24 July 2024
Metcor appoints new Group Managing Director
24 July 2024
New office sparks expansion push for Arc Electrical
24 July 2024
Members urged to contribute to neutral current diversion research
23 July 2024
ECA praises the King's Speech
23 July 2024
FMB comments on the creation of Skills England

Latest News

Baxi heat pumps employed in Scottish housing project
A development of 16 social homes designed and built to achieve the Passivhaus standard has been constructed in Dalbeattie, Dumfries and Galloway with the support of Baxi and its air source heat pump solutions and services. To play its part in the delivery of these new net zero homes for Loreburn Housing Association, heating contractor James Frew required a solution that would provide sustainable heat to the properties; in this case, air source heat pumps. The team then needed to find a strategic partner that would be able to offer the solutions and on-site support to implement the technology. Facing stringent design requirements to make the homes efficient and low carbon, James Frew decided to partner with Baxi to benefit from its full range of support services, training and efficient products. Designed By Architect, Robert Potter and Partners and built by main contractor Ashleigh (Scotland), the two and three-bedroom properties were to meet the highest standards of energy efficiency and comfort – part of Loreburn’s commitment to delivering new homes fit for the future. This type of home will play a key role as local authorities and housing associations such as Loreburn look to deliver new homes in line with the New Build Heat Standard (Scotland) or Future Homes Standard. Using the Passivhaus model, the entire home had to be designed around achieving the best energy efficiency as well as the heating source being a heat pump. This involved specifying not only the insulation and windows to meet the standard, but also the correctly sized heat pump for each home. Space was also a consideration in the homes. The design needed to guarantee there was ample room for the internal and external elements of the heat pump solution, without compromising on comfort for tenants. The James Frew team worked closely with Baxi’s experts – Specification Manager, Craig McVicar, and Engineering Solutions Manager, Ryan Kirkwood – to ensure the correct specification of heat pump for the design requirements of each house. Baxi’s air source heat pumps, compatible cylinders and uSense controls were specified to provide the heating and hot water provision for each of the 16 homes through three radiators. As part of Baxi’s heat pump service, the team of engineers had access to the company’s specialist training to allow them to become familiar with the specified solution and be confident in installing it before the project began. They also benefitted from expert support on site, ensuring the full system was designed correctly and could be installed within the space. Baxi’s Commissioning Engineers, Michael Murray and Adam Stock, were on hand to oversee the commissioning of each of the heat pumps and make certain they would operate as expected once in place at each home. Evan Peat, Senior Contract Manager at James Frew, says, “From tender to completion, it has been great to have the support of Baxi’s expert service throughout the process. The design support and training meant the team had peace of mind that the most suitable products would be going into the homes and that our engineers were comfortable with the installation of them. “It was also really important to have the support on site from Craig and Ryan. Having their expertise on the ground meant we were able to overcome this challenge and still meet the Passivhaus standard.” Rob Pearse, Director of Distribution Sales at Baxi UK, adds, “This innovative project is a great example of how collaboration and consultation can result in amazing results for delivering net zero social housing. As heating solutions experts, we can work closely with social housing providers and their appointed contractors to consider the different approaches for low-carbon heating, selecting the most suitable combination of solutions for the application. “Whether it is a new build project to Passivhaus standard like this one or decarbonising existing developments through retrofit, we are committed to providing the complete home service to our social housing clients.” Alison Maxwell, Project Delivery Officer for Loreburn HA, comments, “The standard of these homes is testament to Loreburn’s commitment to building warm and highly energy efficient homes, where technology and intelligent design come together to create a sustainable future for our tenants”. Speaking about his experience of living in one of the properties, Alan Vinnie, a Loreburn tenant, notes, “It will really help to lower my energy bills, which is a huge relief. You can really notice the change in the air and it’s so quiet. I think all future builds should be of this quality”. For more from Baxi, click here.

