Black Architecture’s Tony Duckworth reports
Its two years since I last attended EcoBuild, so I was eager to see how the new venue compared to Earls Court and how the bigger manufacturers would use their larger show space to entice us into their stands so they can zap us for their database and product literature.
They didn’t disappoint, using ipads’s, 3D TV’s and an Xbox kinetic to display their products, it seems the manufacturers are using all the latest technologies to promote themselves. There’s also the added bonus of winning an ipad, just drop your card into a box or test your skill on a coin toss!
Walking round the arenas it was evident that there are more demonstration areas and manufactures are running their own seminars alongside that on offer from the main EcoBuild programme. Saint-Gobain has a technical academy which shows how you can retrofit your house with internal or external insulation, they even have a simulator for showing how good you are at applying the insulation.
The Green Deal and Feed in Tariff initiatives are also well represented with building suppliers like Travis Perkins bringing their Sustainable Building Solutions display, the one stop shop for the Green Deal, and over half of the north arena filled with solar panels, solar water heaters and all other things solar.
Universities are using the show to promote their degree courses and products with Kingston University’s rematerialise sustainable materials library and my old university, Huddersfield, promoting their surface design course with some interesting products using concrete and elastic bands.
Continuing the interesting and innovative theme, the innovation zone has a selection of products ranging from minimising plasterboard waste to sustainable self sufficient flat pack buildings…all vying for your vote. One such product from Encos, who have developed a binding technology, waste vegetable oil, which is mixed with waste aggregates and fines and fired at 140oC to produce bricks, blocks & slips. They state that their bricks produce 87kilo/tonne of CO2 compared to 239kilo/tonne for a standard brick.
There are a lot of products on display at the show, and most of them are very similar to each other, as previous shows it seems the small independent innovative companies are being forced out or moved to the less travelled corridors, but amongst the increasing living wall displays, PV panels, renewable energy products I did find a few interesting products.
Following on from their W + W combined toilet and basin ROCA have produced a new concept for the wall hung toilet, the ‘In-Tank Meridian’. It incorporates the cistern in its interior, making it both easy to install and a highly-suitable product in areas where space is limited.
Tarmac has combined their TermoDeck system with embedded pipework to produce HydroDeck. The embedded water pipes maintain the thermal mass at a stable temperature, enhancing the effects of radiant heat transfer to the room. The pipework can be connected to ground source heat pumps.
Marmox have developed Thermoblock, and insulated block to stop the thermal bridge between a brick/ block wall and the floor. The extruded polystyrene blocks have a Varity of sizes and a minimum compressive strength of 6.5N/mm2.
And a Dulux dog!
After a long day walking round I just had time to attend the Reflections on Practice seminar, which was chaired by Professor Dean Hawkes and contained presentations by Rab Bennetts, Peter Clegg and Bill Dunster who discussed how they came to be interested in and become early adopters of sustainable architecture, a very interesting and at times humorous reflection on their careers and where they see sustainable architecture going.
by Tony Duckworth of Black Architecture