is revitalising parts of the country which have never seen opportunities like this for years, especially coastal communities from Wick in the northern Scotland to the Isle of Wight, and from Barrow-in-Furness to the Humber. Companies are burgeoning in clusters, creating new centres of excellence in this clean growth boom. The Sector Deal will ensure that even more of these companies win work not only on here, but around the world in a global offshore wind market set to be worth £30 billion a year by 2030.”

Keith Anderson, ScottishPower Chief Executive, concluded “ScottishPower is proof that offshore wind works, we’ve worked tirelessly to bring down costs and, having transitioned to 100% renewable energy, will be building more windfarms to help the UK shift to a clearer electric economy. Two of our offshore windfarms in the East Anglia will replace all of the old thermal generation we’ve sold and we are ready to invest more by actively pursuing future offshore projects both north and south of the border.

“We have a fantastic supply chain already in place in the UK, from businesses in and around East Anglia to across England, across Scotland as well as Northern Ireland. The Sector Deal will attract even more businesses in the UK to join the offshore wind supply chain and we are excited to see the transformative impact this will have on our projects.”

In addition, the deal will:

  • challenge the sector to more than double the number of women entering the industry to at least 33% by 2030, with the ambition of reaching 40% – up from 16% today
  • create an Offshore Energy Passport, recognised outside of the UK, will be developed for offshore wind workers to transfer their skills and expertise to other offshore renewable and oil and gas industries – allowing employees to work seamlessly across different offshore sectors
  • see further work with further education institutions to develop a sector-wide curriculum to deliver a skilled and diverse workforce across the country and facilitate skills transfer within the industry
  • prompt new targets for increasing the number of apprentices in the sector later this year

The cost of new offshore wind contracts has already outstripped projections and fallen by over 50% over the last two years, and today’s further investment will boost this trajectory, with offshore wind projects expected to be cheaper to build than fossil fuel plants by 2020. The Deal will see UK continuing as the largest European market for offshore wind, with 30GW of clean wind power being built by 2030 – the UK making up a fifth of global wind capacity.

The UK is already home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Walney Extension off the Cumbrian Coast, and construction is well underway on projects nearly double the size. Around 7,200 jobs have been created in this growing industry over the last 20 years, with a welcome surge in opportunities in everything from sea bedrock testing to expert blade production.

The Deal will look to seize on the opportunities presented by the UK’s 7,000 miles of coastline, as the industry continues to be a coastal catalyst for many of the UK’s former fishing villages and ports. Increased exports and strengthened supply chain networks will secure economic security for towns and cities across the UK.


Britain’s best innovators and researchers are being invited to pitch their ideas to help tackle the effects of climate change on towns, cities and the countryside as part of modern Industrial Strategy.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark recently announced 4 new research programmes to boost the UK’s resilience to climate change, develop digital environments, promote clean air and investigate how to use our land to boost health outcomes.

The £60 million funding pot was announced during the first ever Green GB Week – a government-led week of campaigning to encourage businesses, communities, funders and academics to renew their efforts to confront the global challenge of climate change.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said “Companies are capitalising on the UK’s world leading position in the greener economy as we transition to a greener, cleaner economy and is one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time.

“The UK is a world leader in tackling climate change, cutting our emissions more than 40% since 1990 while growing our economy. When you combine Britain’s leadership, innovation and determination it is an unbeatable combination – exactly what our Industrial Strategy and Green GB Week are supporting and encouraging.”

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said “The recent IPCC report is a timely reminder of the challenges we face in tackling climate change. Storm Callum has highlighted the impact that extreme weather events can have on our communities.

“It is vital that the evidence generated by research is used effectively to navigate and mitigate the effects of climate change, and new technologies are developed to support a move to a low carbon economy.

“The Strategic Priorities Fund is important in supporting UKRI’s mission, allowing us to bring collective expertise from a wide range of disciplines and sectors to bear on addressing important matters affecting all of society.”

