The Kingspan TEK Building System of structural insulated panels (SIPs) has been used to create a spectacular, cantilevered self-build in Oxfordshire, achieving excellent airtightness and energy efficiency with a fast-track build programme.

Homeowner, Daniel Frazer, identified timber frame as his preferred construction method at the outset of the project due to its speed of build and ability to be constructed in most weather conditions. Following discussions with Greenspace Architects and Kingspan TEK Delivery Partners, Point 1 Building Systems, he finally settled on the Kingspan TEK Building System. “I was attracted to SIPs due to their air-tightness and even faster erection speed,” Daniel commented. “I particularly liked the ability to have a roof fabricated from the panels.”

The Kingspan TEK Building System is formed from rigid insulation panels which are faced with OSB/3. Kingspan TEK SIPs are pre-cut to each project’s specifications by trained delivery partners, ensuring a simple, fast and accurate installation once on site. Their unique jointing system also ensures excellent insulation continuity throughout the envelope whilst limiting air-leakage.

The building’s unique angular design presented some unusual challenges for the project team as architect, Geraint Edwards, explained:

“The first-floor volume cantilevers in two directions to create a balcony to the front of the house, along with an inset entrance doorway. We try to minimise the use of steel with SIPs projects but in this case it was necessary. The benefit of Kingspan TEK panels is that they can be used in combination with other structural elements – whether it is steel, glue-lam or masonry. It was also incredibly helpful to have an experienced Kingspan TEK Delivery Partner to advise on detailing and avoid unnecessary complications.”

Point 1 Building Systems used detailed 3D modelling to interrogate the requirements at the quotation stage and ensure an appropriate structural package was developed. Once the design was agreed they precisely manufactured the panels before delivering them to site to a careful scheduled programme. This supported a rapid build programme and allowed materials to be stored within the perimeter of the site, without encroaching into neighbouring plots.

In addition to the steel structural elements, the final package combines 142 mm Kingspan TEK panels with a 25 mm layer of Kingspan Thermawall TW55 and Thermapitch TP10, which was fitted throughout the envelope internally, helping to meet the demanding fabric performance requirements of the Graven Hill development. Besides achieving wall and roof U-values of 0.15 W/m2K, this also meant particular attention had to be paid to detailing.

“Psi-values were calculated showing the performance gain when the 25 mm layers of Kingspan Thermapitch TP10 and Thermawall TW55 were installed internally. Working within the scope of Graven Hill Plot Passport, our SAP assessor was able to confirm the required performance at an early stage to prove compliance.”

The home is also expected to achieve a measured air-leakage rate of less than 1 m3/m2hr @ 50 Pa. Daniel Frazer personally oversaw work to achieve this, which included applying silicone and airtight tape to all junctions other than those between the Kingspan TEK Building System panels.


For further information, please contact:

Tel: +44 (0) 1544 387 384




Ariston has launched a new White Paper: How modern heating and hot water systems can help solve the challenges of the UK rental market. The paper, which is available to download here, examines the many challenges facing the UK rental market, and reveals how modern heating systems – as well as advances in technology – can help landlords meet them.

The document addresses key aspects such as tackling fuel poverty, improving energy efficiency and making the smart choice with controls. It also outlines the importance of carbon monoxide safety and proper boiler commissioning.

Commenting on the White Paper, Victoria Gutierrez, Marketing Manager at Ariston, said: “With a quarter of all households in Britain estimated to be renting privately by 2021 – and the sector expected to continue to grow – energy efficiency in rental properties is more important than ever.”

She continued: “The topic of energy efficiency is important to Ariston as a brand, so we have produced this White Paper to advise on the most effective means of supply heating and hot water to rental properties. We are uniquely placed to offer advice and guidance to landlords alike on key issues such as gas safety and fuel poverty, so it makes sense to share our knowledge with those in the rental sector.”

