Sold as the ‘worlds biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment!’. EnvirUP attended this excellent exhibition as part of our research of External Wall Insulation products and for our Continued Professional Development. We attended last year, spending a day at the event and rushed through. So this year, we spent two days at the event, taking the time we needed to talk to some of the exhibitors that we were particularly interested in and ‘discover’ new Eco building products too. The extra time also allowed us to take in some of the seminars that provide useful insight into particular areas of interest and listen to expert practitioners.
We thought that it was a superb event, with exhibitors from all over the world, providing all manner of products that you could (and could not) imagine. There was a real buzz in the air as thousands of attendees descended on the event with hope and promise. We were not let down and thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is interested in sustainability in buildings and building products in general.
Here are our highlights from this years event. We are particularly focussed on insulation, so it is not a review of the event as a whole.
Thermafleece is a natural wool fibre sustainable insulation material. There exhibition stand grabbed our attention as soon as we saw it and is a nice product to handle. Insulation reduces the use of fossil fuels, but this product reduces the need for hydrocarbons during its production and that is nice!
More information is at www.thermafleece.com
We met FM External Insulation and impressed to see the range of creative external insulation products they offer. They are an Irish company who are creating new jobs in Coventry and that is great news, lets hope that they see the success they plan for. Attracted by the potential demand for external wall insulation in the nations 6.6 million solid wall homes, they install multi layer external wall systems using expanded polystyrene foam boards as the base layer. This is followed by two coats of cementatious renders with a protective mesh layer in the middle, primers and then covered with an nice coloured outer protective layers.
More information can be found at there website: www.externalinsulation.co.uk
There are a number of finishes that this company offer for the external insulation to match the previous look of the house, remain in keeping with the neighbourhood and keep the planning authorities happy. The three types finishes here are (from the bottom) Pebble Dash, Brick and Render. Using these finishes alone or with a combination allows the insulated house to look ‘uninsulated’ in keeping with the neighbourhood. They look very good and that is a simply due to the skill of the installer.
We are not ‘star struck’ celebrity followers here at EnvirUP, but always nice to see high profile people support the Low Carbon agenda. Jonathon Porritt is a well respected leader in the sustainability movement and congratulate the organisers of Ecobuild for inviting Jonathan to the Event.
As well as innovative eco building products, Ecobuild has its share of Eco Bling too! Here is a great example of a low carbon transportation, the Nissan Leaf, charged by solar power. This exhibit was on Schneider stand where they demonstrated their inverter and electric vehicle charging technologies. This is Bling in that, it costs a lot of money, looks great and has a wow factor. But despite that, it does offer a viable alternative to fossil fuels..agreed, not affordable for all. But lets encourage those who can afford it to buy this instead of a high performance luxury gas guzzlers and eventually this technology will become cheaper for us all.
Colourful External Wall Insulation: We saw this colourful external wall insulation from Alumasc Group, lovely shades of green. If we are going to have thousands of homes with new external finishes, lets use this opportunity to add some more new colours into the housing estates across the country. They also use the 6-7 layers to provide a robust external insulation, with a little colour twist. They have installed a few thousand homes across the UK and plan many more thousands of installations over the next few years.
Now, for all those that want, insist, need, must have…real brick infront of their external insulation, Eurobrick have a solution. They have created a system that allows a real brick slip ‘skin’ to be attached to an external insulation layer. So you have a real brick finish. We didn’t ask the price…but it does not look like a low cost system, but in its defence this system is probably more suited to the more attractive homes in the more affluent suburbs or where planning authorities will not allow changes to the external look of a home.
Weber is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of the ‘ingredients’ that go into external wall insulation systems and they had an excellent display of there products across three separate stands! This demonstrates how important this solution has become, how much investment it is getting from manufacturers and the huge potential the sector has to grow. The picture shows Webers solution using expanded polystyrene foam board. They use the standard multilayer approach as some of the other companies previously presented. They systems works, looks good and can stand the test of time. It is great to see multinationals get confident around this sector, because they have the funds to convince the consumer, landlords and government that external wall insulation is the right approach to reduce heat loss through walls. Their success will see the entire market grow… and we are going to be very grateful.
Here is an interesting statement from Saint Gobain on their main corporate stand that highlights their thoughts around the Green Deal. It states “The Green Deal will kick start at least £14 bn of investment in the decade to 2022 and support at least 65,000 insulation and construction jobs by 2015 (211 Annual Energy Statement). That is quite a claim and must have got the chaps at Saint Gobain deliberating long and hard before they agreed to put this brave statement on their very swish stand! EnvirUP are not sure how secure these numbers are, but even if they are 70% right, that will be a mighty benefit to the British economy and jobs, so we are 100% with them in hoping that the Green Deal (and Energy Company Obligation) works out.
This statement shows how much focus this huge global multinational is putting behind Solid Wall Insulation, it states ” To meet the Green Deal targets, the number of SWI installers in the UK will need to at least quadruple over the next five years. (INCA)”. That is huge growth in the number of skilled people required for this product to be delivered. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a system that was easier to install, take less time to master, cheaper for smaller companies to take on new installers?