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Yorkon launches design options for “greener” modular buildings

Award-winning off-site construction specialist and Portakabin subsidiary, Yorkon, has launched a series of design options for ‘greener’ modular buildings, as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability.

The options have been selected by Yorkon to offer significant environmental benefits, including the use of renewable sources of energy, reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions, and recyclability.

The optional features include:
•Solar thermal heating – these systems harness energy from the sun to generate heating and to provide hot water, and can reduce hot water bills by up to 50 per cent.
•Solar photovoltaics – photovoltaic systems use solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity. An installation with a peak output of 1Kw can displace around 0.3 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year that would otherwise need to be generated by fossil fuels.
•Passive ventilation – this offers a host of environmental as well as economic benefits by lowering energy use and preventing the overheating of buildings to provide comfortable, controlled conditions for the building user.
•Combined heat and power systems – these systems involve the simultaneous generation of electricity and heat in the form of hot water or steam, and will reduce carbon emissions.
•Ground source heat pumps – this technology uses the earth’s relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling and hot water, and can result in carbon emission reductions of up to 70 per cent.
•Wind power – turbines can be used to generate electricity in parallel with mains supplies or for stand-alone applications, significantly reducing carbon emissions.
•Green roofs – a turf or sedum roof has a number of sustainable benefits, such as providing high levels of thermal insulation and improving air quality.
•Biomass boilers – using biomass energy can reduce CO2 emissions released in the combustion process by 90 per cent compared to energy generated from fossil fuels.
•Rainwater harvesting – this can be incorporated into the design of building services to allow the collection and recycling of rainwater for toilet flushing.

Several of these options have already been used for buildings provided by Yorkon.

The modular approach is a highly sustainable method of building. Research carried out by Arup has demonstrated that up to 67 per cent less energy is required to produce a modular building compared to an equivalent traditionally built project. And in full-scale tests for air permeability, Yorkon buildings perform up to 70 per cent better than the minimum requirements of the Building Regulations, leading to superior thermal efficiency and lower running costs and an overall reduction in carbon emissions.

Yorkon is also the first off-site specialist to commit to working towards the Sustainability Charter introduced by the Major Contractors Group and, as part of the Portakabin Group, is working with the Carbon Trust to reduce the amount of compressed air and energy used in the manufacturing process.

For further PRESS information, please contact:

Joanne Bridges, PRO – Yorkon
Tel: 01489 570898 Fax: 01489 570888

Editor’s Notes

1.Other properties of the design options introduced by Yorkon for its off-site building system include:

•Solar-powered heating. Solar thermal technology is particularly suited to buildings, which have high hot water demand.
•Solar photovoltaics (PV). These systems are generally used in parallel with the electricity grid. The PV modules can be roof mounted or integrated into the roof or walls of the modular building.
•Passive ventilation. This method uses natural ventilation as an alternative to air conditioning, significantly reducing carbon emissions and avoiding the use of ozone-depleting substances such as refrigerants.
•Combined heat and power. The electricity is produced using an engine or turbine and the heat generated is recovered, significantly reducing energy consumption.
•Ground source heat pumps. The ground acts as a huge solar collector and thermal store. These systems are suitable for heating buildings with high levels of occupancy.
•Wind power. This is recognised as one of the most cost-effective of the renewable energy technologies. Systems for smaller buildings typically have peak outputs of up to 6Kw, reducing carbon emissions by more than four tonnes per annum.
•Green roofs. These roofs have additional environmental benefits, including encouraging a habitat for wildlife, and helping a building blend into sensitive rural areas.
•Biomass boilers. These carbon neutral heating systems are an economically viable solution for a variety of applications, such as schools and offices. Typical fuel is wood chips – a by-product from the timber industry, or straw.

2.Off-site construction involves the manufacture of steel-framed modules in a controlled factory environment, using production line technology, whilst the foundation works are completed on site. The modules are delivered to site by road where they are craned into position in just a few days ready for fitting out.


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