To download a copy of the White Paper, visit:

Ariston Thermo UK, which is part of the Ariston Thermo Group, is a manufacturer of domestic heating, hot water and renewable products. With over 20 years of experience in the UK, Ariston Thermo is a worldwide leading company in the heating and water heating industry.

For more details about Ariston, visit: or follow @AristonUK on Twitter.

Commercial properties make up an enormous portion of the built environment. They serve as a platform for most of the country’s major industries and provide the general public with areas in which to work, shop, socialise and relax. Needless to say, commercial buildings play a crucial role in 21st century Britain. However, despite investment in this booming sector being ever on the rise, commercial buildings are amongst some of the poorest performing buildings in terms of energy efficiency. Joe Bradbury, Editor of Building Specifier and MMC Magazine investigates the importance of efficiency, exploring what changes can be implemented in 2018 going forward in order to help achieve this goal.

According to the Committee on Climate Change, the commercial sector is accountable for approximately 26% of all greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in the UK. The world’s population is currently consuming the equivalent of 1.6 planets resources a year. The Global Footprint Network estimates that if we continue to consume at current rates we’ll blow the global carbon budget and lock in more than 2C of global warming in approximately 17 years.

As a result of this, the EU is currently reviewing its EU 2030 energy efficiency targets, with buildings in general highlighted as having great potential to reduce global emissions if efforts are made to make them more energy efficient.

How can we become more efficient?

There are so many things that commercial building owners and specifiers can do to become a little more eco-friendly, but in broad terms there is a 3-step process that should be followed in order to do so:

  1. significant investment in skills and capacity to enhance building management and deliver energy efficient refurbishment
  2. installation of low carbon generation capacity
  3. the design, manufacturing and fabrication of energy efficiency products and services

Heating and lighting are two areas in particular where changes need to be made. Let’s look at those two areas in more detail:

Light at the end of the tunnel

A cityscape at night is aesthetically a beautiful thing to behold; anybody who has seen the glowing lights of Vegas in the vast blackness of desert night, or London skyline reflecting on the surface of the Thames, will concur. Unfortunately, it is also an incredibly inefficient and irresponsible use of energy and a waste of precious resources. Overnight lighting is just one of many bad habits held by the commercial sector today. It is also one of the easiest to fix.

In 2013, France made it a legal requirement for shops and offices throughout the country to turn off their lights overnight in a bid to fight light pollution. This is expected to save 250,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum – roughly enough energy to power 750,000 French households for a year, according to the French Environment Ministry. So, if you want to reduce the carbon footprint of your building, put that light out!

Another easy but effective change that can be implemented immediately is to upgrade to LED lighting. It requires very little upfront investment, and delivers immediate returns.

Typically the energy savings made from switching from a conventional source to LED is 50-60%. They also require changing much less frequently, meaning that savings will also be made in terms of maintenance. This benefit is two-fold, affording the maintenance team the time to be more proactive in energy initiatives rather than changing lamps.

A recent California Energy Commission study also estimates that savings will be two times higher by the year 2020 by switching to LED than they are at present, when the technology becomes even more efficient.

A hot tip

The costs of heating and cooling a building are always on the rise. Often, addressing energy efficiency without a multi-system approach can be futile, with no tangible savings being made. Again, as with lighting, it is largely a behavioural change that will most benefit the commercial building sector in meeting efficiency targets going forward. For instance, a mere broadening of the range of temperatures inside your building, scheduling heating and lighting to vary according to peak occupancy times, can make drastic reductions to carbon footprint and energy bills.

Buildings are accountable for over 30% of final energy consumption in the world. 15% of this energy is used in the heating and cooling of interior spaces. Therefore it is imperative that you look at your heating and cooling systems if you want to make improvements.

Currently, the heating of buildings is largely based on fossil fuel burning technologies and cooling is dominated by incredibly carbon-intensive electrical systems. Studies suggest that by implementing low or zero-carbon heating and cooling methods in buildings – such as solar thermal, heat pumps, combined heat and power (CHP), and thermal energy storage – we have the potential to lower CO2 emissions by approximately 2 gigatonnes and save 710 million tonnes oil equivalent of energy over the next 34 years.

