Sustainable Materials And Technologies Advice For Annex Building Construction Essay

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The responsibility on this part of the project is to explore and analyze different eco friendly materials and sustainable technologies which can incorporate with the existing building to produce a high efficient result taking also into account the importance of the building (great II listed). Furthermore, the opinion of quantity surveyors about the cost aspects and the list of available options from the research area, open the way to identify, which technologies can suit the structure and materials that will be more efficient.

The most appropriate method of doing research about different technologies for a eco-friendly / sustainable result is to use the most recent sources of knowledge that can be find only in websites. After a quick search at green websites about structures it can be seen that there are 3 basic categories. The first one is the category in technologies which use renewable sources as sun and wind. The second category is technologies / systems that use natural aspects as rain harvesting and green roofs. Both aspects of those categories are difficult to apply because of the restrictions and limitation of works that can take place external. Lastly in the third category are, efficient materials or technologies that can avoid energy loss of the structure and therefore, save money for energy bills and also in long term reduce the environmental damage.

Mechanical Ventilation Heating Recovery System

The job of MVHR systems is to remove directly damp and stale air from areas such as basement and bathrooms, outside and at the same time bring in filtered fresh air to all the spaces of the building. The innovation on this system is that during the process, the warm damp and stale air transfers their heat to the fresh drawn in air from outside with 90% - 95% efficiency. In contrast in summer period it can act as a passive background cooling system. Moreover the mechanical ventilation heating recovery system is compatible with Building Regulations ventilation requirements. It has low maintenance requirements and low energy needs for the components, minimizing the electrical energy usage. The building is supplied with good quality cleaned air and the system can reduce humidity below 70%. At the operation period the noise is kept at very low level. Although the fan units used in MVHR systems are more efficient than ac motors. The system can provide a "Bypass" facility with intelligent temperature sensing, that prevents and minimize unnecessary heating or cooling of the supplied air. The supply and extract airflows and rates can be also fine tuned in each room of the building. Complete design and installation services are available for professional companies. Finally "Efficiencies" in operation can reach 100%. (, (

1.2 Combined Heat and Power Boiler

It is well known as CHP, it is commonly used in Commercial buildings which have high needs of thermal usage and assistant electric energy for 24 hours per day. The total efficiency of the system its between 75% to 85%. Because of the fact that use otherwise lost energy (heat) to produce electricity, it can reduce energy cost and reach savings of 40%. It has to be also mentioned that the system provides lower rates power in comparison with electric utility and as a result reduce the electric energy needs and charges. Moreover one of the most important advantage of the system is the major cut off emissions including NOx, SOx and CO2. Finally the system because of the high efficiency and payback part of the electricity production, can be recoup the whole cost between two to three years. The efficiency of the whole system can be increased using heating controls and room thermostats wisely. (

1.3 Condensing Boiler Systems

This kind of system has many similarities with combined heat and power boiler. In general the high efficiency of the system is because of heating loss recovery, the same concept as CHP. The deference is that condensing boilers does not produce electricity, its taking advantage of the heating loss from boiler to reduce the fuel needs. The efficiency compared to standard boiler systems, from manufacturer's states is 98% in ideal situation of atmospherically ventilated buildings. Both of the system commonly use natural gas as fuel resource, a fuel which is one of the most green and economical solutions. (

2.1 Under Floor Heating

Under floor heating is taking advantage of heat conduction and radiant heat to stabilize and keep the temperature in a comfortable level, in comparison with air forced heating which is depended on convection. The system can be fitted under of all types of covering floors as wooden and concrete, both on basement, ground and upper floors. For the production of comfortable temperature in a building, the efficient metallic ribbon technology or water pipes can be used to reduce the power needs in a level which is difficult for an alternative system to succeed. The reason of the systems energy efficiency is the difference of radiant heating in comparison with convective heating which requires 2° C - 4° C more for a comfortable temperature result in a building. Installing systems which use radiant heat gives the opportunity to get the most natural and comfortable form of heat without taking the necessary level of humidity off. Because of the systems nature, the heat converts floor to a huge, temperature heat source. This leads to the reduction of heat loss through roof areas and windows. Using this system can also reduce and help the pollution problem, as the system doesn't produce carbon dioxide emissions in the operation of heating by an oil or gas boiler. The system operation can offer results very fast (3 - 4 minutes) producing the optimum temperature. It is also invisible and silent because it doesn't use any noisy equipment as fans or blowers. Finally, according to the international safety standard and other approval bodies as NEMKO (Europe), NF (France) and UL (USA) there isn't any risk of using under floor systems neither for occupants either for floor surface. (

