Going green with the grain

In the first part of our Commercial Features section, The Hardware Journal looks at the increasing popularity and viability of eco-friendly and sustainable homes, and the companies and products behind this innovation.

As the curtain slowly starts to fall on the first half of 2018, only in recent weeks has Ireland begun to enjoy something approaching the traditional Springtime weather. A succession of violent storms along with the infamous “Beast from the East” have battered our evergreen (and ever grey) shores throughout the past several months, with prolonged cold temperatures and near unprecedented snow and rainfall contributing to the continually enlarging dossier labelled “Climate Change”. Society overall is being forced to adapt in order to stem the flow of carbon emissions into our atmosphere, and this new-found responsibility is increasingly combining with people’s need for homes that can withstand the unpredictability of a changing climate.

A recent international study by Unilever revealed that a third of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed says: “This research confirms that sustainability isn’t a nice-to-have for businesses. In fact, it has become an imperative. To succeed globally, and especially in emerging economies across Asia, Africa and Latin America, brands should go beyond traditional focus areas like product performance and affordability. Instead, they must act quickly to prove their social and environmental credentials and show consumers they can be trusted with the future of the planet and communities, as well as their own bottom lines.”

Eco-friendly and sustainable homes are growing in popularity and demand and present those choosing them with multiple advantages. Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, switching to eco-friendly homes can result in massive financial savings. These savings are mainly due to reduced energy consumption, resulting in lower utility bills.

Health benefits can also be attributed to eco-friendly homes, albeit slightly further along the green spectrum, where homes are constructed predominately from natural materials and thus reducing the presence of chemicals.

And finally, using the right eco-friendly building materials in the right place can save construction time. Buying locally-available materials supports small businesses, keeps money in the local economy, reduces the home’s carbon footprint by minimising fuel used in shipping and means the materials will be available quickly and reliably. Building a much smaller structure, like a small-square-footage “tiny house” that takes minimal resource use, can also save you money simply by reducing the scale of construction.

At home, the tide is ever so slowly turning regarding ecofriendly and sustainable housing, with only the savviest of innovators exploring pioneering channels to help revolutionise the construction sectors in the UK and here in Ireland. The following pages shed light on some of those innovators and the products driving this much-needed change.

Pipelife firmly focused on eco-friendliness

Pipelife is one of Ireland’s leading manufacturers and providers of plastic piping systems. Specialising in the extrusion of polyethylene (PE) pipes, Pipelife offers industry leading products for the heating & plumbing, water pressure, electricity, cable ducting, gas and agricultural sectors.

Drawing on over 45 years of manufacturing and innovating from their production plant in Cork, Pipelife has been at the forefront of developing innovative products and has been an industry leader for many years. Quality and innovation continue to be the terms that define their philosophy, and this is reflected in the range of Eco products and systems that they manufacture to this day. This commitment to quality and innovation continues today and they are delighted to offer their new range of “ECO” products specifically developed with energy conservation and waste water renewal in mind.

The Pipelife Qual-Pex Eco range of products has been designed to meet the rapidly changing needs of the heating and plumbing markets. Their range consists of Eco Insulated pipe, Underfloor Heating, Air Source Heat Pumps, Low temperature radiators and smart system control.

Qual-Eco addresses the needs of both the end-user and the installer, incorporating best-practice guidelines to integrate various energy efficient components together to form the Complete Renewable Heating System.

The Qual-PEX ECO range consists of a single pipe insulated with a high-quality CFC-free and HCFC-free, blue or red flexible closed cell polythene pipe insulation. It comes in sizes of 1/2”, 3/4” and 1” of varying insulation thicknesses depending on the application. The Qual-PEX ECO Duo consists of two pre-insulated, QualPEX Barrier Pipes encapsulated in 125mm of high performance insulation protected within a corrugated PE-HD twin wall outer casing for maximum protection.

Pipelife is Ireland’s leading supplier of thousands of underfloor heating systems (Qual-Pex Eco Underfloor Heating System) each year, from residential homes, hospitals, nursery homes, warehouses and car showrooms.

As the pipe manufacturer, Pipelife guarantees the pipe for 50 years, which is vital when the pipe is being buried within the floor structure for the lifetime of the building.

The company has a proven track record of over 20 years’ service and commitment to the industry backed by exceptionally trained staff and a dedicated technical backup service. Combining all these aspects results in an outstanding system, delivered in a professional and highly skilled manner second to none.

They cover every aspect of underfloor heating and integrated renewables, and deliver fully designed, energy-efficient systems to a range of Installers, Developers, Builders, Engineers & Architects.

Pipelife accepts full responsibility for the design of the system and the specification and supply of materials. As an added re-assurance, for the customer, Pipelife carries professional indemnity insurance to cover all designs.