For many existing buildings, a change in the heating a cooling system and the building envelope accordingly can prove to be high in initial outlay and very disruptive. Some retrofits need a complete overhaul of their existing heating and cooling systems, insulation, windows etc. Sadly, the higher initial costs involved and the subsequent longer wait for financial return results in many buildings choosing to plod on using existing inefficient heating systems. This often hampers other energy efficiency efforts that have been made, making the strive for energy efficiency an earnest but ineffective endeavour.

Although it can be expensive, do not overlook the multitude of sustainable heating and cooling options on the market today. It is only through a multifaceted approach that the commercial building sector can truly make a tangible impact on its carbon footprint.

In summary

An efficient building is a productive building. By being considerate in how we generate and use energy, we can help reverse manmade climate change whilst simultaneously receiving a series of lucrative fringe benefits as an industry. We can also set an example for future generations to follow – ensuring that professionals within the built environment always have a healthy, vibrant environment in which to build for many years to come.

An independent review into the cost of energy led by Professor Dieter Helm CBE will recommend ways to keep energy prices as low as possible.

The review will consider the whole electricity supply chain – generation, transmission, distribution and supply.

An independent review into the cost of energy led by Professor Dieter Helm CBE will recommend ways to keep energy prices as low as possible as part of the Industrial Strategy, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark announced today.

Professor Dieter Helm, one of Britain’s leading energy experts, will look specifically at how the energy industry, government and regulators can keep the cost of electricity as low as possible, while ensuring the UK meets its domestic and international climate targets.

This ambitious review builds on the commitment made in the Industrial Strategy green paper and will consider the whole electricity supply chain – generation, transmission, distribution and supply. It will look for opportunities to reduce costs in each element and consider the implications of the changing demand for electricity, including the role of innovative technologies such as electric vehicles, storage, robotics and artificial intelligence.

The ambition is for the UK to have the lowest energy costs in Europe, for both households and businesses.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said “All homes and businesses rely on an affordable and secure energy supply and the government is upgrading our energy system to make it fit for the future. We want to ensure we continue to find the opportunities to keep energy costs as low as possible, while meeting our climate change targets, as part of the Industrial Strategy.

“The review will consider how we can take advantage of changes to our power system and new technologies to ensure clean, secure and affordable supplies over the coming decades. Professor Helm will bring invaluable expertise to the review, and I look forward to seeing his recommendations.

Professor Helm is one of Britain’s leading energy experts, a Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow in Economics at New College Oxford, and a former member of the Council of Science and Technology, advising the UK Prime Minister from 2004 to 2007.

Professor Dieter Helm CBE added “I am delighted to take on this Review. The cost of energy always matters to households and companies, and especially now in these exceptional times, with huge investment requirements to meet the decarbonisation and security challenges ahead over the next decade and beyond. Digitalisation, electric transport and smart and decentralised systems offer great opportunities. It is imperative to do all this efficiently, to minimise the burdens. Making people and companies pay excessively for policy and market inefficiencies risks undermining the objectives themselves.

“My review will be independent and sort out the facts from the myths about the cost of energy, and make recommendations about how to more effectively achieve the overall objectives.”

The government is already taking action, and has asked the regulator to come forward with proposals to extend the price protection currently in place for some vulnerable energy consumers to more people on the poorest value tariffs. This builds on action taken to cap the price for 4 million pre-payment meter customers which came into force on 1 April 2017.

There are also a number of schemes in place to reduce energy bills by improving energy efficiency, such as the Energy Company Obligation which will upgrade 200,000 homes each year and help tackle fuel poverty. For business, the package of relief for energy intensive industries was worth £260 million last year and there are financial incentives to switch to cleaner fuels and processes.

