A recycling trial by PVC drainage manufacturer Polypipe Building Services with the UK’s largest specialist trade distributor has proved so successful that it’s now being rolled out across 11 of their branches within the UK.

The trial with Wolseley UK, the country’s largest plumbing, heating, and cooling trade merchant, began in three of their branches in Brimsdown, Trafford and West Bromwich, and has proved so successful that since January 2022 Polypipe Building Services has collected more than 2,700 kilos of recycled waste.


The scheme means Polypipe Building Services drivers will drop off dedicated empty collapsible pallets to merchants they supply which can be filled with PVC piping offcuts, obsolete products, plastic packaging, and bulk bags, and will pick the full ones up on their next delivery to the branch.


Alex Ashton, Environmental & Sustainability Manager at Polypipe Building Services, said the service was just one of a number of ways the Kent based manufacturer is working to improve the sustainability of the business and minimise the impact to the environment.

He said:

“We had been looking at ways we could help customers with their waste reduction as part of our own measures on site at Aylesford to stop anything going to landfill, and when we approached Wolseley with the idea they jumped at the chance.

“This scheme ties into our strategy of using more recycled materials in our processes following the release of our Terrain PVC sustainable pipe last year which is manufactured from up to 65% recycled PVC-u and is helping us to hit our targets as part of the Genuit group, which is committed to using more than 60% of recycled materials in our products.

“Plastic often gets a bad name when it comes to the environment, but when it’s used responsibly it can be recycled again and again helping us to limit the resources we take out of the earth.”



Cardboard, wooden pallets and plastic bottles are already recycled at Polypipe Building Services headquarters in Aylesford, and recycling bags are also supplied by Polypipe to building sites they supply so any offcuts can be collected and recycled instead of going to landfill. 

He added: “We’ve already had interest in the trial from several of our other distributors as it really is a win-win for them, their customers and our environment, and we have employed two dedicated recycling staff to sort all the different recycling streams.”

The trial led Wolseley to present Polypipe Building Services their Initiative of the Year award for going the extra mile for their customers.

Luchiana Laza, Category Manager at Wolseley, said: “When Polypipe Building Services told us about their trial scheme we were delighted, as internally we had been looking at different recycling schemes to support our customers.

“Polypipe Building Services are one of our preferred suppliers so it’s great to see them taking the initiative like this. 

“We have weekly deliveries from Polypipe so the volume of waste which we can now recycle means this scheme also makes good financial sense due to the cost saving on skips.”



In 2019, the UK Government committed to the Net Zero target as recommended by the Climate Change Committee – and the construction industry will have to play a big part if that is to be achieved.
UK construction produces 400 million tonnes of waste a year, accounts for 36% of energy use and 39% of CO2 emissions, and 30% of construction material is waste.

The drive in the construction sector is towards sustainably sourced or recycled building product to help reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Barton Windows, which provides an extensive range of aluminium systems and specialises in aluminium windows, doors and curtain walling, is looking at a sustainable future and the fabricator’s Director, Ian Smith, said:

“More expectation is now being placed on businesses in all sectors, but particularly the fenestration and construction industries and we want to make sure Barton is doing everything it can when it comes to sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint.”

The importance of aluminium

One of the big advantages for Barton is the sustainability credentials of aluminium. Arguably the most sustainable building material in the world, it can be recycled back into high quality aluminium and the recycling process saves 95% of the energy required to produce aluminium from raw materials.
As a material it is also durable, highly resistant to rusting and corrosion, and requires very little long-term maintenance. It is also light weight, making it easy to handle which reduces the environmental impact and cost of transportation.

“The life span of aluminium products can be measured in decades rather than years and this, coupled with its recycling process, makes it hugely sustainable. After all, aluminium is known as the green metal for a reason,” said Ian.
“With the shift towards greener products only set to continue, aluminium will play an increasingly significant role as a building material in construction and the fenestration as we head towards a greener future. If we are to have any chance of hitting important targets in 2025 and 2050 then aluminium provides the best chance of doing it.”

Investing in modular

With Barton Windows being part of Modular Group Investments Limited (MGI), modular construction also plays a big part in the 35-year-old company’s focus.  MGI is a rapidly growing group focused on acquiring businesses around the off-site sector with the goal of making a positive contribution to UK offsite and modular manufacturing.
Ian said:

“With the UK so far behind in terms of the number of new houses that need to be built, modular is the answer to not just build quicker but greener too.
It generates up to 90% less waste than traditional construction, it means 90% less vehicle movements to sites, thus reducing the carbon footprint and 94% of materials in modular construction are sourced in more eco-friendly ways.”