The programmes, administered by UKRI, will bring together a broad range of research disciplines, ranging from mathematics and biology to climate science and technology development to:

  • produce better data on climate risks to the UK
  • build a digital picture of our natural environment for greater monitoring and analysis of the impact of climate change
  • cut air pollution and protect vulnerable groups from its effects
  • use our land better, for the benefit of the environment and communities
  • develop ways for the UK to adapt to climate change

Chief Scientist of the Met Office, Professor Stephen Belcher, said “These programmes will allow the Met Office and our partners to make real progress in two areas of significant environmental impact: air pollution and climate change.

“Working together with other world-leading scientists from the UK’s academic community, we will be able to deliver tools and services which will benefit the lives and livelihoods of people across the UK.”

Competitions for the programmes will open in the coming weeks. Researchers and innovators can visit the UKRI website for updates.

The funding comes as part of the Strategic Priorities Fund, delivered by UKRI to drive an increase in high quality multi- and interdisciplinary research and innovation. It will ensure that UKRI’s investment links up effectively with government research priorities and opportunities. Further programmes will be announced in the coming months.

Glebe Primary School in Rayleigh, Essex has upgraded the heating systems serving its Infant and Junior School buildings with the installation of two sets of two Quinta Pro 115 condensing boilers on a bespoke-designed Remeha rig system.

Now part of the Rayleigh Schools Trust, Glebe Primary School formerly came under the local authority of Essex County Council. Following a routine condition survey, Essex County Council recommended replacing the existing sectional cast-iron boilers, which had reached the end of their lifecycle, with advanced, high efficiency condensing boilers.

Reliability was a key requirement for the school together with ease and speed of installation as the refurbishment project was scheduled to be completed within a tight, fixed timeframe.

Spyros Sergiou of Triglyph Engineering Service was the M&E consultant on the product, working alongside heating contractor Balm and Davies and principal contractor Mitie.

As a preferred supplier of Essex County Council, Remeha boilers now serve many schools in the county due to their reputation for quality and high performance. Spyros therefore recommended installing four energy-saving Remeha Quinta Pro 115 boilers on two bespoke-designed rig systems to meet the requirements.

“We are familiar with Remeha boilers and have also used Remeha’s bespoke rig service on several projects,” said Spyros. “Installing multiple condensing boilers rather than one larger output unit helped maximise system efficiency and reliability for the school as well as ensuring easier future maintenance. Installing them on Remeha’s bespoke rig system meant that the unique requirements of the project and the site could be factored in from the outset.”

The bespoke design enabled all the space and access restrictions relating to the plant room at Glebe Primary School to be addressed at the design stage. This resulted in a more compact design, enabling faster installation and reduced on-site labour and costs.

“The boilers needed to pass through a double set of doors to enter the plant room,” continued Spyros. “This was accounted for in the design so that when the boilers were delivered into the plant room in the pre-assembled wheeled unit, they fitted in neatly and just needed to be plugged in. It couldn’t have been more straightforward.”

For the school, a further advantage of the detailed forward planning process was that the cost, size and specification were all fixed and in place before the bespoke rig was built. This helped keep the project on time and on budget.

When installing condensing boilers onto old systems, it is important to consider system integration as the quality of the water can affect boiler operation and longevity. This aspect can also be accommodated in the bespoke rig unit, as Spyros explained:

“The heating system at the school is around 20 years old. To achieve hydraulic separation and so ensure good condition water, we integrated a plate heat exchanger and air and dirt separators into the rig design.”

Using a prefabricated heating solution like the bespoke rig system reduces the intensity of skills required on-site. For schools this means added flexibility as the safer conditions, combined with the rapid changeover, enable boiler replacements to be carried out outside the holiday period.

As part of the refurbishment at Glebe Primary School, a new Building Management System has been fitted to enable accurate control and operation of the boilers. The design also uses a variable temperature circuit to maintain low flow and return temperatures, further maximising boiler and system efficiency.

The off-site fabricated bespoke heating solution has achieved an excellent outcome for all.

The school is benefiting from reliable, high-performance heating which is generating a more comfortable learning environment for the school’s children and staff. The more efficient heating will also lower operating costs due to reduced energy use and easier future maintenance, helping stretch the school budget further. At the same time, the cleaner operation and ultra-low NOx emissions will minimise its environmental impact.

For the contractors, Balm and Davies, the prefabricated rig system has enabled them to schedule the project and team more accurately to meet the skills base and so increase site productivity.

