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New report maps out necessities for healthier hotel design in UK

As the hotel sector thrives amid the UK ‘staycation’ boom, a report has revealed opportunities for hotel design to include further wellbeing and comfort measures to meet changing expectations from prospective guests. This comes as research from a survey of 130 M&E contractors and architects working in hotel construction revealed

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Wellbeing at risk when converting shops into flats

Building specifiers and contractors must champion a healthy approach to M&E solutions when converting shops into flats according to REHAU, following claims from campaigners that this latest trend could lead to ‘low quality homes’. The move towards turning commercial premises into housing is already underway, with thinktanks like the Social

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REHAU echoes eco-conscious call to prioritise building retrofitting over demolition

Following calls from architectural experts to save on carbon emissions by upgrading older buildings instead of knocking them down, building designers and specifiers should consider retrofitting solutions to improve overall sustainability. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) estimates that a sizeable proportion of a building’s lifecycle carbon is emitted

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Underfloor heating and smart control questions answered

Contractors must be prepared for the growing popularity of smart control technology in residential and commercial building heating systems, according to Warming The Next Generation, a new downloadable guide from polymer specialists REHAU. With space heating methods continuing to change and develop as efficiency and sustainability becomes an increasing priority,

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024

rehau

New HVAC systems whitepaper tackles building sustainability and overheating issues

With the built environment contributing 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint and the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warning of the dangers of overheating buildings, a new whitepaper is highlighting the importance of sustainable HVAC systems to construction professionals. The new whitepaper, from polymer specialists REHAU, identifies issues around building overheating, air quality and sustainability, and the need to decarbonise new and existing buildings to meet net zero targets. Citing UK Green Building Council findings that heating and cooling is responsible for large quantities of buildings’ ‘in use’ emissions, it explores the impact of sustainable HVAC systems on construction. Following CCC warnings that not adapting the built environment to changing climates could pose major risks to occupant health from overheating, the whitepaper looks into thermally activated building structures (TABS) technology’s role in resolving this. A means of space heating and cooling, TABS uses pipework embedded within a building’s concrete structure, running either an elevated chilled water temperature for cooling requirements, or low-temperature hot water for the premises’ heating needs. “TABS is growing in popularity because they are economical and efficient, yielding up to a 47% reduction in annual energy costs when compared to traditional HVAC systems,” says Franz Huelle, Head of Technical at REHAU Building Solutions. “This is because whether for heating or cooling requirements, water flows of different temperatures influence the temperature of the building’s concrete structure. “By opting for such a system, specifiers eliminate the need to regulate temperatures in individual rooms with their own specific load requirements. Instead, the pipework allows the building’s mass and thermal dynamic behaviour to be used to maintain comfortable conditions, almost like a living organism.” Commonly used for larger buildings, TABS processes activate the large thermal mass of concrete structures, acting as a buffer for varying cooling or heating loads throughout the day. REHAU’s whitepaper explores the benefits of the technology’s high thermal inertia, large surface areas and radiative heating and cooling properties, including reduced carbon emissions and increased occupier health and comfort. Franz challenges: “When it comes to selecting an appropriate HVAC system, everything always comes down to one fundamental question – does this technology offer a compelling business case? As our new whitepaper identifies, given the pressures to deliver buildings that meet future sustainability needs, TABS should definitely be considered under these parameters. “For example, because these systems can continuously expel heat throughout the day, they are well-placed to tackle the urgent threat of buildings overheating in the warmer months. This is of particular importance as weather patterns become more extreme and high-performance insulation becomes the standard in new-build properties.  “Contractors, specifiers and developers may therefore need to engage more specialist assistance to meet these challenges and other longstanding priorities such as lowering construction and maintenance costs,” concludes Franz. “TABS’ ability to realise these benefits while decarbonising the nation’s building stock explains why building professionals should read this new whitepaper and explore the technology’s viability going forward.” For more information and to download REHAU’s new whitepaper, click here.