Taking care

Not content with contributing to construction’s drive for a sustainable future with its aluminium products and its supply to the modular sector, the North Lincolnshire fabricator is doing its best to reduce its own carbon footprint.
Meeting its Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) values is playing an increasing role in Barton’s business agenda. A formalisation of a business’s collective conscientiousness, among other things it looks at how a business performs on environmental challenges, including waste and recycling.
Moving to lower emissions on its fleet, it recently taken delivery of its new hybrid Toyota Corolla Commercial van, which replaces a diesel van, and achieves 60 mpg so is good for the environment.
Ian added:

“We have always taken our environment obligations seriously and that includes manufacturing responsibility and more sustainable working practices so we can meet the sustainability requirements and expectations of our customers.”

For more information on Barton Windows CLICK HERE TO visit the website

or call 01652 633897


Plastic is bad right? Yet, low maintenance, thermally efficient and highly recyclable, on paper it has a lot to offer the construction sector. So where is it going wrong?

You’re on site. It’s a muddy winter’s day and bundles of shrink wrap and tape are blowing like tumble weed in a Western movie, across the muddy puddles, waiting to entangle themselves in neighbouring hedgerows.  It’s as negative an image of plastic as there can be (unless its ensnaring marine wildlife). And while the construction sector has taken steps in the right direction, plastic waste remains a big problem.  Recent government data shows that the UK has cut plastic waste by 2.7% over the past two years as we switch to paper straws and reusable bags. But at the same time plastic waste in construction jumped by 46%, reflecting increased sector activity.

So, can plastic ever be green? Or should the construction sector be turning its back on it once and for all?

“Plastic waste is definitely a problem for construction”, says John Duckworth, Director Commercial Sales, Deceuninck. “Site waste can be massively damaging.
“But the issue is less about the material than our attitude towards it. If we stop seeing plastic as disposable, the problem goes away.”  This is the point of contention for Deceuninck, the PVC-U window systems leader. It has invested more than €15million in one of the world’s most advanced recycling and compounding facilities to create the capacity to reprocess up to 45,000 tonnes of post-consumer and post-manufacturing PVC-U per year.  In real terms this gives it the capacity to prevent more than three million windows from going to landfill annually.  “It’s about the circular economy”, continues John. “Manufacturing products with less embodied carbon; designing them better so that they are more energy efficient; and making them easier to recycle at end of life.  “It’s about lowering carbon and to do that we need to change our approach to material choices.”

Deceuninck’s recycling facility also encompasses the largest dry blending facility in Europe, fully integrated with its main manufacturing facility, the approach connects process, while reducing CO2 emissions by 90,000 tonnes compared to virgin feedstocks. It also delivers a 90% energy saving.

This forms a key pillar of Deceuninck’s commitment to ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse emissions through the corporate carbon reduction scheme, Science Based Targets (SBTi).

This includes the pledge to cut the CO2 emissions from its own operations (Scope 1&2) by 60% by 2030 from a 2021 baseline. Allowing for future growth in real terms this means reducing CO2 per tonne of product produced by 75%. This goes significantly beyond the SBTi minimum target of 42%.  It has also committed to cut emissions from within its supply chain (Scope 3 emissions) by 48% per tonne by 2030, as part of its wider journey to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  John continues: “In the UK PVC-U has an A+ Green Guide Rating on the basis that it can be recycled more than 10 times, without impacting on performance.  “PVC-U windows have a reference service life of around 35 to 40 years, so the material used in each window made with virgin feedstock could be recycled and still be in use in 350 to 400 years’ time.

“The key thing is we have to recycle it.”

Deceuninck’s main suite of energy efficient window and door profiles can include up to 50% recycled material. This is manufactured using leading edge co-extrusion technologies, which isolate recycled content in areas away from the surface of the product, guaranteeing finish and performance.


“The technology is there today to manufacture a 100% recycled window”, John continues, “We’ve done it with Phoenix, our 100% recycled window.  “In bringing post-consumer material back into use on a day-to-day basis at a lower level, we’re already lowering the carbon footprint of our products but critically, designing them to be easier to recycle at end of life, pushing down the carbon footprint of the next generation of products.”




Elegant is one of a new generation of energy efficient window and door systems from Deceuninck. The fiberglass composite window delivers a step change in performance achieving U-values as low as 0.8W/m2K.  The system is built around a single ultra-energy-efficient modular frame which is available as a standard 76mm system. These can be combined with any of five different sash options.

It can also be combined with Decoroc, Deceuninck’s next generation foil, so fitted alongside aluminium products as part of dual-specification installations.