And the consultant? Last word to Spyros: “Ultimately, for us as designers, the bespoke nature of the rig and the ability to ‘frontload’ the design means that we can be assured that the specification is met. And at the end of the day, that makes everyone a winner.”

To find out more about Remeha’s bespoke rig service, contact your Expert Area Sales Manager or visit the manufacturer here.


Crown Paints is set to launch paint containers made from 100 per cent recycled plastic – making it the first paint manufacturer in the UK to do so.

The plastic 2.5 litre and 5 litre containers, which will be available across Crown Paints’ retail range as early as mid-August, have been manufactured by packaging solutions expert Emballator, using 100 per cent post-consumer waste (PCW) plastic for each container.

The innovative manufacturing process involves separating polypropylene plastics such as shampoo bottles, yoghurt pots, plastic water bottles and even elements from household appliances from unusable plastic waste – saving thousands of tonnes of PCW plastic from otherwise ending up in landfill.

Once sorted, the PCW plastic is turned into individual pellets which are then dyed and moulded to create Crown’s 2.5 litre and 5 litre paint containers, with the dark grey shade making them instantly recognisable to consumers.

The paint containers, which will soon be rolled out across the entire Crown Paints range including its larger 10 litre tubs and Crown Trade products, are also fully recyclable once empty and clean. With such sustainability credentials, the new paint cans are the ideal choice for today’s environmentally conscious consumers.

Julie Entwistle, packaging buyer at Crown Paints said “We’ve invested a great deal in creating this innovative new packaging and have worked closely with the Emballator team to create a product which is made entirely from recycled plastic. This marks a significant improvement to the plastic paint containers manufactured from 25 per cent recycled plastic which are currently available in the UK.”

Liz Hickson, marketing director at Crown Paints added “We recognise that plastic waste is of huge concern to all our customers whether in the trade or retail market so we’re proud to be able to play our part in reducing the volume of reusable post-consumer waste plastic ending up in landfill unnecessarily. Once the new packaging rolls out to our full range, it has the potential to save many thousands of tonnes of plastic each year from otherwise going to waste and we’re pleased to be able to offer our customers a more sustainable choice at the same time.”

Gerard Dibb, managing director at Emballator commented “We are proud to support Crown Paints in bringing this innovative 100 per cent recycled container to market at a time when the public’s concerns over plastic waste levels have never been higher.

“Plastic paint can producers have been striving to break the 25 per cent recycled level for many years and to reach the 100 per cent level is a great achievement. The technical requirements of these containers were very challenging but we succeeded by working in co-operation with leading plastic recycler ImerPlast, whose innovative and unique compatibilisation of the post-consumer waste made this project feasible.”

The paint containers will start to roll off Crown Paints’ production lines next month and will soon be available in retail outlets and stockists across the UK. Crown is continuing to work with Emballator to create new packaging solutions for the entire Crown family of products including Crown Trade, Sadolin and Sandtex.

For more information and to find your nearest stockist, please email, call 0330 024 0297 or visit You can also follow @CrownTradePaint on Twitter, CrownTradePaint on Facebook or Crown Paints on LinkedIn.

ELCO Heating Solutions has introduced a new range of network interface units to satisfy the growing demand for district/communal heating schemes. The redesigned Nexus range consists of 10 models, offering specifiers an extensive choice of products to suit the specific needs of a project.

To complement the new Nexus range, ELCO has also introduced a comprehensive 56-page brochure, which offers design guidance, detailed schematics and drawings, plus full performance data for each model. There is also a handy selector chart, which allows readers to quickly identify the most suitable Nexus interface unit, based on a few simple questions.

The new range can be viewed at, accompanied by a free download of the Nexus brochure.

For applications that require heating and instantaneous hot water (DHW), there are three Nexus units available, including the Nexus Bitherm, Nexus Bitherm S and Nexus Dual Stage. Heating outputs for these models range from 2.5kW to 20kW and DHW production from 30kW to 150kW.

Where heating and stored hot water are required, there are a further three options, with the Nexus S-FS, Nexus Dual Circuit ID and Nexus Dual Circuit D, offering heating outputs up to 15kW and a range of storage options.