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New report maps out necessities for healthier hotel design in UK

As the hotel sector thrives amid the UK ‘staycation’ boom, a report has revealed opportunities for hotel design to include further wellbeing and comfort measures to meet changing expectations from prospective guests. This comes as research from a survey of 130 M&E contractors and architects working in hotel construction revealed that over half (52%) of respondents believe wellbeing is ‘value engineered’ out of projects later on in the build. As research suggests occupant wellbeing may have to be compromised for cost saving during the project, Designing Healthy Hotels, the latest report from REHAU, has been released to demonstrate the role of designing guest wellbeing and comfort in attracting more custom. Steve Richmond, Head of Marketing and Technical – Building Solutions at REHAU, explains: “Guest expectations of comfort, silence and premium finish arguably exceed that of their own home, so pressure falls on consultants and contractors to deliver building services meeting these requirements. Juggling the competing design priorities to deliver suitable hotels is a challenge that we aim to unpack with this report, while demonstrating the opportunities that healthy design can provide during the hospitality recovery.” With around 700 hotel projects currently in planning and bookings being up 300% this summer compared with 2019, it is clear there is high demand from consumers in the UK for hotels. However, according to hotel technology provider Avvio, inner city hotel books are down 30-40%, underlining the gaps where hospitality recovery in urban areas is still in progress. Therefore, attracting guests with high quality design represents an opportunity for professionals in the sector to harness this boom as tourism returns to cities. “Hotels being soundproofed and sealed to drown out the city noise while increasing energy efficiency makes acoustic performance of building services more of a priority than ever,” says Steve. “Hotel rooms being so close together in this environment means there is more potential for noise to travel and disturb guests, particularly from running water and flushing toilets. “Increasingly eco-conscious guests expect hotels to become more sustainable in line with society’s shifting attitudes on environmental issues, while tech-savvy customers will come to expect the latest smart technology for controlling temperature in their rooms. Hotel guests will also not appreciate the sound of running water, lack of adequate temperature control ability nor the lack of action when it comes to improving sustainability. With the risk of negative reviews worsening the already precarious situation hotels find themselves in, consultants and contractors could support in the delivery of positive guest experience right from the design stage. “To help hotels contractors and consultants meet these design challenges, our guide outlines potential solutions for new build and renovations hotel developments in all applications. As a supplier to many sectors, it is our responsibility to make sure we understand pain points in each one and demonstrate ways in which we can support construction professionals to overcome them.” For more information on designing wellbeing into hotels and to download the report, Designing Healthy Hotels, visit: www.rehau.uk/designinghealthy

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Wellbeing at risk when converting shops into flats

Building specifiers and contractors must champion a healthy approach to M&E solutions when converting shops into flats according to REHAU, following claims from campaigners that this latest trend could lead to ‘low quality homes’. The move towards turning commercial premises into housing is already underway, with thinktanks like the Social Market Foundation suggesting that turning collapsed retail businesses into residential space could create 800,000 new homes. While new Permitted Development Rights ensure space standards will be upheld and extremely small ‘rabbit hutch’ flats avoided, polymer supplier REHAU is exposing further concern with regards to wellbeing being ‘value-engineered’ out of these buildings later on. The warning comes off the back of REHAU’s recent report ‘Designing Healthy Apartments,’ with 44% of architects and specifiers surveyed identifying this issue of later ‘value-engineering’ as a concern during the design process. Over 500 respondents took part in the independent research, with 125 specialising in multi-residential projects. Steve Richmond, Head of Marketing and Technical for REHAU Building Solutions comments: “The new Permitted Development Rights put forward by the housing secretary are a welcome move but it’s not just space utilisation that impacts an occupant’s wellbeing, it’s temperature control, water provision, acoustics, air quality and so on. The worry is that because retrofitting and repurposing existing space can be seen as a less expensive option, there could be pressure to cut corners on fundamental components that improve occupant wellbeing. These actions could also impair a building’s also lifespan, raising further concerns.” Overheating in summer, excess cold in winter, privacy and lack of daylight have also been highlighted as potential issues by Julia Park, the head of housing research at the architects Levitt Bernstein and one of the Mayor of London’s design advocates. Steve continues: “All the issues raised by Julia Park are synonymous with the findings in our latest research, and then some. While we fully support the drive to refurbish and repurpose the abundance of empty office and retail units across the country, there’s a plethora of considerations to take into account when repurposing a building. M&E solutions need to sit at the heart of this rather than being an afterthought.” Designing Healthy Apartments is the first in a series of reports to spotlight on the challenges and opportunities to improve the UK’s commercial buildings by sector.  To download Designing Healthy Apartments, visit:  https://www.rehau.com/uk-en/designing-healthy

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Healthy buildings key to sustainable multi-residential developments, finds report

