14 RCI 0514

RCI May 2014

NEWS Zink Copper Stainless Response to Jablite’s April issue article: Are the current testing regimes for new product development fit for purpose? Jon Denyer, senior scientist at the BBA (British Board of Agrément), responds to the questions raised by Steve Broadhurst, Jablite’s technical services manager, in the April issue of RCI (p 48) After reading Steve’s article, l was sympathetic to his central argument in which he challenges current laboratory testing regimes and questions whether it would be better for specifiers, architects and building users to independently monitor real life trialling of new products. There are certainly areas where the need for reliable ‘real life’ performance data is undeniable, and its scarcity is an indication of the difficulty in obtaining this data. A good case in point is the ‘performance gap’ between the expected heat loss from buildings and the actual heat loss. Over the past few decades platforms such as Dynastee, IEA ANNEX 58, CEN workshop 36 and, more recently, CEN TC89 WG13, which I convene, have been researching test methods that can more accurately characterise these heat losses. There are various difficulties which include, but are not confined to, variability in product properties, designs and workmanship, multiple and constantly varying climatic conditions such as temperature, wind, sun, moisture and, not forgetting, behaviour of building occupants. All this adds to the uncertainty in the role played by a single insulation product. It is perhaps a symptom of these difficulties that there is today just one standard for measuring in-situ heat loss, i.e. ISO 9869, and even this includes some severe limitations on its application. For any product covered by a harmonised product standard, CE marking is a mandatory requirement of the CPR. This ensures that the product properties are determined and declared in a consistent way across Europe. It is then up to users Further incentives announced to try and rescue the Government’s Green Deal scheme 014 MAY 2014 RCIMAG.COM / specifiers to decide if a product’s declared properties are suitable for a particular design / regulation in any one country. In the UK, a BBA Certificate can ‘complement’ CE marking by identifying the extent to which the product’s declared properties will contribute to UK constructions meeting the UK Building Regulations. For products / applications not covered by a harmonised product standard, and in the interests of consistency, the BBA will respect the state of the art in terms of the latest test and design methodologies that represent a national or an international consensus. In the absence of such standards, the BBA’s reputation and unrivalled experience of testing and assessing innovative building products and estimating the longevity of performance, makes the BBA the natural choice for many John Denyer, senior scientist at the BBA manufacturers, both within and outside of the UK. So, in conclusion, while I do sympathise with Steve’s overall aim, I think we are still a long way from achieving consistent, repeatable and reliable data from in-situ performance testing. The BBA is, however, actively contributing to this end via BSI, CEN and the Zero Carbon Hub and will incorporate any fully developed or standardised new test methods in BBA Certificates as and when they are available. Homeowners will soon be able to claim money back from a new Green Deal fund to help pay for energy efficiency measures. From June 2014, the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) will offer up to £7,600 to households in England and Wales. Up to £6,000 will be available to cover 75% of the installation costs of solid wall insulation (SWI), while £1,000 can be claimed back for the installation of two approved measures. The new scheme also offers an additional £500 to those who have bought a property in the previous 12 months, and is also open to private and social landlords. Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “I want households across the country to benefit from more energy efficient homes and reduced bills through the Green Deal, and that is what the new home incentive will do.” Made public on May 1, the scheme has received mixed reactions from the various construction sectors affected by the new incentives. Ray Horwood, CEO of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), told RCI: “It has been clear for some time that the Green Deal was not working. There are a number of reasons for this but in a nutshell the scheme, despite considerable potential, has been far too complicated in implication and in financial terms, with little to no incentive to the consumer to take it up.” He continued: “We welcome any initiative that addresses these fundamental weaknesses to a scheme that is urgently needed to improve our housing and building stock. I suspect, however, that there is some ground to make up in the PR stakes before the consumer embraces this fully.” The National Insulation Association (NIA) took to Twitter when news broke of the GDHIF and said: Steven Heath, director of Public Affairs and Strategy for Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, said: “There is a very notable absentee from the list of approved measures: loft insulation. “To not include this in the measures means we are likely to continue to see boilers installed without cost effective loft insulation offered. “SWI can now receive a £6,000 subsidy without a requirement or cash back incentive to install loft insulation if it is recommended. So once again, we see a Government scheme incentivising an expensive measure at the individual property level but ignoring a cost effective one.” There have been more positive reactions to the GDHIF. Wetherby Building Systems’ sales director Paul Kirby said: “Finally the Government has listened to the industry and made steps to improve the Green Deal incentive scheme. It is encouraging news for the EWI industry, which has suffered in the wake of the Government’s cuts to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. “The EWI industry was geared up for a surge in installations following the launch of the Green Deal last January, which never came. Hopefully this is the kick start that the industry needed.” Despite some reservations, the UK Green Building Council has also approved of the new incentives; John Alker, director of Policy and Communications, said: “We welcome this package of measures which represents a genuine attempt to rescue the Green Deal and shows that Government remains committed to home energy efficiency. The increased cash-back for SWI is particularly encouraging following the cuts to ECO. “But this isn’t ‘problem solved’ for the Green Deal. The scheme’s initial cash-back went unspent so it’s important that history doesn’t repeat itself. While this new package will certainly help, Government still needs to go further to make energy efficiency more attractive.” Measures available under GDHIF: - Condensing gas boiler (on mains gas) - Double glazing (replacing single glazing) - Secondary glazing - Replacement doors - Condensing gas boiler (on mains gas) - Cavity wall insulation - Floor insulation - Flat roof insulation - Room-in-roof insulation - Replacement warm air unit - Replacement storage heaters - Flue gas heat recovery units - Waste water heat recovery systems 01992 801927 www.almhm.co.uk


RCI May 2014
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