Smart System Control

Their comprehensive range of thermostats offer a wide variety of solutions and are ideal for new builds and retro fit projects. They can offer a standard room thermostat all the way up to latest smart technology controls, and the result is always an energy saving efficient system. Their thermostat range is programmable and available in hard wired (230v or 12v), wireless and Smart versions.

Air Source Heat Pumps

Pipelife Ireland specializes in Hitachi Yutaki Heat Pumps which operate by transforming energy from the outside air into heat, meaning every 1kW of electricity used to power the heat pump can provide up to 5kW of energy in a well-insulated home – helping to reduce heating bills by up to 60% and cutting CO2 emissions by 50% compared to traditional boiler-led systems. Their range of Yutaki heat Pumps are the ideal heating solution. As well as individually control the room temperature, one can also use heating energy efficiently. That is good for our environment – and saves money.

Your one stop shop

At Pipelife they believe in providing their customers with a one-stop-shop for complete package solutions; from marketleading products, free initial advice, through to bespoke design, installation, final commissioning and technical support, allowing you to purchase with confidence. Pipelife strive to bring new and interesting developments to the market, and are always open to new ideas, innovations or suggestions, in an effort to keep Ireland supplied with top quality products.

For more information and to talk to the Pipelife team, call them on 021 488 4700 or e-mail them at ireland@pipelife.com.

A decade of perfect balance

Crown Paints have long since been a trend setter in the painting and home décor industry, but the recent and continuing success of their eco-friendly policies is starting to turn heads (and change habits) across a wider landscape.

This year Crown Paints is celebrating 10 years of “earthbalance” – their award-winning sustainability programme which encompasses all the sustainability activity at Crown Paints.

First introduced in 2018, Earthbalance is Crown’s commitment to be more sustainable, less wasteful and to help their customers make responsible decisions about the world in which we live.


Since 2008, Crown have achieved a 6.3% reduction in their Greenhouse Gas emissions, and – having previously surpassed their electricity reduction target (amongst other successes) – they felt the need to re-focus and re-evaluate the targets in 2015, before setting some new ones.

To build on their knowledge and success, and to widen the scope of the programme, Crown re-established their baseline and set new targets for the coming years.


As both part of a long-term strategy and currently ongoing, the Crown targets are:

  • Energy – 5% reduction in electricity consumption
  • Waste – 10% reduction in waste
  • Water – 5% reduction in water usage
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions – 12% reduction by 2020


Since its introduction, the earthbalance programme has been recognised with several awards, with Crown Paints most recently named as Sustainable Business of the Year at the Lloyds Bank 2015 National Business Awards.


  • Green Apple Awards – Environmental Best Practice
  • European Business Awards – National Champion
  • Manufacturer of the Year Awards – Green Manufacturer of the Year


  • International CSR Awards – Environmental Endeavour: Sustainability & Overall Gold Scorer


  • National Business Awards – Sustainable Business of the Year

Calor renewing love of gas

Calor Gas – Ireland’s longest-established supplier of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) – has launched Ireland’s first certified renewable LPG for homes and businesses. Calor BioLPG will be available throughout Ireland and will allow customers to switch to a green, clean, renewable alternative. Calor BioLPG is certified at EU level as offering up to 90% lower emissions than existing LPG products. Calor are aiming that 10% of all their gas sold in Ireland will be renewable within the next three years.

Ireland is one of the first markets in Europe (with Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Germany and Scandanavia) to have BioLPG. As Calor is available away from the natural gas network, it is potentially available to every home or business.

BioLPG is virtually identical to the LPG products currently in use. Unlike conventional LPG, which is a by-product of oil and gas exploration, BioLPG is made from recycled materials, including recycled waste and residue materials, and sustainably-sourced renewable vegetable oils.

Because BioLPG is virtually the same as conventional LPG, it works seamlessly with existing gas appliances and equipment.

This means that domestic and industrial customers can move to using renewable energy without any hassle or major expenditure. Existing LPG boilers, dryers and other machinery will operate just as they always have but will now be even better for the environment. A recent survey undertaken by Behaviour & Attitudes showed that 85% of businesses in the Republic of Ireland were open to switching to renewable energy. Increasingly, businesses are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. This is not only environmentally smart but can also help businesses avoid carbon taxes. With more and more business customers now looking to the sustainability of their supply chains, BioLPG can help companies target new business.

Speaking at the launch of Calor BioLPG, CEO Gino Vansteenhuyse said: “People’s expectations of energy are changing. For the first time, businesses and homes all over Ireland will be able to choose a renewable gas. They will be able to make a cleaner, more sustainable choice. By helping thousands of customers to make a small change, we can make a big change for Ireland and for the environment.”