Johnson Controls enhances efficiency of Paris Olympics venues
Thanks to the latest technology from Johnson Controls, fans at the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris are set to enjoy a more comfortable experience at some of the smartest and most energy-efficient stadiums on the continent. By integrating advanced building automation systems, HVAC and fire suppression technologies across eight venues, the company is not only helping the International Olympic Committee prioritise safety and operational efficiency, but also is contributing to the Committee's ambitious goal of reducing the event's carbon footprint by 50% compared to previous Olympic Games. Achieving this goal required making the building infrastructure behind the games' venues more energy efficient and sustainable. For example, two of the latest innovations of Johnson Controls' York 3.3 MW industrial chillers are in operation at the new cooling production plant, the La Chapelle plant, located in the Adidas Arena sports and cultural complex. As the twelfth power plant in the city of Paris' cooling network, it meets the cooling needs of the Adidas Arena and the surrounding area. This equipment provides sustainable and energy-efficient cooling at one of the flagship sites of the Olympic Games. "With temperatures rising year on year and heatwaves becoming the norm, the need for sustainable cooling technology is critical to ensure optimal conditions in venues while minimising the impact on the planet," says Marc Vandiepenbeeck, CFO and EMEALA President for Johnson Controls. "Chillers are one of the most energy-consuming pieces of equipment in a building and represent an important opportunity to cut energy use and cost, while minimising carbon footprint and delivering a healthier indoor environment." A further example is a renowned tennis stadium where the Johnson Controls Metasys building automation system links the most vital building equipment including HVAC, lighting control and energy management. The system controls and monitors performance and provides real-time data so that facility managers can identify potential issues, make adjustments and ensure the stadium is running as efficiently and sustainably as possible. Marc continues, "We are proud to work with these prestigious venues and help our customers achieve their desired outcomes in energy efficiency, carbon reduction emissions, safety, security and building management. Our expertise in smart stadiums and large venues has made Johnson Controls the partner of choice for stadiums across the world and we continue to innovate in this space to further elevate the fan experience." Johnson Controls drives fan engagement, operational efficiency and sustainability with innovative building technology at sports and entertainment venues across the globe. The company provides smart buildings solutions to Intaleq in Doha, Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, O2 Arena in London, Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Chase Centre in San Francisco, Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park, and more. It offers its full range of technologies for this sector including its OpenBlue digital platform, building automation system, HVAC, fire detection and suppression. For more from Johnson Controls, click here.

New Advanced CPD set to combat false fire alarms
Advanced, a global provider of fire safety solutions, has announced the launch of its latest Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course - named Managing False Fire Alarms: Tools & Techniques. This course addresses one of the fire industry's most persistent challenges, offering professionals the expertise needed to mitigate false fire alarms effectively. Managing False Fire Alarms – Tools & Techniques is a comprehensive, free CPD course that addresses the common causes of false alarms, their impact on safety and business continuity, as well as exploring effective strategies for mitigation. Attendees will gain in-depth knowledge of: • Alarm verification techniques • Investigation delays • BS EN54-2 compliance • Controlled evacuation strategies tailored to various building types. This course is delivered by members of the Advanced team with decades of industry experience and is ideal for consultants, fire risk assessors, facilities managers, health and safety professionals, and anyone involved in ensuring fire safety. Attendees will enhance their understanding of false alarm reduction techniques, crucial for maintaining safety, efficiency and business continuity. Matt Jones, Head of Sales for the UK & Ireland at Advanced, comments: “At Advanced, we are dedicated to raising industry standards through education. Competency in the fire safety industry is crucial, and our new CPD course on managing false fire alarms is another important step in equipping fellow fire-industry professionals with the latest tools and techniques to effectively reduce false and unwanted fire alarm incidents.” Advanced continues to promote industry knowledge through its range of CPD courses, which also includes A Guide to BS 8629, offering practical tips and insight into the key points of the BS 8629:2019+A1:2023 Code of Practice, covering the design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance of evacuation alert systems for fire and rescue services in buildings containing flats. To widen understanding of the BS 5266-1 Code of Practice for the emergency lighting of premises, Advanced also runs regular sessions covering The Best Route to Compliance for Your Emergency Lighting. Advanced CPDs hold approvals from the FIA and CPD Certification Service, with participants receiving a certificate of attendance upon successful completion of each course. Anyone interested in enhancing their skills and knowledge can register for the Managing False Fire Alarms CPD course by clicking here.