Amid the current UK multi-residential development boom, the majority of contractors and consultants claim sustainability will be the most important design issue over the next ten years, according to an industry report. In contrast, the survey of 520 M&E contractors and architects – 25% of whom work in the residential market – showed 44% of respondents believe wellbeing is being “value engineered” out of a project later on in the build. This was despite 91% also identifying human health as a key concern when specifying pipe fittings. As the research suggests wellbeing is not prioritised throughout the entire building process, Designing Healthy Apartments – the report from leading polymer building solutions provider REHAU – explores the intrinsic link between health and sustainability when designing buildings, and solutions that are available to tackle this. Mounting pressure on construction professionals to deliver futureproof buildings, against a backdrop of changing legislation, has been further exacerbated by increased demand for inner-city living. In order to deliver multi-residential developments in line with expectations of occupants, the report demonstrates that health and comfort must be designed and built into the environment just as much as sustainability. With the multi-residential construction market under pressure to meet housing demand across the nation, Steve Richmond, Head of Marketing and Technical at REHAU Building Solutions UK, explains the importance of prioritising these aspects from the outset. “With our research highlighting sustainability as a priority for the market, a key aspect also being “value engineered” out of projects, we are releasing this report to identify solutions to meet this now, and into the future,” says Steve. “Designing Healthy Apartments explores the importance of considering materials that promote wellbeing, sustainability and high performance, highlighting the key role of polymer-based products in delivering building services fit for 21st century needs.” While sustainability and performance remain key to the built environment’s health and longevity, the importance of hygiene has also climbed the public agenda in light of COVID-19. The report explores building services’ role in achieving optimal hygiene for residents, as well as the impact of sealed buildings on air quality. Steve adds: “This report is making the link between these critical priorities, and seeks to demonstrate the need for their consideration during design, if legislation and end-user expectations are to be met. As a supplier, listening to the requirements of industry professionals is key to ensuring our solutions are fit-for-purpose and this report shows exactly how we intend to do this.” For more information and to read REHAU’s guide, Designing Healthy Apartments, please visit: www.rehau.com/uk-en/designing-healthy

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Updated CIBSE Code of Practice key to future of heat networks, says REHAU

The publication of the new CIBSE/ADE CP1 (2020) Heat Networks Code of Practice is a welcome step in increasing the uptake and quality of design, installation and operation of low-carbon heat networks in the UK, says polymer pipework specialist REHAU. The long-awaited revision was developed by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), and takes into account the trend toward low-carbon heat networks since the previous guidance was published over five years ago. Specifically, CP1 (2020) recommends a maximum flow temperature of 70°C on new schemes, encouraging specifiers and contractors to consider fourth generation heat networks. These networks, which typically favour low-carbon heat sources like heat pumps and waste heat, are suited to polymer pipework. The guidance goes on to describe how these pipework solutions can also play a major role in the implementation of district heating schemes across the UK. With renewable heat networks increasing in popularity as a means of decarbonising buildings in line with Government net zero emissions targets, CP1 (2020)’s messaging comes at a crucial time, says Steve Richmond, Head of Marketing and Technical at REHAU Building Solutions, a leading district heating pipework supplier. He says: “We have long asserted that the implementation of district heating schemes will be vital to the decarbonisation of the country’s building stock, and are therefore pleased the latest CP1 guidance shares this view. In particular, the guide’s highlighting of the benefits associated with polymer district heating pipework, like lower installation costs and the lack of expansion loops required, clearly demonstrate the key role they will play in reducing emissions. “We also welcome the guide’s practical recommendations around fitting polymer pipework. This includes highlighting their compatibility with specialist installation methods like horizontal direction drilling, and how compression sleeve joints reduce the potential for failures during installation.” CP1 (2020) also provides a series of checklists and a toolkit for verifying compliance to ensure quality assurance and regulations within the heat network market, and more detailed guidance on diversity calculations. Taken alongside funding initiatives like the Heat Networks Investment Project and its 2022 replacement, the Green Heat Networks Scheme, Steve is confident CP1 (2020) will ensure new district heating schemes are as efficient and futureproofed as possible. He concludes: “Government support is helping increase uptake of district heating schemes, and through following guidance like CP1 (2020), heat network providers will be able to more effectively maximise carbon savings while increasing efficiency through reduced heat losses. We view these efficient, low-carbon heat network solutions as instrumental to constructing carbon-neutral new-build properties ahead of the Future Homes Standard introduction. “As ADE members, we work closely with CIBSE and are fully committed to our role in the delivery of efficient low carbon heat networks. Along with Government policies and funding, CP1 (2020) marks a fantastic turning point in favour of renewable heat networks as one answer to the low-carbon transition, and we are hugely excited to be part of this revolution.” For further information on REHAU’s pre-insulated pipework systems, and their use in renewable heat pump and district heating networks, visit: www.rehau.uk/districtheating.