“Elegant gives you a lot of design flexibility,” John says. “You’re getting a window that can be optimised for either commercial or residential applications with a massive amount of flexibility within those markets because of the combination of sash and frame options that we can offer.”


Given this combination of design, flexibility, advanced thermal performance and recyclability at end of life, John argues that PVC-U building products continue to offer significant value to the construction sector – but moreover, can be part of a greener future.

“We maybe need to get over one or two prejudices that we have about materials and to judge them on what they actually deliver”, he says.  “There are underlying issues about our attitude towards plastics but much of that sits with our cultural attitude towards them and the fact that we have seen them as being disposable.  “If you’re judging PVC-U as a building material and PVC-U windows and doors within that category, you should be approaching that process factually.  “The material is energy efficient, it can and is being recycled and new generation composite PVC-U products can and are being used to maximise value on a wide range of projects.”

For more information call 01249 816 969

CLICK HERE to email Deceuninck



The UK government has published an action plan aimed at ensuring faster delivery of large infrastructure projects such as offshore wind farms, transport links and wastewater management facilities.

“The plan we have published today demonstrates the commitment across government to ensuring the planning system supports us to improve our energy security and deliver the major transport links and essential facilities this country needs to thrive,” stated Local Government Minister Lee Rowley.

The policy paper “Nationally Significant Infrastructure: action plan for reforms to the planning process” was published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and applies to England and Wales.

The government wants to make the planning system for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) better, faster, greener, fairer and more resilient. It says that between 2012 and 2021, the time it took for projects to go through the NSIP process increased by 65%, from 2.6 to 4.2 years. Its ambitions to improve the infrastructure consenting process were set out in the National Infrastructure Strategy in 2020 and included in the British Energy Security Strategy in 2022.

The action plan measures include reviewing National Policy Statements (NPSs) more regularly for better clarity to make decisions. The government also plans to speed up the application process by streamlining regulations and updating guidance. A fast track process will be piloted, with powers for the Secretary of State to set shorter timelines for certain projects.

The reforms are further intended to realise better outcomes for the environment, which will involve replacing the “cumbersome” environmental assessment processes with new Environmental Outcomes Reports. Measures to embed community input and benefits earlier in the process are also planned.

The government will seek to bring forward by the spring of 2024 the key regulatory and guidance changes needed to deliver the action plan.

Industry group RenewableUK welcomed the outlined planning reforms. “In particular, it’s good to see that Ministers have listened to industry on the need for early and meaningful engagement between project developers and the statutory bodies we work with, and a commitment to scale up the resources required within the planning system to make it work more efficiently, as this will enable us to deliver critical renewable infrastructure,” said the group’s environmental policy analyst Juliette Webb.

With respect to wildlife protection and the views of local communities Webb said: “The government’s proposals make it clear that the right balance will be struck to ensure that projects will only go ahead when those safeguards have been met, and we fully support this environmentally sensitive approach.”

Energy industry trade association Energy UK said on Twitter: “We’ve long called for planning reform and look forward to working with the government over the next months as they consult on how to put these changes into practice.”



Wood pieces at different stages of modification,

from natural (far right) to MOF-infused functional wood (far left)

(Credit: Gustavo Raskosky/ Rice University)


An engineered wood material that could be used in construction has been modified to capture carbon dioxide.

The reportedly energy-efficient process, which also makes the material stronger, was developed by researchers at Rice University in Texas.

Structural materials like steel or cement come at a high cost, both in money and CO2 emissions – building construction and use accounts for an estimated 40% of emissions. Developing sustainable alternatives to existing materials could help mitigate climate change and reduce emissions.

Working to address both issues at once, materials scientist Muhammad Rahman and colleagues found a way to incorporate molecules of a CO2-trapping crystalline porous material into wood.

“Wood is a sustainable, renewable structural material that we already use extensively,” Rahman said. “Our engineered wood did exhibit greater strength than normal, untreated wood.”

In the conversion process, the network of cellulose fibres that gives wood its strength is first cleared out through a process known as delignification.

“Wood is made up of three essential components: cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin,” Rahman said. “Removing the lignin is a fairly simple process that involves a two-step chemical treatment using environmentally benign substances. After removing the lignin, we use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to remove the hemicellulose.”

Next, the delignified wood is soaked in a solution containing microparticles of a metal-organic framework (MOF), known as Calgary framework 20 (CALF-20). MOFs are high-surface area sorbent materials used for their ability to adsorb CO2 molecules into their pores.

“The MOF particles easily fit into the cellulose channels and get attached to them through favourable surface interactions,” said Soumyabrata Roy, lead author on the study.