Energy & Utility Skills celebrates 25th anniversary
Industry skills body, Energy & Utility Skills, is celebrating 25 years of collaborating with employers, regulators, governments and agencies across the UK. For over a quarter of a century, the business has identified workforce and skills needs, adapting to many challenges, and delivering solutions to meet employers’ needs. Celebrating the anniversary on 22 July, Phil Beach CBE, CEO of Energy & Utility Skills, says, “This milestone reflects our success in collaborating with our members, government and key stakeholders to help deliver the skills that employers need. “Our recent company party celebrated the wealth of experience and knowledge within our team and everything we have accomplished together. As skills and workforce experts, we’re proud of our work to set industry standards and deliver high-quality apprenticeship assessments, qualifications and schemes. We’re looking forward to continuing our work in support of industry and the UK’s ambitions for achieving net zero and environmental goals in the years ahead.” The organisation began in 1999 as the Gas Industries National Training Organisation (GINTO). In 2003, it began trading as Energy & Utility Skills and was awarded its licence to operate as a Sector Skills Council by the Department for Education and Skills. The Energy & Utility Skills Register (EUSR), which was launched in 2005, improves workforce safety and regulatory compliance through quality assurance, scheme development and a register of skills. Partnering with industry to provide a trusted, authoritative voice ensures a skilled, competent workforce. In 2006, EUSR launched the National Water Hygiene scheme, standardising hygiene training across water companies to ensure compliance with regulatory standards. EUSR is also the CSCS Alliance Partner for all on-site utilities work. In 2015, the business reacted to apprenticeship reform by launching Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service (EUIAS). It carried out the first end-point assessments in the country for the Power Network Craftsperson standard in 2016. Last year, the business expanded to develop qualifications to support the sector’s skills requirements. Energy & Utility Skills provides a strategic voice on all skills issues, ensuring the right schemes, qualifications, apprenticeships, assessments and funding are in place across the UK. It supports the delivery of the workforce required to meet the UK’s energy and utilities infrastructure demands. Membership secures a seat at this influential table, enabling engagement as an industry with government, regulators and other key influencers, while receiving sector intelligence, research and insights to strategically drive their industry forward. Phil Beach adds, "Our industries underwrite the UK’s ambitions to tackle the impacts of climate change through the drive to net zero and environmental improvements. A safe, skilled and sustainable workforce is critical for achieving these goals and we bring industry together to champion skills issues.” With this in mind, the inaugural Energy & Utility Skills Conference and Awards will be held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on 10 September 2024. With significant changes ahead, the conference will focus on skills and jobs related to the green agenda and achieving net zero, sharing knowledge and celebrating excellence.

NICEIC safety campaign shortlisted for excellence award
NICEIC, the UK’s leading certification body in the building services sector, has announced that its ‘Don’t Do DIY Electrics’ campaign has been shortlisted for the Best Marketing Project at the Association Excellence Awards. Held since 2015, these awards highlight best practice and excellence among industry bodies, professional membership organisations, and trade unions in the UK and Europe. NICEIC's creative campaign was launched to raise public awareness to not attempt DIY electrics and the importance of using a competent, certified professional. It has seen a surge in consumer interest, driving close to a quarter of a million householders to find their local NICEIC-certified business through its ‘Find a trusted NICEIC tradesperson’ online tool. It emphasises “The safest way to do DIY electrics... is NOT to do DIY electrics.” Sarah Gammon, Head of Marketing and Communications at NICEIC, comments, “I am incredibly proud the Don’t Do DIY Electrics campaign has received this recognition. Electrical work in the home can be dangerous if not completed by a qualified and competent electrician. We really wanted to disrupt consumer behaviour with the aim to not only make householders think twice about undertaking DIY electrics, but also to consider the smart and safe choice, which is to search for and use an NICEIC-certified business. I want to say a huge thank you to the team who have been involved in this for all their hard work. The response has been fantastic.” The winners will be announced at a lunchtime Awards Ceremony at the QEII Centre, Westminster, London on Friday 8 November 2024. To view the campaign and find out more, visit niceic.com/dontdiy. For more from NICEIC, click here.