In high-end apartments requiring heating, instantaneous hot water and cooling, specifiers can choose from the Nexus Bitherm Combined or Nexus Dual Stage Combined. These provide heating outputs from 10kW to 20kW, DHW from 60kW to 150kW and cooling outputs from 2.5kW to 20kW. For applications that require heating, cooling and stored hot water, there is the Nexus Dual Circuit D Combined, which delivers up to 25l/min of DHW, heating outputs up to 20kW and cooling outputs up to 20kW.

Finally, a dedicated cooling unit is available in the form of the Nexus Cooltherm, which offers cooling outputs from 2.5kW to 20kW.

Commenting on the new range, Ian Bradley, Managing Director at ELCO Heating Solutions, said “We have been heavily involved in network heating projects for the last decade, acquiring a wealth of experience in the sector. So, with this knowledge and expertise, we have re-designed the Nexus range to specifically suit the needs of modern network heating systems, while also making the specification process as simple as possible.”

“ELCO is also one of the few companies in the UK able to offer a complete package for district heating schemes, so everything from boilers, CHP and a range of interface units, through to a dedicated service and maintenance offering is comprehensively covered.”

For more information on the new Nexus range and the full commercial heating and hot water portfolio from ELCO Heating Solutions, please visit

Rinnai, the UK’s leading manufacturer of continuous flow hot water heating units and systems, has recently completed an installation at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, replacing the old direct fired stored hot water system.

Two HDC 1500i units were linked to solar panels as the main hot water heating source by contractor A P Mitchell.

Peckforton Castle, built in 1842 and completed in 1851, is a Victorian country house built in the style of a medieval castle and is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a Grade I listed building. It stands in woodland near the village of Peckforton on the Cheshire plain. The house has changed ownership many times before it was purchased by the Naylor family in 2006, whereupon the historic building was repurposed as the popular luxury hotel and spa it is today.

The house has featured many times in TV and film – Robin Hood in the mid-1980s – and Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who. Now it is a 48-bed room hotel and prestigious venue for corporate events and weddings.

Adam Mitchell for A P Mitchell said “The brief from the client was to create a more efficient system, and at the same time to enact a reduction in stored water volume to give substantial saving in gas fuel consumption. But the new system had to still meet peak demand in the hotel, spa and event facilities.”

“Our company provides a professional and comprehensive M&E building service, design, supply and installation; offering quality construction workmanship and value for money services. We pride ourselves on our quality of building services, workmanship excellence and client service.”

Rinnai’s HDC1500i, is an award-winning range of continuous flow water heating units that will reliably meet this brief. The range was developed to guarantee the maximum amount of affordable, ecologically friendly; safe-temperature controlled hot water, on demand at any time, by even the busiest commercial user. The Rinnai 1500i is engineered to the highest standard and is technologically advanced with a host of features giving added value.

Both Rinnai HDC1500i internal and external units turn in an impressive energy performance of 105% net efficiency. They can also be cascaded into Infinity Plus modules comprising of a minimum of two HDC1500 units – any number of modules can be manifolded; therefore, the capacity for never ending ‘cascading’ hot water is infinite. Installation is straightforward and simple – each module of Infinity Plus cascades for the Rinnai HDC 1500i comes with its own precision engineered rack, so there is no need to fabricate one or partake in adding pipework right up to the appliances. Simply connect the services pipework and the rack system will eliminate these time-consuming plant tasks, streamlining the installation and helping keep remedial costs to a minimum.

A major benefit onsite has been the savings on fuel over other forms of water heating solutions, this has been achieved by the added advantage that Rinnai systems will only raise the temperature of the water if required and that these smart condensing water heaters will only increase the temperature by the precise amount needed. This ensures that any solar gains are maximised and ‘boosted’ by a secondary heat source thus guaranteeing the optimization of both technologies.

Rinnai hot water heating products and systems are intelligent, fully modulating units, giving an output range from 56kW down to 2.27kW, and only use as much gas as is needed to bring the required volume of water to temperature. For example, if the solar panel array can only achieve a temperature of 40°C within the stored water instead of the required 60°C, and there is a demand on the system of 15 litres a minute, the fully modulating intelligent Rinnai unit will increase the temperature by the required 20°C (±1°C) whilst only using the required 21kW. If the demand drops to say 5l/min the heater will modulate down accordingly to an output 7kW.

