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Ecobuild launches Big Innovation Pitch call for entries

Ecobuild is again teaming up with Marks and Spencer to provide a platform for companies to pitch innovative building products and solutions in the hope of becoming a potential supplier to the retailer. Ecobuild’s Big Innovation Pitch is open to any company operating in the UK sustainable built environment market and has been created to unearth innovation across the design, construction and energy sectors. The collaboration supports M&S in discovering the latest innovations that will help its properties perform better and be more sustainable. These goals form part of M&S’ Plan A sustainability strategy, under which M&S aims to source responsibly, reduce waste and help communities, with the ultimate goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer. Ecobuild’s Big Innovation Pitch presents two prime opportunities for entries to be seen at the event. The 15 shortlisted entries will be displayed at Ecobuild’s new central social hub – the DISCOVER ...

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Flogas to hold free event highlighting biomass benefits

Flogas Renewables is inviting businesses to learn about the benefits of biomass at a free event in Bedfordshire. The event will take place on Thursday 3 December (10 am – 2 pm) at Cranfield University, where a host of industry experts will be on hand to explain how biomass can boost businesses’ bottom line, and why it pays to act now to get the very best long term returns. As well as learning about the business case for biomass, attendees will also get the chance to see a successful system in action. Having recently integrated a 950 kW Flogas Renewables biomass boiler into its existing district heating setup, the team at Cranfield University will be showcasing how it’s now able to deliver 24/7 heating and hot water to 34 campus buildings – all while saving up to 500 tonnes of CO2 each year. In addition to a guided tour of the university’s ...

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Improving productivity

Sharni Verity, marketing manager at Heckmondwike FB, looks at how specifiers are increasingly being tasked with creating commercial interiors that promote a productive workplace.

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Peter Hansford backs Solid Wall Insulation drive

A new report, conducted by chief construction adviser Peter Hansford, has outlined a number of recommendations for revitalising the Solid Wall Insulation (SWI) market. The ‘Solid Wall Insulation – Unlocking Demand and Driving Up Standards’ report was commissioned by the Green Construction Board to consider what more might be done to unlock demand for solid wall insulation, improve its affordability and increase its attractiveness as a solution. By April 2012, only 132,000 solid wall homes in the UK had been insulated – less than 2% of all solid wall homes – and most of these were in the social housing sector. Marking a rapid expansion of capacity and activity, 77,000 solid wall homes were insulated between April 2012 and July 2013, driven by the Government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) policy. However, since the Government’s announcement in Autumn 2013 to reduce the level of ECO funding support, installation of SWI has reduced. In the report, Hansford makes 10 key recommendations for the Government ...

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Light of day

Lightweight polycarbonate sheeting from Brett Martin has helped create what is claimed to be the largest gravity supported cantilevered roof in the world, at the newly refurbished Olympic Stadium in London. Building Products reports.

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Herz introduces new dual fuel biomass boiler

Herz Biomass UK has launched a new flexible, dual-fuel boiler for the domestic and light commercial sector. The new Herz Pelletfire boiler is able to burn both logs and wood pellets and is MCS approved. Designed to provide a space efficient solution, the compact Pelletfire range of boilers come in a range of output options from 20 kW to 40 kW and offer flexible heating with separate combustion chambers. The two fuels can be switched between easily and the operation can be set up to automatically transition to wood pellets if all logs are burnt out. The Pelletfire is compatible with various types of pellet stores, including the traditional V profile and modular pellet silos. It also incorporates the modern T-CONTROL touch system, to make operation of the boiler simple and user-friendly. In addition, the Pelletfire range features a double vortex combustion chamber, which is designed to assist maximum efficiency in ...

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Efficient way of thinking

Jon Bootland, chief executive at the Passivhaus Trust, looks at why increasing numbers of housebuilders are embracing Passivhaus – widely considered as the ‘gold standard’ of energy efficient design.

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New homes reach highest annual increase for 28 years

The number of new homes in England has risen by 25% over the past year, the highest annual percentage increase in 28 years, according to figures released today. The net supply of housing report, released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), revealed that annual housing supply in England amounted to 170,690 net additional dwellings in 2014-15, a 25% increase in net additional dwellings from 2013-14. The DCLG said there has been a significant increase in the amount of new homes delivered by converting buildings into residential properties. More than 20,600 of these homes were built in 2014-15, a rise of 65% on the year before. The Government recently announced it would extend permitted development rights that enable offices to be converted into new homes without having to submit a planning application. Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We’ve brought the housebuilding industry back from the brink, giving them ...

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Civic centrepiece

Ceramic granite cladding panels were used to provide a crisp finish for a new landmark community hub in a historic part of East London. Building Products reports.

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Stair manufacturer confidence on the rise

A new survey among UK timber stair companies has revealed ambitions for significant staff increases in the year ahead. In a poll of British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Stair Scheme members, 81% of respondents are expecting to create jobs within the next 12 months, and of those expecting to create jobs, 55% are aiming to make 10-50 employment opportunities within their company. The survey suggests that members are feeling positive about the industry and are motivated to plan investments. However, some these hopes have been suppressed by the current construction climate, with the skills shortage identified by 73% of respondents as a major constraint to the UK timber stairs market. Other factors causing concern were cost increases and economic uncertainty. Hannah Mansell, BWF schemes and technical manager, said: “Our members seem to be very optimistic about the future of the market but obviously they have concerns. Price is continuing to be a large factor ...

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