Ecological Building Systems

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Passivhaus Trust Awards

2015 UK Passivhaus Awards logo

Ecological Building systems were delighted to attend this year UK Passivhaus awards ceremony. The prestigious event hosted by the Passivhaus trust now in its 5th year, was held in the Austrian embassy in London and celebrated some of the very best completed Pasivhaus buildings across the UK.

This year saw a diverse shortlist of certified Passivhaus projects across all three categories. From small-scale dwellings to large-scale social housing as well as the deep retrofit of 19th century terraced houses, this was a further indication of just how far the UK has come in recent years in the development of high performance low energy buildings.

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Posted on Friday, 31 July 2015

Cumbria PassivHaus Video

At Ecological Building Systems UK we’ve a host of products to help build your PassivHaus building. Ecological are based in Cumbria and that’s why we’ve been pleased to help bring this video together with Eden Insulation so you can see what is happening in our county with PassivHaus.

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Posted on Tuesday, 21 July 2015

pro clima INTELLO PLUS now BBA & NHBC approved!

 

We are pleased to officially confirm that the pro clima Intelligent Airtightness system, including the pro clima INTELLO PLUS intelligent airtightness and vapour control membrane, has met all the requirements set out by both the BBA (British Board of Agrément) and the NHBC. This compliments the existing Irish Agrément Certificate providing specifiers, installers and homeowners with unsurpassed reassurance.

BBA is the UK’s major authority, offering approval and inspection services to manufacturers, installers, construction products and systems. BBA certification is only awarded after systems or products have successfully passed a broad assessment involving laboratory testing, on-site evaluations and production inspections.

Niall Crosson, Senior Engineer with Ecological Building Systems comments:  “Receiving BBA certification for the pro clima Intelligent Airtightness system reinforces the unsurpassed standards set by pro clima in the manufacture and delivery of durable airtightness solutions which are fit for purpose and last the lifetime of the building. pro clima have already received independent tests to confirm an expected lifespan for their tapes of at least 100 years.  pro clima are pioneers not only in delivering Intelligent airtight solutions, but combining this with optimum protection against condensation and mould growth by utilising Intelligent membrane technology. Receiving BBA certification provides specifiers, engineers and homeowners with even more reassurance that the pro clima Intelligent Airtightness system will assist in delivering a robust airtight result.”

Attaining NHBC acceptance for the use of INTELLO PLUS will also prove most beneficial to homeowners, designers, timer frame manufacturers and installers.

During the assessment process pro clima INTELLO PLUS was evaluated in a range of constructions where INTELLO’s unique INTELLIGENT vapour control properties provide unsurpassed safety against condensation. This  included unventilated flat roofs. The advanced hygrothermal simulation programme, WUFI, was used to carry out assessments in accordance with BS 15026, based on British climate data. BS EN 15026 defines the practical application of hygrothermal simulation software used to predict one- dimensional transient heat and moisture transfer in multi-layer building envelope components subjected to non steady climate conditions on either side. In contrast to the steady-state assessment of interstitial condensation by the Glaser method (as described in EN ISO 13788), transient hygrothermal simulation provides more detailed and accurate information on the risk of moisture problems within building components and on the design of remedial treatment. While the Glaser method considers only steady-state conduction of heat and vapour diffusion, the transient models covered in this standard take account of heat and moisture storage, latent heat effects, and liquid and convective transport under realistic boundary and initial conditions. The application of such models has become widely used in building practice in recent years, resulting in a significant improvement in the accuracy and reproducibility of hygrothermal simulation (BSI 2007). 

 

In the development of the BBA certificate it became clear that there is still some confusion on the market in relation to airtightness and its relationship with vapour control. To assist in addressing this, Ecological Building Systems in conjunction with the BBA will be hosting a series of information briefings throughout the UK early next year. More details will be available on our website later this year.

We have amended our pro clima product portfolio to incorporate the BBA logo for INTELLO PLUS, please follow this link to access the new product portfolio.

The new BBA certificate can be downloaded from the following link: pro clima INTELLO PLUS BBA Certificate

 

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Posted on Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Why Airtightness & Intelligent Vapour Control: Lothar Moll of pro clima explains

In March 2007, Lothar Moll, director of pro clima and renowned international expert in the field of building physics, airtightness and intelligent vapour control, published a seminal 2 part technical article regarding airtightness in buildings in the Journal of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland.