MOFs are among several nascent carbon capture technologies developed to address climate change. “Right now, there is no biodegradable, sustainable substrate for deploying carbon dioxide-sorbent materials,” Rahman said. “Our MOF-enhanced wood is an adaptable support platform for deploying sorbent in different carbon dioxide applications.”

“Many of the existing MOFs are not very stable in varying environmental conditions,” Roy added. “Some are very susceptible to moisture, and you don’t want that in a structural material.”

CALF-20, developed by University of Calgary Professor George Shimizu and colleagues, stands out in both performance and versatility under a variety of environmental conditions, Roy said.

“The manufacturing of structural materials such as metals or cement represents a significant source of industrial carbon emissions,” Rahman said. “Our process is simpler and ‘greener’, in terms of both substances used and processing byproducts.

“The next step would be to determine sequestration processes as well as a detailed economic analysis to understand the scalability and commercial viability of this material.”


Source: Institute of Mechanical Engineers

World-first solar technology is a game-changer in providing affordable clean energy to flats

  • SolShare is the world’s only technology for connecting multiple residential units within a single building to a single rooftop solar PV system
  • Wales is the first nation to implement new solar technology for housing blocks in Europe
  • Each household could benefit from savings of around 50% off their electricity bills
  • Social landlords leading the way in transition to cleaner, more affordable electricity



Allume Energy, Wales & West Housing and the Welsh Government have today announced the first installation of Allume’s SolShare technology for the UK’s housing sector, to provide clean, affordable electricity to residential flats in Cardiff.

The project has connected 24 flats to lower cost solar energy at Odet Court, with the potential to meet 55%-75% of each flat’s electricity demand. Based on the average usage of 1800kWH – 2,400 kWh for a 1-bed flat this could equate to an electricity bill saving of around 50% (between £390 to £530) a year, based on current average electricity costs in the UK of 34p/kWh. The project has been funded by the Welsh Government in association with Wales & West Housing as part of the Optimised Retrofit Programme.

SolShare is the world’s only technology for connecting multiple residential units within a single building to a single rooftop solar PV system. Until now, previous options involved installing individual solar systems into each unit – a largely unworkable solution for developers due to cost, footprint and inefficient energy utilisation. In the case of Odet Court, this would have meant installing 24 sets of panels, 24 inverters and 24 batteries.

Not only has SolShare significantly reduced the amount of hardware and footprint required, it has also reduced installation costs as compared to a typical solar system. Its ‘dynamic sharing’ capacity also delivers an improved solar utilisation of over 25%. Importantly, SolShare is suitable for retrofit projects as well as new builds, as it does not require any changes to the existing supply and metering infrastructure.

“Wales is leading the way with the installation of this new technology,” commented Jack Taylor, General Manager Europe, Allume Energy. “We hope it will serve as a template for governments and social housing providers in the UK to provide cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades to multi-unit residences. Simple and affordable solutions are available, so it’s great to see governments and housing associations embracing innovative technologies which help tackle fuel poverty and climate change.”

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “This is an exciting first of its kind project for Wales and exactly the type of thinking we need to see within the housing sector. The decarbonisation of homes plays a big part in our journey towards a Net Zero Wales by 2050 and I look forward to following this innovative project as works progress. At a time when costs are rising, improving the energy efficiency of homes will not only help us to deal with the climate emergency but also help families through the cost of living crisis. It’s another important step in our journey towards a stronger, greener, fairer Wales.”

Joanna Davoile, Executive Director (Assets) at Wales & West Housing said: “At a time when many people are facing difficult choices of whether to heat their homes or feed themselves and their families, it is only right that we explore ways to make our homes more energy efficient for our residents where possible. In recent years we have been trialling different methods of retrofitting older homes with energy-saving technologies but one of the main challenges has been how to fit PV panels and battery systems to our apartment homes so that everyone living in the schemes could equally benefit. The SolShare system seems to be a much fairer solution as the energy generated by the building can be shared equally to help our residents to keep their electricity costs down rather than going back to the grid. We are excited to see how the technology used in the SolShare system will work for our residents.”

Caerphilly-based social enterprise, Celtic Offsite, has teamed up with one of the UK’s leading timber suppliers, Premier Forest Products, as part of their ambitious plan to develop a Welsh supply chain to reduce its carbon footprint and support the local economy.

Celtic Offsite, part of the United Welsh Group, manufactures low carbon homes by producing high quality, sustainable timber frame structures, complete with factory fitted insulation and windows, to build up to 250 low carbon homes a year.