As can be seen a Rinnai unit used as a gas booster for solar systems will not only maximize solar gain, it will only use the correct amount of energy for the demand at the time and the rest of the time the unit remains inactive. It is this, the booster, that ensures never-ending hot water – no matter the demand, the conditions. Fossil fuel is only used when the renewable thermal energy store is below its set-point, thus reducing the dependency on fossil fuel and reducing CO2 emissions.

The Rinnai system produces usable hot water on demand, at the turn of a tap or the push of a shower button. The relatively compact footprint of the units also means they can be housed in tight spaces and still be easily accessible for maintenance and servicing.

According to Chris Goggin “Rinnai 1500i units represent the best value-for-money commercial hot water solution on the market today, delivered direct to site in one complete, easy to manage package. Ensuring that our customers and end users experience is effortless”

“Rinnai condensing continuous flow water heaters are low NoX, achieving less than 50mg/ kwh with gross efficiencies of 96-97%. The appliances can delivery in excess of 960 litres per hour at 50° degree rise and all our units are A rated within ErP.”

For more information on the RINNAI product range visit


Ceiling systems from Armstrong, including a next-generation ultra-green tile, are helping to herald a new beginning for Scouts in one English county as part of Armstrong’s ‘New Beginnings’ initiative to support community projects by offering a “New Beginning” for their ceiling space.

Armstrong’s new Dune eVo tile, which is 100% recyclable and provides class-leading visuals and improved acoustic performance through a new surface which is both brighter and smoother, has been used alongside moisture-resistant Hydroboard in a new bunkhouse for Derbyshire Scouts.

The Cradle to Cradle™ accredited system comprising 190m2 of Dune eVo Tegular tiles on a Prelude 24mm grid with TLS cross tees features in the entrance, main hall and corridors of their 368m2 new bunkhouse, while the 56m2 of Hydroboard Tegular tiles feature with non-corrosive grid in the kitchen, shower rooms and toilets.

The various Armstrong Ceiling Solutions were specified by regular Armstrong users Maber architects and supplied free of charge by Armstrong as part of the company’s “New Beginnings” initiative.

This gives community projects like Drum Hill Scout bunkhouse the chance to give their ceiling space a “New Beginning” with Dune eVo – the next generation in ceiling tiles. At Drum Hill Scout Campsite, they were installed over weekends by specialist sub-contractor Peveril Interiors, a member of Armstrong’s approved Omega network of installers.

Lee Smith (pictured bottom left), associate director at Maber as well as a Scout Leader, said: “As a long-time specifier over the past 12 years working in architecture I trust and know the Armstrong product range will deliver what we want, giving us quality and robustness within our budget range.

“The Armstrong range gives us the acoustic and light reflectance values we need in the main hall to makes this a truly multi-functional space as a seminar space, play space, dining hall and whatever else it needs to meet the constantly fluid demands of the campsite. They fit seamlessly within the project to give us a modern and functional building.”

And specifically of Dune eVo, he said: “I’ve been aware of it for a few months now. I think it’s another advancement for the ceiling tile in terms of the specification and the acoustic delivery that we will get for spaces such as the main hall that we use for dining and activities all the way through to training seminars.”

Maber’s brief was in essence to replace the previous building, Birch Hall, which stood on the site. They took the best features of other buildings on the site and of other camp sites internationally to create a modern, state-of-the-art camping bunkhouse.

He added: “Firstly, we and members of the Scout campsite team used our connections to work with other professionals and tradespeople to find those who could help us. Through a collaborative design process we then designed a building which met the brief but was also future proofed and easily maintainable. This was a critical part of the brief as the whole campsite is run by volunteers.
Future proofing has been key as the building will develop with technology and the needs of the users. We ensured the building fabric was super insulated to give the building longevity. This then allows us to add extra green features like the Armstrong Dune eVo ceiling tiles, grey water systems and PVs to the roof.

“The site has its own challenges with restricted access but through modular construction we were able to meet all of these. From a concrete slab to a fully clad building in two working weeks really showed the benefit of off-site modular construction. “

The new single-storey bunkhouse at the 47-acre Drum Hill Scout camp site in Little Eaton replaces a former Rolls Royce canteen that had reached the end of its 50-year life span. It comprises a training/dining hall, kitchen and bunk rooms with associated services for up to 44 residents and will also be available for use by the local Derbyshire community.