Lithe unveils new sound integration option for smart home systems
Lithe Audio, the UK's renowned audio brand, has unveiled a new integration option for its award-winning Pro Series and Wi-Fi active ceiling speakers with the Nice/ELAN smart home platform. The breakthrough integration brings a host of benefits, including all the expected features such as music transport control, multi-room functionality, source and favourites setting. There is also one standout feature for the Pro Series model, Lithe says - which is the embedding of chimes and tones, as well as doorbell and intruder alert sounds, directly within the internal memory of the speakers. One of the most significant advantages of this integration is the solution it offers to long-standing issues in the smart audio world. By embedding chimes and sounds in the internal memory of the speakers, Lithe Audio has eradicated the problems of latency, buffering and timeouts that have plagued the audio integration experiences for years. No longer reliant on cloud source files, this innovation guarantees an enhanced level of performance and consistency. The chimes, tones and various sounds crucial to seamless audio interactions are now stored within the speaker’s internal memory. This ensures that users experience smooth and uninterrupted audio, free from the hiccups that can occur due to network connectivity issues. In addition to resolving these issues, the integration takes the Lithe Audio experience to a new level, the company says. The embedded sounds can now be harnessed by integrators and program these sound libraries for a range of smart features. This includes doorbells, alarms, CCTV, and boundary control, providing a comprehensive audio solution for both residential and commercial settings for both music and smart home automations. Wesley Siu, Managing Director of Lithe Audio, shares his excitement about the integration with Nice/ELAN, stating, "Our speaker system stands out because the sounds and chimes are stored directly in the speakers, not in the cloud. This eliminates issues with latency or failures to play, ensuring that announcements are always instantly available." With the integration of Nice/ELAN, users can not only enjoy a rich audio experience but also control speaker functions and stream from multiple sources, making Lithe Audio speakers the heart of a modern smart home. Multi-room playback in up to five different zones adds an extra layer of convenience. This integration promises to elevate the Nice/ELAN community's audio offering, all without the need for complex installations or additional cabling. With Lithe Audio, it's as simple as connecting from the power or lighting circuit, opening up a new era in smart home audio, solving long-standing issues of running cables to hard to reach rooms and empowering a new wave of smart features. This integration with Nice/ELAN is set to redefine how we experience sound, offering a more reliable, sophisticated, and seamless audio solution for smarter homes. The new Nice/ELAN driver works with the Pro Series and Wi-Fi Ceiling Speakers. The Lithe Audio Pro Series ceiling speaker is a high-resolution all-in-one installation model that delivers high-quality audio coupled with an extensive feature set. These include a fully-integrated, built-in 60W RMS class D amplifier; streamer built-in; advanced WiSA technology for Dolby Atmos systems; Wi-Fi or hardwire data connection; and PoE power delivery for convenience of installation. The Lithe Wi-Fi ceiling speaker is an all-in-one wireless speaker system that delivers an easy-to-install ceiling speaker with an amplifier and streamer built in. With the addition of power and control through Elan controllers, keypads, or directly through Airplay, Chromecast, or Spotify Connect, music streaming is intuitive for the user and easy to fit for the installer. For more from Lithe Audio, click here.

