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Innovation of the Year (Non-contractor): Winner

Winner: Keylite – Polar

There was a moment in Keylite’s presentation when the panel of judges pointed to an additional feature of the firm’s Keylite Polar system: a magnetic blind integrated within the glazing unit, protecting it from dust and damage.

This provides a perfect example of how Keylite delighted the judges with a product full of small yet efficient innovations. 

For Keylite, the problem was simple: high condensation is a risk when buildings and homes are left un-insulated. Gaps allow cold bridging and condensation to occur, which brings with it the risk of mould.

The Keylite Polar product is the company’s solution.

The company describes the product as the only roof-window device that comes complete with an integral thermal collar, which expands to fill and insulate gaps over the 24 hours following installation. While other manufacturers include the option of a separate thermal collar, Keylite integrates it into the design.

The group sent the final product off to BRE, which confirmed that a thermal collar would be necessary to prevent condensation and mould growth. It also comes with pre-fitted brackets, allowing for ease of installation. 

“Keystone Group’s innovation is a product packed with features, improves the sustainability of homes and includes clear benefits to the client and wider society. The firm’s excellent approach to its presentation was clear, concise and focused on a combination of housing and healthy living, appealing to a wider community”

Judges’ comment

The presentation demonstrated the product’s efficiency in improving thermal performance, PSI values and airtightness.

The Keystone Group, of which Keylite is part, has 44 patents, 14 product awards to its name (including last year’s Specialists Award for Materials Supplier of the Year) and has an 80-strong team dedicated to the design of its products. Roof windows are not its core business, but the firm said it had identified an increased need for products of this type, as builders are looking to build higher rather than wider.

Keystone reports that take-up of the product in the UK has exceeded forecasts by 75 per cent, helping the group remain on course to reach a turnover of £100,000 in its next set of results – a 20 per cent increase year on year.

Company culture helps foster such innovation, too – the firm partners with local universities and showed its commitment to retaining as well as challenging younger workers, reflected in how its face-to-face presentation to the judges was conducted by an employee who joined as an apprentice.

Judges agreed this innovation provided a great market opportunity, and that Keystone had learned lessons from all over the world, creating a product with obvious benefits in terms of health, safety and sustainability.

Finalists

  • British Power International – Protean
  • Cemex – Innovation in Concrete
  • Delta Membrane Systems – BRE Flood Resilient House
  • Plowman Craven – Vogel R3D 

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