The result of five years of fundraising £200,000 as well as donations of products from companies such as Armstrong Ceiling Solutions, pro bono professional services such as the architectural design provided by Maber, and labour carried out by hosts of volunteers including Peveril Interiors, the new building has been achieved. Constructed of SIP timber frame on a ground-bearing slab with external brick plinth it features larch timber cladding and a profiled aluminium roof deck.

Kevin Leahy of Peveril Interiors said: “We prefer to use Armstrong ceiling products. They have never let us down and adding the new Dune eVo tile to the range has gone down really well with both the clients who value the aesthetics and performance and our installation teams who value the new tougher edge which gives a much better installation experience.

“We have made a good choice, both aesthetically for now and environmentally for the future. Young people will use this building for generations to come and deserve to be left with a product that is completely recyclable. That should really be the legacy and example that we leave for them.”

He added: “We were introduced to the team and the Scouts Association by a client of ours at Rolls Royce. Once we had visited the site at Drum Hill and understood the purpose of this building and what it would mean to the young people using it we felt we wanted to help the Scouts get the building completed to a very high standard and at minimum cost.

“It has been a rewarding project for us. The Scouts Association is giving young people from all backgrounds shared experiences that will really equip them with skills that will last a lifetime. To play a small part in that feels pretty good.”

Scout Leader and project manager Tom Stoddart said: “Armstrong Ceilings have been superb. From the first contact with Anthony Fawcett [Armstrong’s assistant sales manager, UK – commercial] their enthusiasm and support has been beyond our dreams really. They have just stepped forward and helped in ways that we hadn’t even imagined.

“Without Armstrong’s involvement there certainly would have been a time delay while we fundraised for the materials and then it would have been an even longer time delay being volunteers who would have installed it. No disrespect to our volunteers but I’m sure we wouldn’t have got the professional finish that we have.

“I’d like to think that over its [the Dune eVo tile] life it will look down on 40 to 50,000 young people who are experiencing all sorts of things. It will see those young people making friends, having fun and learning skills for life.”

Volunteer camp site manager and project manager Lesley Upton said: “I think it’s amazing what can be done by volunteers giving their time and companies supporting us to provide an outstanding building.

“It’s great that Armstrong have a community side to their company that would actually support organisations like the Scouts in providing facilities for young people when we couldn’t do it without company support.

“The project would have been delayed because we would have to financially raise the money to pay for our ceilings and then use volunteer time to actually install them. Whereas since Armstrong have come along and done it all it has speeded up the project and started to change it from a construction site to a usable space. “

She said Dune eVo’s recyclability had played a “really important” role. “We need to stop using new resources all the time and use the stuff that we have got on this planet.”

Scout Felix Hughes (pictured top with Explorer Scout Libby Halford) said: “I think it’s a really nice place. It looks a lot better than the old one and it’s a lot more friendly and inviting. It will make a big difference because there is now a greater opportunity to do stuff than there used to be.

Of his experience helping Peveril interiors install the Dune eVo tiles, he said: “I have enjoyed the involvement of designing, putting my ideas forth and helping out, like actually putting the ceiling tiles in. I have respect for people who do this now because it is a bit difficult.”

And of the new Dune eVo tile above, he said: “It might want to tell me that it’s looking forward to seeing the generations of Scouts go through and using this space a lot more.”

Lee Smith concluded: “The project is difficult to value due to the generosity of numerous local companies and volunteers giving their free time. If we had approached a main contractor to deliver it would probably be in the region of £600,000 to £700,000 to deliver the scheme.”

As part of Armstrong’s “New Beginnings” initiative, the company is running a social media competition in May and June for one community-based project to win a new beginning for their ceiling space.

Anthony Fawcett said: “This first use of our next-generation Dune eVo tile prompted us to offer other community projects the chance to win a new ceiling and we are confident that once they see what can be achieved with it we will be inundated with entries into our New Beginnings competition.”

Community groups interested in applying to win 250m2 of Dune eVo tiles and grid and up to three days of free installation should click here to apply. For more information go to #eVoNewBeginnings.