Premier Forest Products was initially approached by Celtic Offsite to supply Oriented Strand Board (OSB) for sheathing for timber frame panels, plywood and chipboard. However, thanks to Premier’s growing product offering, they have recently started supplying roof trusses, engineered floor joists and Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) for structural beams, taking Celtic Offsite ever closer to their goal of using Welsh suppliers for more of their manufacturing work.

Neil Robins, Managing Director of Celtic Offsite said: “We are actively committed to making the areas in which we work better and more environmentally sound. We have been certified as a Climate Positive Business by Earthly, meaning we will remove more greenhouse emissions than we produce. One of the ways that we will do this is by working with local suppliers who have a similar mindset to our own.

“We have been so impressed by the service and quality of the products supplied by Premier Forest that we have consistently increased the range of items that we order from them.”


Co-founder and CEO of Premier Forest Products Terry Edgell said: “As an organisation, we firmly believe that the use of timber should be at the forefront of sustainable housing development. At the moment, wood in construction is the only commercially viable carbon capture and storage system so, simply by using more wood in construction, we can turn our built environment into a weapon against climate change.

“It is so inspiring to be working with an organisation in Wales that not only recognises the benefits of using timber but is actively working to build a sustainable supply chain, hopefully changing the way that homes are built.”


Premier Forest Products is a vertically integrated timber operation engaged in the importation, sawmilling, processing, merchanting, and wholesale distribution of timber and timber products from its 12 sites in the UK.

As part of its commitment to the local community, Celtic Offsite offers an on-site training suite to provide skills development and apprenticeships for green construction jobs.

The factory has been awarded two prestigious International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifications; ISO 9001 for quality management and ISO 14001 for environmental management. Celtic Offsite has also achieved PEFC certification for the chain of custody of forest-based products and were awarded Gold by the Structural Timber Association in their latest audit.

Illustrative image of nuclear fusion concept

South Oxfordshire District Council Planning Committee approves fusion energy project; construction to start this year at UKAEA’s Culham Campus.

The fusion demonstration will be built to 70 per cent scale of a commercial power plant at UKAEA’s Culham Campus. The fusion machine is expected to be commissioned in 2026 and fully operational by early 2027.

Following the resolution to grant planning permission by the South Oxfordshire District Council Planning Committee, construction of General Fusion’s demonstration at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) Culham Campus is expected to start this summer.

When construction of the 10,500m2 building is complete, General Fusion will lease the building from UKAEA. The company’s fusion machine is expected to be commissioned in 2026 and fully operational by early 2027.

Built to 70 per cent scale of a commercial power plant, the demonstration will create fusion conditions in a power plant-relevant environment, achieving temperatures of over 100 million degrees Celsius. This is a crucial step on the path to eventually powering homes, businesses and industry with zero-carbon fusion energy. The facility itself will not generate power.

Siting the facility at the UKAEA’s Culham Campus, part of the thriving UK Fusion Cluster, enables General Fusion to access world-leading science and engineering capabilities, such as knowledge and experience in designing, constructing and operating the record-breaking Joint European Torus. In addition, the company will benefit from the UK’s existing fusion energy supply chains.

“The UK has been a longstanding leader in fusion energy development. We are thrilled to join the Culham Campus and the UK’s Fusion Cluster, and anticipate creating 60 long-term jobs at the site,” said Greg Twinney, CEO of General Fusion. “In addition, we expect the project will generate approximately 200 jobs during construction.”

“The UKAEA welcomes this milestone as it aligns with our strategy to create clusters that accelerate innovation in fusion and related technologies, and support public-private partnerships to thrive,” said Professor Sir Ian Chapman, CEO of UKAEA. “It also builds upon our heritage of hosting major fusion facilities here at our Culham Campus.”

The building was designed by architects, AL_A, led by Stirling Prize winner Amanda Levete and Ove Arup Engineers, and has been developed to exemplary design and sustainability standards.

“Receiving planning permission is a huge milestone and testament to the close collaboration between our team, General Fusion, and the UKAEA. The building will not only be highly efficient but one that also expresses the technological optimism of fusion to solve the energy problems of the world,” said Amanda Levete, founder and principal of AL_A. “The design projects a confident message to the public about the extraordinary potential of this technology. It represents a clear shift in the relationship between environment and industry, moving from one of opposition to one of symbiosis.”

The design of the fusion demonstration facility is intended to enhance the surrounding biodiversity. The building will achieve BREEAM excellent accreditation through a mix of strategies that include reusing waste heat, natural ventilation to minimize cooling loads, as well as a large green roof and extensive photovoltaics.


Source: Built Environment Network