Acrospire launches new EV charger brand
British exterior lighting manufacturer, Acrospire, has announced the formal launch of a new brand for the business, evpzee, dedicated to making electric vehicle (EV) charging simple and accessible. With a focus on on-street EV charging solutions, evpzee aims to revolutionise the EV charging landscape for street lighting engineers, housing developers, and contractors. "Our journey with evpzee began from a deep-rooted understanding of lighting infrastructure and our relentless pursuit of solving customer challenges," remarks Tim Barker, Managing Director of Acrospire and Director at sister brand, evpzee. Grounded in Acrospire's rich knowledge of lighting infrastructure, evpzee ventures into the EV charging arena with a commitment to simplicity and reliability. The transition from illuminating streets to powering vehicles underscores Acrospire's dedication to provide end-to-end solutions for its specifiers. "Entering the EV charging market was a natural progression for us," Tim continues. "Our extensive experience in addressing customer pain points, coupled with our proficiency in delivering turnkey solutions, positions evpzee as a game-changer in the industry." Leveraging existing assets for a sustainable future Central to evpzee's philosophy is the utilisation of existing assets and power networks. By capitalising on established infrastructure, evpzee not only minimises costs but also lays the groundwork for a sustainable and budget-conscious future. "Our vision with evpzee is to simplify the often-complicated process of EV charging, especially for local authorities and housing developers who are more accustomed to dealing with lighting infrastructure," Tim adds. "We believe that knowledge is paramount, and through sharing our expertise and fostering discussions on best practices, legislative changes, and technological advancements, we aim to make life easier for everyone involved." evpzee's flagship product is its 7kW on-column electric vehicle charging solution designed for overnight charging. Leveraging existing lamp posts, evpzee addresses the significant portion of UK car owners without off-street parking access. This approach promotes EV adoption and offers convenient, accessible, and cost-effective charging solutions. "We've designed and engineered our own UK-manufactured, OCPP-compliant solution with evpzee," Tim notes. "Rather than simply white-labelling another manufacturer's product, we took the time to develop a reliable, secure, and durable solution that aligns with our mission of making EV charging hassle-free." Advantages of on-column charging solutions By utilising existing infrastructure, evpzee's on-street lamp post charging solutions offer several advantages, including: - Reduced range anxiety through convenient on-street charging - Lower installation costs utilising existing power network, and quick plug-and-play implementation - Elimination of the need for extensive civil work with built-in O-PEN earthing and fault protection - Approved metering for reliable billing - Load balancing between chargers "While we identified the market opportunity over 18 months ago, we developed our solution meticulously rather than rushing to market," Tim explains. "With evpzee, our goal is not global dominance but rather becoming a trusted partner in the EV charging ecosystem, as we have within the lighting industry. That said, we do have the capacity to scale manufacturing to over 1,000 units a week, so we are well-prepared to meet increasing demand and support the widespread adoption of our technology as the market evolves." For councils, housing developers, and contractors seeking to facilitate EV adoption and address charging infrastructure shortfalls, evpzee offers a comprehensive on-column solution tailored to meet their needs. For more from Acrospire, click here.

Big brands back Circular Lighting Live 2024
Major lighting brands including Signify, Holophane, Glamox, ASD, Bell Lighting, Prime Light, Mymesh, Stoane Lighting, Light Projects Evolve, Trojan Lighting and Silent Design are all set to be involved in the upcoming Circular Lighting Live 2024 event. The companies have signed sponsorship and exhibiting deals for the one-day conference and exhibition, organised by lighting industry sustainability authority, Recolight, and billed as the UK’s largest event dedicated to sustainable lighting. "This is a major vote of confidence," says Nigel Harvey, CEO of Recolight. "These leading brands understand the direction of travel of the sector, which is towards a sustainable low-carbon future." The event, taking place at the Royal College of Physicians in London on Wednesday 9 October 2024, is designed to inspire and educate in equal measure with a programme exploring innovation in best practice, inspirational projects and design and procurement. It brings together lighting specifiers and suppliers to consider the practical ways we can collaborate to drive sustainability. A hierarchy of lighting This year’s event is themed by Recolight’s Hierarchy of Lighting, a philosophy of prioritisation which emphasises reuse and refurbishment in lighting projects. Circular Lighting Live 2024 features leading experts, specifiers, innovators and policy makers who will share their insights into forthcoming standards and legislation, emerging technologies and new business models. The keynote speaker is Signify Chief Design Officer, Ton Borsboom, who will explore how AI will accelerate product development and project design. Rachel Hoolahan, Associate at architectural practice, Orms, will explain how a new material passport scheme will work for luminaires; while Kael Gillam, Associate Lighting Designer at Hoare Lea, will untangle environmental data including EPDs, LCAs, TM66 and TM65. Other speakers include Irene Mazzei, Head of Development at Stoane Lighting, Jonathan Rush, Director at Hoare Lea, Paul Beale, Founder of 18 Degrees, and Neil McLean of Lutron and Chairman of the LIA’s sustainability working group. The conference is free to specifiers, and an early bird discounted booking rate for suppliers ends on Thursday 31 July. Further details and bookings are available at circularlighting.live. For more from Recolight, click here.