This review will consider the electricity system as a whole and make recommendations on how to deliver affordable energy over the coming decades. It follows the plan set out in July by government and Ofgem for a smarter energy system and the commitment to ensure Britain’s energy costs are as low as possible.

DONG Energy confirms a positive Final Investment Decision for Hornsea One offshore wind farm off the coast of Grimsby in Northern England.

This morning, Wednesday 3 February, the board of directors at DONG Energy confirmed a positive Final Investment Decision for Hornsea One offshore wind farm off the coast of Grimsby in Northern England, meaning that construction can now go ahead.

Located 75 miles off the Yorkshire coast and capable of powering over one million UK homes with a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts, Hornsea One will be – by a considerable margin – the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

The project has the potential to create around 2,000 jobs during its construction, with up to 300 additional jobs supported throughout its 20-25 year operational phase. A new Siemens blade factory in Hull, due to be built by the end of this year, will support the project, boosting a Northern and UK wide supply chain.

Hornsea One is expected to be fully operational in 2020.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said “Thanks to Government support the UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy and this success story is going from strength to strength. Dong Energy’s investment shows that we are open for business and is a vote of confidence in the UK and in our plan to tackle the legacy of under-investment and build an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century.”

“This project means secure, clean energy for the country, jobs and financial security for working people and their families, and more skills and growth boosting the Northern Powerhouse.”

18 countries and over 60 organizations launch an unprecedented global alliance for buildings and construction to combat climate change.

Ministers from Cameroon, Finland, France, Morocco, Senegal and Sweden, international organizations, multinational CEOs and civil society leaders launch the alliance to speed up and scale up the potential of the sector for climate action.

18 countries (Austria, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Senegal, Singapore, Sweden, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America), and over 60 organizations on Thursday launched an unprecedented Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction to speed up and scale up the sector¹s huge potential to reduce its emissions and literally build greater climate resilience into future cities and infrastructure.

The Alliance, which gathers organizations from countries to cities, NGOs, public and private organizations, networks of professionals, of cities, of companies as well as financing institutions, announced the initiative at the Lima to Paris Action Agenda Focus on Buildings, in Paris. Among other members, the International Union of Architects (UIA) now represents, through national architecture organizations, close to 1,3 million architects worldwide; the World Green Building Council (WGBC) represents 27000 companies involved in green buildings business worldwide; the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) represents 180000 building surveyors globally; the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) represents the construction sector employers through 33 national federations in 29 countries.

The buildings and construction sector is responsible for 30 per cent of global CO2 emissions but it also has the potential to avoid about 3.2GtCO2 by 2050 through mainstreaming today’s available state-of-the-art policies and technologies. Reducing energy demand in the building sector is one of the most cost-effective strategies for achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions.

Real estate represents about 50% of global wealth. Creating this transformation requires investing around an additional US$220 billion by 2020 ­ an almost 50% increase on 2014 investment in energy efficient buildings ­ but less than 4% of the current total global annual investment in construction activity ($8.5 trillion/yr). Returns on this investment could be as high as 124% if investments in ambitious policy and technology actions are being made now.

As of today, 91 countries have included elements of commitments, national programs, or projects and plans relating to buildings in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the declarations by countries of what they are prepared to commit to.

With support and greater awareness, many more may realize the potential for the building sector to contribute to realizing national targets. Yet, the building sector is very local and needs to align many different actors, which is a primary objective of the new alliance.

As cities keep on growing until more than 70% of the global population will call urban areas home, it becomes crucial for the sector to reduce its emissions and literally build in greater resilience against climate change.

Action will include:

  • minimizing energy demand
  • greening the construction value chain
  • integrating renewables through district energy
  • implementing integrated building design and urban planning
  • engaging financing institutions.

Dr Chris Iddon, Design Manager with SE Controls, explores the growing issue of corridor overheating and studies into real buildings are enabling effective solutions to be applied to the problem.

