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Waste not, want not

To drive further uptake of energy efficient bathroom products, consumers must be better educated about the true costs of water consumption and wastage, argues Barbara Osborne, product manager at Methven UK.

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BSRIA backs Australian performance gap solution study

BSRIA is backing a four-month feasibility study to develop a prototype UK scheme which it says has the potential to deliver the energy performance specified in client briefs. The concept embraces the ‘design for performance’ approach pioneered in Australia, where very energy efficient new office buildings are routinely achieved and verified by investment-grade energy ratings, using its ‘NABERS’ scheme. The study is being funded and overseen by leading players in the UK prime office market: British Land, Legal & General Property, Stanhope, TH Real Estate, Laing O’Rourke and the energy simulation company EDSL. It also has the support of DECC, BCO, BPF and UK-GBC. In addition to providing technical assistance, UBT is funding expert input on the Australian scheme from Paul Bannister of Energy Action, Canberra, who helped to develop NABERS Energy. The scheme also has the backing of the Better Buildings Partnership, a team led by Verco which includes BSRIA, Arup ...

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Positive living

Joe Dart speaks to window fabricator Vellacine about its involvement on Solcer House, a purpose-built ‘energy positive’ house in Wales, built to demonstrate that low carbon homes can be constructed under tight budgetary constraints.

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Government to ‘level playing field’ for UK steel firms

Contractors will be required to reveal where they source steelwork from when bidding on major public sector contracts under new guidelines on steel procurement published by the Government. The new instructions are designed to help steel suppliers “compete on a level playing field with international suppliers for major government projects,” according to the Cabinet Office. Government departments will be encouraged to take into account the social impacts of competing suppliers. This includes the impact on jobs, protecting the health and safety of staff and the social integration of disadvantaged workers as well as placing a responsibility on firms to upskill the workforce. The guidance encourages departments to assess the carbon footprint of bids and requires contractors to advertise their requirements for steel so that UK steel firms can compete. This will improve visibility of opportunities on major projects such as HS2 and Network Rail, so that UK steel suppliers will be able to bid. ...

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Spiralling heights

Building Products reports on the logistical challenges involved with the delivery of glass balcony balustrades to apartments at Baltimore Tower – a 45-storey curved structure which is set to become one of London’s newest landmarks for luxury living.

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Osborne commits to £100bn infrastructure spending

Chancellor George Osborne will today commit to £100bn of spending for new roads, rail, flood defences and other vital projects by 2020. Launching the new National Infrastructure Commission, led by former Cabinet minister Lord Adonis, the Chancellor will set out plans to ‘get Britain building’, saying that infrastructure will be at the heart of next month’s Spending Review. Speaking at the National Railway Museum in York, the Chancellor will also confirm the full membership of the independent National Infrastructure Commission. The commissioners are: Lord Heseltine – the former deputy prime minister who has long championed the regeneration of Britain’s inner cities through infrastructure investment. Sir John Armitt – the former chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, and next year’s President of the Institute of Civil Engineers. Professor Tim Besley – a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee and the LSE’s Growth Commission, which recommended an independent infrastructure ...

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Seeing clearly

Stacey Temprell, residential sector director at Saint-Gobain, explains how visual comfort in buildings can affect user health and wellbeing, and the importance of a holistic approach to building and design.

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Tridonic launches new Tunable White LED module

Lighting manufacturer Tridonic has expanded its Tunable White product portfolio with the addition of the square TALEXXengine QLE PREMIUM LED module. This has been designed specifically for area luminaires in healthcare facilities, offices and educational establishments. The Tunable White Area System is available as a precalibrated set that provides optimum quality of light and high colour consistency. It consists of four square LED modules each with a luminous flux of 1250 lm and one low-profile LED driver with a one4all interface (DALI Device Type 8, DSI, switchDIM, colourTEMPERATURE) and an output of 75 W. The product’s system efficiency is more than 130 lm/W, according to Tridonic. Thanks to the calibration, the colour temperature can be set dynamically between 3,000 K and 6,000 K, with the luminous flux being kept constant. In addition, the system can be dimmed from 100 to 10% without changing the colour temperature. This means that it ...

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Security upgrade

Ian Kernaghan, product manager at Eurocell, examines the new Approved Document Q coming into force this month, and what it means in terms of enhanced security for new homes.

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UK housing scores poorly in European efficiency survey

The UK has one of the most energy inefficient housing stocks in Europe, according to the findings of a new survey. The ‘Cold Man of Europe’ research, conducted by the Association for the Conservation of Energy across 16 European countries, found that, of the 26 million households in the UK, 21 million had a “poor” level of energy efficiency (Band D, E, F and G on an Energy Performance Certificate). The average energy efficiency of a UK home is Band D, which is not high enough to protect households from fuel poverty. A survey of the proportion of households living in a dwelling with a leaking roof, damp walls, floors or foundation, or rot in window frames or floor saw the UK rank 12th out of 16 countries, with 15.9% reporting poor conditions. The study also examined fabric U-values in UK homes, and found that for the 11 countries which data was available for, the UK ranked 7th, ...

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