As airtightness is now a central part of our building regulations in both Ireland and the UK, we thought it timely to upload this 2 part feature.

For anyone interested in Airtightness and vapour control we highly recommend this 2 part feature. The articles may be downloaded from these links:

Lothar Moll and Airtightness Part 1, Lothar Moll and Airtightness Part 2

Enjoy!

 

Niall Crosson

Senior Technical Engineer, BTech,MEngSc,MIEI, CEPHC

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Posted on Friday, 3 July 2015

Ecological Building Systems Launch elka strong board, diffusion open structural wood particle board

Ecological Building Systems Launch elka strong board

 

 

Ecological Building Systems are delighted to introduce an innovative new wood particle board, elka strong board, to Ireland and the UK.

elka strong board (esb), is a high performance diffusion open, structural, wood particle board. esb is suitable for external or internal use. The boards are intended for use in load-bearing structural elements in humid conditions and categorised as a P5 racking board in accordance with EN 312. elka strong boards are produced by Elka-Holzwerke, a wood particle board manufacture based in Germany.

elka strong boards were successfully introduced to the German timber and building materials trade in 2009.

The boards have considerably less risk of swelling compared to OSB3, a critical property in our humid climate. They also feature superior transverse tensile strength compared to OSB3 (approx. 40% more). This ensures superior screw and nail extraction properties. The bending strength and modulus of elasticity of esb boards are the same in both directions, unlike OSB boards, where the value is halved across the width. This in turn greatly simplifies the installation process and minimises the risk of errors on site.

The boards may be applied internally or externally and are compatible with diffusion open breathable wall and roof structures. With a ยต value of only 24, elka strong boards are over 6 times more diffusion open in comparison to many OSB3 boards. This significantly increases the ability for walls and roofs to dry out in the event of unforeseen moisture entry. Due to the board’s exceptional low vapour resistance, they may be used as an internal racking board in conjunction with Intelligent Vapour Checks, such as INTELLO PLUS, without inhibiting the performance of the Intelligent membrane from a vapour diffusion perspective.

In recognition of its unique hygrothermal characteristics, elka strong boards material properties are also now included in the material database of the advanced hygrothermal software programme, WUFI (www.WUFI.de).

As the boards utilise exclusively virgin green wood chips from a neighbouring sawmill minimal processing is required. This ensures the boards are practically odourless due to their low VOC emissions, which in turn contribute to a healthy indoor climate.

internal finish

The board may also be applied internally as a surface finish. Thanks to the board’s sanded and virtually sealed surface, this enables water-vapour-permeable varnishes, paints and adhesives to be directly applied.

The wood required to manufacture elka strong board is sourced from sustainably managed forests and the boards are PEFC, and CE certified.

More information or product samples may be requested on info@ecologicalbuildingsystems.com

By Niall Crosson, BTech, MEngSc, MIEI, CEPHD

Senior Technical Engineer Ecological Building Systems

 

 

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Posted on Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A look back at the Irish Green Building Council Green Room Conference

A look back at the Irish Green Building Council Green Room Conference         

The Irish Green Building Council put together a fantastic conference, The Green Room, last Thursday the 21st of May at the Woodquay Venue in Dublin. The Ecological team attended and exhibited at the event. A top line up of national and international speakers with inspiring case studies were presented at this year's conference. Here are just a few highlights from the event.

The conference was opened by Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources Alex White who updated the audience on the latest Government initiatives and he also launched the IGBC Build Upon project, a Europe wide renovation strategy. More information regarding this can be found here: http://www.igbc.ie/resource-tags/build-upon/

The first presentation by Miles Keeping of Deloitte Real Estate presented a thought provoking presentation titled “Sustainable Building on the demand side”. Miles chaired the development of the World Green Building Council report on Health, Wellbeing and office Productivity – The Next Chapter in Green Building (http://www.igbc.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/WorldGBC__Health_Wellbeing__productivity__full_report.pdf).

His presentation highlighted how improving ventilation and IAQ delivers productivity benefits of between 8 & 11%! He also highlighted that staff who sit next to windows sleep for 46 minutes longer at night, again improving productivity!

It was refreshing to see the business case for wellbeing of occupiers as a financial incentive to build healthier more comfortable working spaces.

Another highlight was the presentation from Sean Hogan of RKD Architects, who presented the dual certified LEED Platinum, BREEAM Outstanding Guinness brewery building which achieved one of the highest scores ever for either scheme internationally for an industrial building...confirming Green Guinness is not just for St. Patrick ’s Day!