In some ways it is ironic that the issue of building overheating can be partly accredited to the increased drive towards improving energy efficiency. This fact has been recognised by the Zero Carbon Hub in its recent report into overheating in homes, as well as CIBSE’s latest revision to its ‘Guide A: Environmental Design’ (8th edition 2015), which specifically identifies the potential causes and consequences of corridor overheating.

It wasn’t that long ago that, if a building’s occupants got too hot, they opened a window or turned up the air conditioning to return the internal temperature to within more comfortable parameters, although there are clearly some significant issues with this simplistic approach to temperature management. However, during the past 25 years or so, concerns over climate change, dwindling fuel resources and increasing energy costs, has resulted a much stricter legislative and regulatory environment governing building design and energy management.

Within this framework, retaining heat within a building is usually a key design goal, as it reduces energy demand for heating and the cost of maintaining a comfortable internal environment, the application of these various energy reduction techniques can have some surprising and unintended consequences.

Multi storey residential blocks, for example, are subject to the specifications for ‘leakage’, ‘infiltration’ and energy performance, yet as Building Regulations deals only with the dwellings themselves a building’s circulation spaces are excluded.

As innovative building designs seek to legitimately maximise rentable space, this often creates ‘landlocked’ spaces that have no ventilation. Given that corridors are often sealed by fire doors and the practice of routing heating pipework through ceiling voids is a common solution, it’s unsurprising that communal corridor temperatures can readily exceed 35 degrees Celsius.

Understanding the dynamics of overheating

For a number of years, SE Controls has been directly involved with various consultants; developers and contractors to not only address the issue by providing specific solutions to improve ventilation and cooling, but also to obtain a more detailed understanding of the dynamics involved in the overheating of corridors and circulation spaces.

By undertaking detailed studies of real buildings and combining them with theoretical computer thermal modelling, it has not only been possible to refine the modelling algorithms and make them even more accurate, but also design effective solutions that can address the problem using a building’s existing smoke control system.

As smoke control ventilation systems are a legal requirements in buildings over three storeys high, it makes financial and practical sense to adapt the existing system, enabling it to undertake the additional role of day to day environmental ventilation and cooling of circulation spaces.

Among the various corridor-overheating projects undertaken, one of the most interesting was a study we undertook that evaluated a London building with circulation space ventilation incorporated within the design from the outset and compared it to one in Kent where no similar ventilation solution had been installed. As overheating issues typically become more intense during summer months, the study was conducted between 19th June and 29th December 2014, which also provided data during autumn and early winter for comparative purposes.

Temperature measurement and adaptive comfort

Hourly temperatures in the first floor lobby of both buildings were monitored to obtain a clearer picture of the internal thermal profile, while corresponding hourly external weather information from RAF Northolt provided relevant ‘ambient’ temperature data for the same period. During the study, a MET Office Level 2 heatwave warning (max temperature of 30 degrees Celsius) was issued for 18th to 20th July.

Results analysis – the heat is on

Over the duration of the study, the external temperature ranged from a minimum of – 6°C during December to a maximum of 30°C in July, giving and average of 12°C throughout the period.

In comparison, the London building, which utilised its smoke ventilation system to provide supplementary environmental ventilation, the average temperature was 18.6°C with corresponding minimum and maximum figures of 10.3°C and 27.3°C respectively.

However, in stark contrast, the Kent building with unventilated corridors recorded some disturbing results with temperatures ranging from 22.3°C up to an extremely uncomfortable high of 33.8°C with an average 28.5°C.

Even more concerning is the fact that for 64% of the total monitoring period, the Kent property’s temperature exceeded 28°C, which is significantly above current CIBSE guidance on overheating thresholds where 28°C should be exceeded for less than 1% of the time.

The comparative temperature distribution analysis for both buildings also showed a significant difference with the most frequent internal temperature for Kent being 28-29°C, while in London, the figures were 8 degrees cooler at 20-21°C.

