Thursday, 6 March 2014

Ecobuild 2014 - retrofit, travel, solar shades ...

I went to Ecobuild 2014 on Tuesday. Every year it gets better: more interesting products to discover from little green entrepreneurs and co-ops to big brand corporations. Here are some things that caught my eye:

Better retrofit partnership - retrofit for solid wall buildings
This is a new one-stop shop for high quality retrofit for solid wall buildings. Four established names have got together for a complete service with assured energy and air quality performance.
  • Parity Projects for assessment and design
  • NBT and Baumit for breathable insulation products and render plus high performance windows and everything else you need
  • Aereco for demand-controlled ventilation (who have impressed me before)

Cemfree - cement free alternative to concrete.
This is a completely new type of concrete made from ground-up slag from blast furnaces, a waste product of making steel and other metals. The concrete is more durable than typical cement based concrete and has only a tenth the carbon emissions: 31 kg/m3 compared to 312 kg/m3 for concrete. There are other advantages too. It doesn't produce so much heat when setting which means it less prone to cracking, so it needs less steel reinforcement and it can be poured into large areas without joints, a real time saver.

Apparently there is enough blast furnace slag produced in this country to make cemfree to replace 15% of the concrete we use. We don't make that much steel in this country and this technology could have an even bigger impact in places like China where they have more heavy industry and more construction.

Myptp - a travel planning service for commuters
Lift share now has a new service offering travel advice for commuters. They have a large database with train and bus schedules and so on, plus links to their own lift share system and cycle route maps. If you want to encourage your employees to leave the car at home more often you can bulk buy personal travel plans for everyone.

Dales - external elliptical solar shades
Amongst other things Dales make durable solar shades that can be retrofitted onto existing masonry walls. The shades comprise a framework of elliptical slats, angled to allow winter sunlight in but keep the strong summer sun away from your walls and windows. Although they are made of aluminium they have a thin coating of polyester which can be any colour you like or wood effect. Shading is an excellent low-tech strategy to keep your home cool in summer.

Secil ecoCORK - cork based insulating render/plaster.
This is a cement free render system based on cork instead of tradional aggregate. Cork is renewable, which aggregate is not. It is also lightweight, which lowers transport costs and means it can be used on walls which could not support normal render. It is breathable, so safe to use on buildings where moisture is a concern. It can be applied up to 40mm thick for a degree of insulation and sound proofing as well as weather protection.

(There were plant based bricks from TAS eco-systems too amongst other renewable building materials).

Pureti - Glass coating for self cleaning and destroying VOCs
If you wish you had installed self cleaning glass it's not too late: Pureti have coatings you can apply to your existing windows, inside or out. They also works with UV light to neutralise odours and VOCs. What I especially like about this is, if you have an energy efficient draught proof house and you've just got new carpets, or painted or whatever, and you've left the window open for a few days but even so the atmosphere isn't quite fresh, you can spray a Pureti coating on the windows to finish the job. A bottle costs about £15.

Recipro Free online exchange for leftover building materials

Bird brick houses - bricks with integral bird/bat homes

Keim mineral paints - breathable paints with beautiful colours and textures (I am sure there are others too but these caught my eye)

Aquatiere - salt free water softeners

There was loads more but I think you have the picture now. I am glad I had time to go this year.

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