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REHAU echoes eco-conscious call to prioritise building retrofitting over demolition

Following calls from architectural experts to save on carbon emissions by upgrading older buildings instead of knocking them down, building designers and specifiers should consider retrofitting solutions to improve overall sustainability. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) estimates that a sizeable proportion of a building’s lifecycle carbon is emitted during construction – 35% and 51% for office and residential properties respectively. These findings have prompted campaigns for developers to prioritise the restoration of older properties over demolishing and replacing them at high carbon costs. According to REHAU, retrofit piping solutions will be vital to ensuring the viability of this upgrade-centric approach and aiding the construction sector’s fight against climate change. “The Government committing the country to net zero emissions by 2050 has made improving sustainability a key concern across all sectors, including construction,” says Steve Richmond, Head of Marketing and Technical at REHAU Building Solutions. “With that in mind, these RICS figures show just how damaging it can be to opt for new-builds over renovating older properties, especially at a time when we should be reducing emissions. “While building services suppliers should incorporate retrofit capabilities into their product designs as standard, it is now clearer than ever that this consideration should become a necessity. These solutions will be vital to improving the efficiency of older buildings in line with modern standards, while negating the carbon costs associated with creating the materials required to build a new property in their place.” A number of sustainable, high-performing solutions are already available for developers and specifiers looking to retrofit existing properties. These solutions, made from eco-friendly, recyclable polymer, include heating, plumbing and acoustic drainage systems that are easy to install and adapt to space and project demands, while improving building efficiency and performance. Steve concludes: “The carbon costs associated with their construction means new buildings may not pay back their carbon debt for decades. As such, retrofitting should become a priority for specifiers and developers looking to improve the sustainability of their operations, especially as lowering carbon emissions grows in importance in the run-up to 2050. “Opting for efficient building services solutions that can be adapted to suit existing properties is therefore crucial to reducing carbon emissions. With the support of suppliers such as REHAU, developers and specifiers are well-placed to adapt to these changing priorities and the challenges posed in upgrading these older buildings.” For more information on REHAU’s Building Solutions, click here.

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Underfloor heating and smart control questions answered

Contractors must be prepared for the growing popularity of smart control technology in residential and commercial building heating systems, according to Warming The Next Generation, a new downloadable guide from polymer specialists REHAU. With space heating methods continuing to change and develop as efficiency and sustainability becomes an increasing priority, REHAU’s new guide focuses on smart controls and their role in this shifting landscape. Specifically, it explores the use of underfloor heating (UFH), and its flexibility in commercial and residential properties when combined with such smart technology. The guide explores trends in modern space heating requirements in multiple environments, including co-working spaces and home offices. It goes on to outline the growth of smart controls within the heating and energy markets and offers practical advice for developers and contractors looking to implement smart control and underfloor heating technology into their projects. “We are moving towards a smart future and the role of technology in our everyday lives is increasing exponentially,” says Franz Huelle, Head of Technical at REHAU Building Solutions. “With guides such as Warming The Next Generation, we aim to raise awareness of this ongoing trend, the factors behind it, and what it means for building professionals. Equipped with clear, concise information about the future of UFH and smart controls, contractors and developers can ensure they are best placed to react to this growing demand for greater levels of modular control within residential and commercial buildings.” Referencing the introduction of 5G and the ever-growing smart technology market, the guide goes on to highlight the importance of keeping abreast of the latest smart innovations as the construction sector moves toward a connected future. Using REHAU’s own NEA Smart 2.0 UFH smart control as an example, it explores how internet connectivity, machine learning and geofencing technology can optimise space heating, simplify installation and maintenance, and give any building heating system flexibility and adaptability long into the future. Franz continues: “Alongside government bodies and contractors, suppliers have a major role to play in ensuring the country’s building stock is sustainable and efficient, and this guide is part of our commitment to achieving this. We want to show construction professionals that, regardless of their project’s size or complexity, expert advice and comprehensive, flexible solutions that improve overall sustainability are available.” For more information and to download Warming the Next Generation, visit: www.rehau.uk/smartguide

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