Although this study was focused specifically on temperature parameters within the two buildings, it must be remembered that where no ventilation is present in sealed or ‘landlocked’ spaces, the air will usually be stagnant and of poor quality, often containing pathogens along with other contaminants, which cannot be readily ‘flushed’ or vented from the building.

By utilising existing smoke ventilation systems and adapting their operation, without compromising their life critical primary operation characteristics, a simple and cost effective solution is already available that mitigates overheating, improves air quality and helps buildings comply with relevant adaptive comfort guidelines.

The only question that remains, is how many other buildings suffer from the same extreme overheating and air quality issues as those measured in Kent, which are likely to be caused unintentionally, purely by complying with Building Regulations? From the results of SE Controls’ own numerous research studies, the answer is …“probably more than we think.”

For more information please visit

Climate change is arguably the biggest threat to stability and prosperity around the world. Experts agree that by 2035 the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will exceed the critical level consistent with a temperature rise of less than 2˚C.

Did you know that the sun delivers 5000 times more power to the surface of Earth than we could ever need? With the cost of renewables slowly but surely falling, something must be done to improve developmental knowledge of renewable energy, which currently recieves less than 2% of the world’s publicly funded research, development and demonstration.

The Global Apollo Program’s website says that their “aim is to accelerate the decarbonisation of the world economy through more rapid technical progress, achieved through an internationally-coordinated program of research and development over a 10-year period.”

An open letter has now been signed by several high profile scientists, businessmen and public figures urging world leaders and citizens of the Earth alike to back the principles of the Global Apollo Program ahead of the UN climate change conference talks which will take place in Paris at the end of 2015.

The letter reads as follows:

We the undersigned believe that global warming can be addressed without adding significant economic costs or burdening taxpayers with more debt.

A sensible approach to tackling climate change will not only pay for itself but provide economic benefits to the nations of the world.

The aspiration of the Global Apollo Program is to make renewable energy cheaper than coal within 10 years. We urge the leading nations of the world to commit to this positive, practical initiative by the Paris climate conference in December.

The plan requires leading governments to invest a total of $15 billion a year in research, development and demonstration of clean energy.

That compares to the $100 billion currently invested in defence R&D globally each year.

Public investment now will save governments huge sums in the future.

What is more, a coordinated R&D plan can help bring energy bills down for billions of consumers.

Renewable energy gets less than 2% of publicly funded R&D. The private sector spends relatively small sums on clean energy research and development.

Just as with the Apollo space missions of the 1960s, great scientific minds must now be assembled to find a solution to one of the biggest challenges we face.

Please support the Global Apollo Program – the world’s 10 year plan for cheaper, cleaner energy.

– Sir David Attenborough
– Professor Brian Cox
– Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
– Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council on Energy Environment and Water
– Ed Davey, Former UK Energy Secretary
– Bill Hare, Founder and CEO, Climate Analytics
– Nilesh Y. Jadhav, Program Director, Energy Research Institute @NTU, Singapore
– Niall Dunne, Chief Sustainability Officer, BT
– Carlo Carraro, Director, International Centre for Climate Governance
– Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Chair, Grantham Institute
– Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group
– Ben Goldsmith, Founder, Menhaden Capital
– Sabina Ratti, Executive Director, FEEM – Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei
– Lord Browne, Chairman L1 Energy
– Zac Goldsmith MP
– Professor Martin Siegert, Co-Director Grantham Institute
– Professor Joanna Haigh CBE, Co-Director, Grantham Institute and Vice President of Royal Meteorological Society
– Peter Bakker, President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
– Dr Fatima Denton, African Climate Policy Centre
– Denys Shortt, CEO, DCS Group
– Lord Turner, Former Chairman, Financial Services Authority
– Lord O’Donnell, Former Cabinet Secretary
– Lord Layard, London School of Economics
– Professor John Shepherd CBE FRS
– Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal

Watch the video below to find out more about the Global Apollo Program – a 10 year project that aims to coordinate international research and development and discover breakthrough clean technologies to tackle climate change.