Following this an insightful and entertaining presentation was delivered by Ronald Rovers. He presented the inspiring and highly ambitious Energie Sprong programme in Holland, which aims to renovate 100,000 homes to a zero energy bill (http://energiesprong.nl/transitionzero/)! Ronald really caught the attention of the audience from the outset, by providing an image of Holland, flooded with sea water in 80 years, if we are to take a business as usual approach to climate change.

Ronald’s presentation illustrated how with adequate forethought and prefabrication they could attain Passivhaus retrofits for a whole building in a single day without having to move the occupants out of the building!

Following Ronald’s presentation we attended Caelan Bristow’s insightful presentation where she presented the challenges to specifying non-standard building materials and solutions. Caelan highlighted the need not only to reduce heat loss in buildings, but also to prioritise the embodied energy within the materials we build with. Caelan also referenced the need to reduce waste on site and in the building supply chain. For example, Caelan stated that there is enough waste straw in England to build 200,000 houses! She also highlighted international projects where prefabricated straw bale panels or Hemp Lime infill panels were used, such as the Marks and Spencer project in Cheshire built by Lime Technology.

These are just some of the presentations which were delivered on the day. As always, it was great to catch up with so many familiar faces, and meet lots of new ones! Well done to the Irish Green Building Council for organising the event!

More information about the event can be found here: http://www.igbc.ie/conference/the_green_room.html

 

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Posted on Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Smart Eco Hub Launch Sustainable Building Guide

Peter Smith meets Ollan Herr of Reed Beds Ireland at Smart Eco Hub event

 

On Tuesday the 14th of April 2015 Peter Smith a member of our technical support team, attended the launch of SMART ECO HUB SUSTAINABLE BUILDING GUIDE at Stormont Castle, Belfast. Niall Crosson our Senior Technical Engineer provided a number of technical contributions to the document but unfortunately wasn't able to attend as his new baby took priority!  

The Smart Eco Hub is a cross border, business to business cluster organisation for companies in the sustainable energy sector. Their mission is to drive economic growth and job creation through collaboration and innovation in the sustainable energy sector to develop and exploit new technologies for local and international markets. Through their collaborative network of small and large enterprises, academic research organisations and local government agencies they provide a unique hub environment for identifying synergies, creating business opportunities, establishing living labs and stimulating innovation. Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) is a building standard that all EU member states will have to comply with over the next several years. As the title suggests, it means that all new buildings will have to meet a higher standard of energy efficiency so that they require virtually no fossil fuels and produce very little C02 into the environment. With fuel prices certain to continue rising into the future it makes both financial and environmental sense to embrace these changes if undertaking a new build or a substantial renovation.

The Guide is structured to follow a fabric first approach, starting with design issues, moving through insulation, building systems, glazing and ventilation/airtightness, before addressing water usage and waste water practices. The Directory at the end of the publication carries profiles and contact details of the companies who have contributed to this Guide.

 

The event began with a welcome by Lord Mayor of Belfast; followed by Cllr Oliver Tully; Chief Executive Louth Co Co, Joan Martin; Minister Mark Durkan; Mickey  Brady MLA; and Steven Agnew MLA.  Other speakers included, Colin King, Director BRE UK and Paul McAllister, a Passivhaus Architect. Colin King's presentation was particularly eye-opening and to the point, and included some telling images of common bad building practices and failures. Also from the floor, Tom Woolley, Rachel Bevan Architects; Liam Brown, Enviroform Ltd; Raymond Moan, Quality Timber frame; Paula Moan, Beam Vacuum & Ventilation; Olann Herr of Herr Ltd;  and finally, Peter Smith of Ecological provided a brief presentation and summarised their input to the publication. Peter also met up with the ubiquitous Pat Barry of the Irish Green Building Council -he seems to be everywhere..how does he do it?!    We were invited to finish a successful launch with a good lunch at the Stormont Hotel before heading our separate ways. 

 

The Smart Eco Hub Sustainable Building Guide can be downloaded from the following link: SmartEcoGuide

 

If you wish to receive a free hard copy of the guide, we have a limited number available on request to our Irish and UK customers. To order one please mail niallcrosson@ecologicalbuildingsystems.com

 

 

 

 

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Posted on Tuesday, 5 May 2015

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