Tamlite calls on industry to embrace remanufacturing
Tamlite Lighting, one of the UK’s largest independent lighting manufacturers, is urging the lighting industry and the wider built environment sector to embrace remanufacturing as a step towards achieving net zero.   In a newly published white paper, Tamlite Lighting explores how significant sustainability gains can be made throughout the supply chain by applying remanufacturing processes in the lighting sector.   The paper introduces the concept of the circular economy and discusses the progress being made by the lighting industry in establishing more circular approaches for the sector.   Richard Wharrad, Group Manager & Head of Sustainability and Social Value at Tamlite Lighting, comments, “This paper reflects our commitment to work with the wider lighting industry to evolve a model of manufactured products, with minimal waste, that can be upgraded, serviced, reused, refurbished, or recycled to support energy saving.”   “Remanufacturing a luminaire can result in better-than-new performance for up to 40% less cost. By incorporating the latest technological advancements, bespoke upgrades enhance the product's capabilities beyond current market equivalents.”   The white paper, entitled Towards Net Zero: Can Remanufacturing Create a More Sustainable Future for Lighting? draws on Tamlite’s collaborative work with CIBSE and other industry bodies to support the development of remanufactured products. This includes initiatives such as CIBSE’s TM66 Circular Economy Assessment Methods (CEAM).   Importantly, the paper underlines the key role of specifiers in driving the uptake of circular economy principles for new lighting projects, and the need to engage all stakeholders in a project to promote a circular approach.   Richard continues, “By investing in innovative remanufacturing processes and constantly pushing for smarter and more sustainable solutions, lighting manufacturers can support the wider built environment in progressing towards a more sustainable future.   “However, more awareness about this sophisticated circular method is needed. We invite stakeholders from across the sector to participate in a discussion about how we can further promote the use of remanufactured products.”   To download a free copy of the paper, click here.   For more from Tamlite, click here.

Fergus announces partnership with TrustMark
Fergus, the job management software designed for tradespeople, has announced a partnership with TrustMark, the only UK Government Endorsed Quality Scheme for work carried out in and around the home. Alongside the 14-day free trial, members of TrustMark will now have the chance to access Fergus for the first three months for free and take advantage of 15% off for as long as they are a Fergus customer. The offer is open to all TrustMark registered businesses, giving them access to the beneficial rates. “We are delighted to be partnering with TrustMark and to offer its 17,000-plus registered businesses the opportunity to streamline and manage their workloads better, allowing them to focus on running their trade,” says Sam Buck, UK Partnerships Lead for Fergus. Menna Lewis, TrustMark’s Commercial Manager, adds, “Partnerships are key to building value for our TrustMark registered businesses and we’re delighted to welcome Fergus as one of our newest partners.” Fergus was founded by veteran plumber, Dan Pollard, in 2014 to solve the problems that had plagued his business for years. Since then, the software has developed into a favourite amongst growing trade businesses as it makes life simpler and cuts down on paper-based administration. Its users have the ability to know that every cost gets billed out and nothing gets missed with supplier invoice integrations. Invoices automatically get matched to a job in Fergus, and costs are instantly assigned to a job with one click. TrustMark members can access the offer by clicking here. For more from Fergus, click here.