3.1 LED systems

LED technology is the most efficient choice at the moment in market. It has also long operational span life which can reach 100,000 hours in contrast of 5000 hours of incandescent bulbs. Using simple maths it can be seen that a LED lamp can be switched on for 11 or more years continually without replacement needs. At the mean time, if incandescent bulb technology was used for 11 years, it should be required to change 20 or more lamps. That is the basic advantage at the cost argument between LED technology and traditional bulb technology. The extra cost of replacement, labor expense and time needed to change bulbs. This cost can increase significantly in commercial buildings. Moreover the efficiency of LED technology is 80% in comparison with incandescent option that is 20%. In simple words that means that 80% of electricity in LED case transforms in light and the 20% observes in atmosphere as heat. In traditional lightning methods we have the exact opposite result, 20% light and 80% heat. In a scenario which a 100 watt traditional lamp is used for a year with a bill cost 10 pens per KW/h, 88 pounds on bills. The 70 pounds of the whole amount used for heating the space and only 17 pounds for lightning. In the situation of an 80% efficient LED bulb used, the bills cost should be only 23 pounds for the whole year. That's a 65 pounds saving per year. (

3.2 Tubular fluorescent systems

The tubular fluorescent technology exists for about 70 years already and is the second more efficient available method in the market. It can accede 70% in efficiency. In comparison with incandescent bulb the operational life still high. Is somewhere in the middle between LED and traditional lamps. The fluorescent systems are more common used in areas as offices that wide spread lightning is needed. In contrast LED technology started more as spot light provider but in nowadays with the variety of reflectors that are available it can be used for any function. The huge disadvantage of the tubular fluorescent lamp is that is very long and unpleasant picture on the ceiling. Moreover some people also find the lightning of fluoresce irritating because of the bluish colour and the flicker phenomenon. Finally the bigger environmental disadvantage of fluoresce is that use mercury which is a highly toxic heavy metal as metal halide, mercury-vapor and sodium lamps also consists. That metal can escape to the environment any time after the lamp stays unused. (, (

4.1 Sky Lights, Sun Tubes / Pipes

Roof light systems as sky lights or sun tubes / pipes are responsible to bring the natural light which hit the roof inside the building. The basic deference between sky lights and sun tubes / pipes systems is that sky light can transfer light only to the last storey areas which exist under the roof structure. In contrast sun tubes / pipes can bring light to any room of the building from the basement until the last storey. Installing these kinds of systems in a building can save energy by reduce the needs for artificial lighting using electricity. Although for humans there are positive benefits of natural light instead of artificial lighting. There is no heat loss in winter or solar gain in summer months because of the double glazed Low-E coated which use for both systems. For sun tubes / pipes system there is no limitation in the length or bends of the tubes and therefore is suitable for all pitched and flat roofs. Furthermore for the sun tubes / pipes system no structural alterations required, it can easily fit between joists and rafters. Both systems are highly durable and it doesn't need frequent maintenance, although the maintenance cost is in very low level and in some systems it is provide for the manufacturer for free. The security fixings supplied as standard, the systems are virtually burglar-proof and vandal resistant. It can be installed simple, normally within 2-3 hours. It is ideal for common rooms, bathrooms, stairways, corridors and dark areas. Finally the systems comply with current BS476 fire rating and also with current CDM Health & Safety requirements. (

