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Ten to watch

The latest crop of green products can be easily integrated into a building’s fabric to solve common problems in innovative ways, writes Sandy Patience

Econovate blocks


These blocks boast impressive environmental features. The quantity of cellulose provides a high level of thermal performance, typically with a U-value of 0.13 through a conventionally constructed 370-400mm cavity wall using 7N blocks without the need for further insulation.

Manufacturer Econovate
Function Load-bearing masonry
Materials Waste paper and card, sand, 50% recycled content cement
Size (L x H x D) 440 x 215 x 100mm
Density 650kg/m3 to 970kg/m3
Load bearing capacity 3.5N, 7N (750kg/m3) and 10N
Thermal conductivity 0.074 to 0.25W/mK (depending on density)



Cool-Phase uses thermal storage to treat excess heat in offices and schools. Heat is absorbed by a phase-change material during the day and ventilated outside at night. In winter the process reverses. Monodraught claims energy use can be reduced by up to 90% compared to conventional systems.

Manufacturer Monodraught
Function Cooling, ventilation and heat recovery system
Size (L x H x D) 4,000 x 800 x 400mm
Weight 375kg
Normal ventilation rate 0.1 to 0.25m3/s
Maximum ventilation rate 0.35m3/s
Thermal energy storage 8kWh

Litel lintel


As thermal standards improve, attention focuses on other ways buildings lose heat. Significant non-repeating thermal bridging occurs through traditional steel lintels. Glass reinforced plastic is a good alternative to steel and this GRP lintel features a very low PSI value and is a light and effective load-bearer.

Manufacturer Material Edge
Function Cavity wall lintel
Material Glass-reinforced plastic (GRP)
Mass 5.96kg/m
For openings 400 to 1700mm
For cavities 75 to 100mm
PSI value 0.04W/mK (steel is 0.287W/mK)

Shower Heat Recovery 60


The SHRU 60 is a device for recovering heat from waste shower water to heat the incoming supply of cold mains water to the shower inlet. Waste water flows through the inner pipe, while clean cold water passes through the outer pipe. Waste water heat recovery is recognised with the SAP assessment process.

Company Itho UK
Function Water heat exchanger
Material Copper
Recommended flow rate 5.8 to 12.5 L/m
Heat exchange efficiency 53 to 63% flow-rate dependant
Overall length 2108mm
Overall diameter 42mm



An absence of holes and niches in ‘sealed envelopes’ means bird populations are falling. The Swift Box is an easily integrated way to return a bit of nature to our buildings while winning BREEAM approval. Insumate solves the problem by joining the fixing method to the support to ensure consistent installation.

Manufacturer EcoSurv
Function Wall-integrated bird box
Material Lightweight concrete
Size (L x H x D) 327x 140 x 200mm
Finishes Customised to suit brick, stonework or render
UK supplier Ecomerchant



This rigid format insulation bridges the gap between synthetic foams and other natural fibre materials. Made without synthetic binders and using 60 per cent recycled wool, the insulation is flexible and can be used to upgrade existing walls, between and below rafters, and in timber frame construction.

Manufacturer Second Nature
Function Rigid insulation
Board dimensions 1200 x 600mm
Thicknesses 50, 60, 75, and 100mm (custom up to 350mm)
Nominal density 45kg/m3
Thermal conductivity 0.035W/mK
Facing Paper or low-emissivity membrane

Rako Controls


Omitting the need for new wiring or intrusive re-wiring for retrofit, wireless technology can provide advanced lighting control. Modules are available to suit incandescent, low-voltage and fluorescent lighting to the latest LEDs. Systems can be any size and can also be controlled from an iPhone or Android app.

Manufacturer Rako Controls
Function Wireless lighting control
Controls Switching and dimmer
Module installation In-line with the lighting
Circuit module format Individual or rack-mounted



A set of early sustainable analysis tools used to develop bio-climatic responsive architecture, reduce energy demands and use light, sun, shade and wind for passive systems. Guided workflows take the user through how to get real-time feedback direct from climate data and 3D SketchUp/Revit models.

Company Integrated Environmental Solutions
Function Performance analysis software
Applications Early architectural performance analysis for sustainable design
Add-on capabilities Automated BREEAM and LEED credit assessmentsmodel connectivity SketchUp, Revit, gbXML, DXF, Trelligence Affinity, IESModelIT



Insumate solves a common problem with fitting insulation in suspended floors. Where nails or netting are the support, dimensional consistency can be difficult to maintain, leading to the insulation failing. Insumate integrates the fixing method with the support to ensure consistency and simple installation.

Manufacturer Insumate
Function Insulation support
Application Solid wood joists, ‘I’ joists and open web joists
Material Recycled polypropylene
Sizes For 400 and 600mm centres
Accepted for robust details E-FT-1, E-FT-2 and E-FT-3



One of the obstacles to specifying softwood windows is the maintenance needed to keep the wood protected from rot. A common solution is to use aluminium cladding over exposed areas. The Svarre solution pushes the glazing to the very front of the pane, where it can shield the timber, reducing maintenance.

Manufacturer Vrogum
Function High-performance window
Materials Glass, pinewood and aluminium sill
Glazing Triple
U-Value 0.9 (Ug) standard, though 0.5 is possible
Country of manufacture Denmark
UK supplier Ecomerchant

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