Derbyshire Scouts’ new bunkhouse will play host to a Scout and Guide activity camp for 1,500 campers over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend when it will be officially opened.

More information is accessible via

A well-insulated house or office will protect your health, comfort and lifestyle but how many of us know and understand how to achieve this?

Ecomerchant and Steico UK have joined forces to launch a protection campaign. It aims to champion the benefits of using natural insulation products.

How we select insulation needs to be about having a real choice and for specifiers to be equipped with the right knowledge to compare materials on a like-for-like basis.

To design a well-insulated building, you need to make informed decisions throughout all phases of a construction project to ensure your building performs as you envisage.


However, selecting the right insulation is about more than just reaching building regulation compliance or ‘keeping in the heat’. It’s about ensuring a building protects its occupants’ entire well-being and comfort in the following ways.

How well does insulation keep the heat out?

In the UK, thermal insulation to protect from the cold is essential, particularly given ever-increasing energy costs. However, as demand for usable square footage of buildings increases, basement and loft conversions are the routes many now take. However, these parts of a home or office, are the spaces most prone to extremes in temperature. They therefore need more thought – i.e. how do you keep a space warm in winter but, for a loft, how to keep it cool come summer.

Compared with synthetic insulation materials, wood fibre insulation has a much higher density. This higher density means that natural insulation makes for a better heat buffer as the high midday temperature will only reach the internal side and be lost at night when the temperature is already cooler outside.

How a building’s breathability is hurting our health

A breathable structure is one that allows the passage of moisture.

With 90 per cent of all building construction problems associated with water in some way, breathability is essential in measuring a building’s performance and preventing the accumulation of harmful water within the building’s fabric. These are fundamental in reducing health risks from mould, mites that those suffering from respiratory illnesses such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are particularly susceptible to.

For effective breathability, there are four essential components that need to be considered:

  • a moisture pathway
  • a driving force
  • a sorptive fabric
  • vapour control

Natural fibre insulation is most effective as it suppresses potentially harmful water by binding and releasing moisture which helps regulate humidity levels as the moisture moves.

Easy-to-fit insulation

A well-designed building takes into consideration how a material performs throughout the building’s entire life cycle. This includes ease of installation. Steico’s wood fibre insulation is simple and easy to fit (either packed or friction-fitted), eliminating installer error, keeping construction programmes, tight and costs, low.

How sustainability will save you time and money

While all insulation is helping the environment by limiting energy being burnt for heat, natural fibre insulation materials are comparatively more robust. This means that when it comes to disposal, they can be composted – i.e. no specialist waste facilities or landfill. Throughout their lifecycle they will additionally have a much lower, and often, negative carbon footprint.

More than just protecting your home from fire

All insulations will meet fire safety standards, but this is a minimum rating. The key differentiator between natural and synthetic is that natural insulations will prevent the spread of fire and if burnt, will not give off toxic fumes such as cyanide as polyisocyanurates (PIR) might.

Will the house be standing in 100 years?

Condensation is one of the costliest risks to buildings causing huge maintenance repairs and structural damage. Natural materials are better able to absorb and release water whilst remaining dry meaning it is better able to protect from and buffer moisture thereby becoming a key part of healthy living.

Comfort for occupants

When selecting insulation for a building, there are implications for the health of the occupants, the structure of the building, its impact on the environment, its acoustic properties, durability and carbon footprint.

Cancelling out the noise for a peaceful night’s sleep

The higher density of natural insulations – such as wood fibre – makes them better at reducing noise. Sounds external to the building, such as traffic or music, as well as those from within the building, through walls and ceilings are attenuated better by wood fibre than synthetic equivalents. In providing better protection from acoustic pollutants, occupants often report a building as being more restful and relaxing thereby encouraging better mental health.

When a building is well-designed and well-built, occupants should be at their peak comfort. With the average person spending approximately 80% of their lives in enclosed rooms, an occupant’s well-being is imperative . Therefore, the products used to achieve this, should cover all the issues affecting a building’s construction, its impact on both its occupants and nature.

For a free audit of whether natural insulation’s right for your project, visit or call 01793 847 445.


Written by Will Kirkman, managing director at Ecomerchant