5.1 Double / Triple Glazed

Double glazing surfaces reduce twice heat lost through windows and any other glazed surfaces of a building in compare with single glazing surfaces. The reason of cutting half heating lost is not only the two layers of glass but also the air which is trapped between them. It creates an insulating barrier which is also responsible except heat loss reduction, for noise and condensation reduction. Moreover by installing double glazing surfaces in a building it could save around £135 a year on heating bills. Finally for more efficiency it can be used double low-E glazing and double vacuum glazing, that is two and four times more effective than plain double glazing. Another alternative is triple glazing that is not so wide spread solution in UK as double glazing. Although it can give to the building extra points on heating efficiency and as a result it will corporate better with MVHR system. Furthermore is more suitable than double glazing for structures which exist near busy roads because of their much better efficiency in sound insulation. Finally the cost of triple glazing is in general 20% to 40% greater than double glazing.

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After a bunch of ideas of my group mates and searching on web trying to find the most suitable materials, technologies and construction methods for the current project I found and I listed them in table A that presents underneath. It is decided to incorporate at the project the technologies and materials that are highlight in the table. Above it doesn't integrate all the research material; It is analyzed the most suitable for the project.

As a result for the research the sustainable scheme includes, first of all the strengthen of insulation system of the whole structure by the replacement of the existing insulation at the cavity walls with eco friendly glass mineral wool insulation. For the completion of structure insulation, insulated plaster boards will be fitted on the internal surface of the roof at loft areas. Moreover double glazed windows will help to achieve a higher level of thermal and sound efficiency of the building.

To reduce and prevent dampness and condensation to the structure which already exists in basement area, mechanical ventilation heating recovery system can be used. The system will be responsible to supply ventilated fresh air in all structure spaces and also emphasized to areas such as W.C's and basement. Moreover the system except ventilation provides also heated air. As a result it can be an assistance of the main heating system. In basement and first floor will be hidden above the suspended ceiling of gypsum tiles and in ground floor the system will be exposed to give a modern approach to the high ceiling structure.

The source will be a CHP gas boiler which is commonly used in commercial buildings. It is a high efficiency system which also produces some income by electricity production. For this reason it is high selectable source for structures that aren't air tight enough. The source will provide heated water to the under floor pipes (under floor heating) for basement and ground floor areas that will be completed by ceramic tiles on top for maximum efficiency. On first floor a raised floor will take place to let all the services under it and as a result, double panel emitter radiators will be installed. To increase the efficiency of both systems it is strongly recommended room thermostats, valves for radiators and heating controllers to be used. CHP can also produce hot water for building needs but it is essential for this amount of water to be kept in an insulated tank. (

More over to make some savings and also a more sustainable structure, skylights and sun pipes will include in the scheme. That means that natural light can occur in areas without windows such as basement and corridors. Using low voltage lamps installation inside the tubes enough light can be produced for save lighting in dark hours. All the lighting internal and external should be produced with LED technology. It is well known that this technology is the most expensive at the time because is new in the market but it's also the most efficient and after installation the bill costs decreasing dramatically. Another similar level efficient product is fluorescent lights which can be used in area space lightning to reduce the cost of initial lightning installation. Moreover using lighting controls such as Infra-red (PIR) sensors, the lights switch on and off according to human movement. This can drag the savings level on bills to zenith. Finally little aspect as eco friendly paint, carpets and gypsum tiles can increase the green footprint of the building.

Revised list of sustainable materials and technologies

Available Options



Mechanical Ventilation Heating Recovery System

Needs Assistant method

Under Floor Heating

Water supplied


Water supplied

1 option

High efficiency condensing boilers

2 option


Heating controls / room thermostat


Hot water tank insulation

Loft insulation

Plaster board

Cavity wall insulation

Replacement - eco friendly glass mineral wool insulation


Double Glazed windows

Low-E coating


Lighting installation (LED technology)

Internal and external

Fluorescent Lights

Area lightning

Lighting controls

Infra-red (PIR) sensors

Natural Light

Sky Lights

Double Low-E glazing / limited heat loss

Sun Tubes / Pipes

Double Low-E glazing / limited heat loss


Eco paint

Water savings products in W.C

Eco friendly carpet

Eco friendly gypsum tiles

Suspended ceiling