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Small Hi-tech Welsh company enters the world stage

Innovative Welsh company, Digital Surface Research Ltd (DSR), offers property owners and building occupiers worldwide a ground-breaking new technology – SolaVeil - that can reduce building energy consumption by up to 70 percent

Cardiff, Wales, 30th June 2009: Digital Surface Research Ltd - developers of SolaVeil, the ground-breaking digital surface technology that enables companies to significantly reduce their building energy usage - is a prime example of a Welsh design and technology business that is creating new approaches to energy conservation and efficiency on a national and international level.

Under development since 2007, SolaVeil is an energy efficiency solution that can be simply applied to existing window glazing as a retrofit, or integrated into factory manufactured sealed units. SolaVeil has the ability to enhance productive office environments by increasing natural illumination whilst cutting energy costs for lighting, heating and cooling.

Brian Hughes, inventor and Technical Director at Digital Surface Research, which is headquartered in Cardiff, is the brain behind this pioneering new technology. Hughes saw a gap in the market and an opportunity to develop an easily applied product that would enable companies to achieve optimum lighting control within their buildings and gain the benefits of natural daylight.

Hughes comments: “The increasing awareness of climate change and dwindling world energy resources, coupled with the severe economic recession, has sharply focused the minds of both political and business leaders to find solutions to the significant environmental issues of energy use and waste. With the UK having an average of only 4 ½ pure sunlight hours daily, maximising these renewable energy hours is an important first step in this process.

“We’ve therefore developed a surface treatment to glass that maximises renewable energy hours through natural light. The result is a reduction in the total amount of energy required to light buildings day and night, and a reduction in the amount of energy required to cool the building due to solar heat gain through glass. Research has shown that more natural daylight leads to a greater sense of wellbeing, which results in greater productivity and health.”

SolaVeil’s clients include Oxford County Hall, design and engineering consultancy Scott Wilson, Welsh Joint Education Committee, and the Nationwide Building Society Cardiff. The company has seen significant growth under the guidance and leadership of its newly appointed Board, which includes high profile energy performance and digital technology experts.

Hughes continues: “You can have a great product, but if you don’t have the right calibre individuals to drive the product forward and make it a commercial success, even the best innovations will fail miserably. I am really excited about the quality of the product, and the ability of the people, research and technology partners who are committed to the aims of the business. It is my firmly held belief that we have a singular opportunity to take this unique SolaVeil technology developed in Wales to the world.”

Board members include: Lord Rupert Redesdale, vice Chair of the All Party Climate Change Group; Darren Shipard, the new CEO of DSR, brought in by Hughes in January this year, who has a track record in the energy market having previously worked in senior positions for Honeywell, Invensys and the US Oil Industry; and Brian Hughes himself.

Lord Rupert Redesdale, who in addition to his vice Chair position, is also involved with Cranberry, the UK (Bath) based low energy PC manufacturer, is thrilled to be sitting on the Board of such an innovative company. “I’m passionate about the environment and working with the Government to encourage businesses in the UK to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s not often a company that offers such leading-edge technology for the energy sector comes into the market, so I’m proud to support and pleased to be a part of developing and driving such a great initiative for carbon reduction in the future.”

Professor John Miles who heads the School of Engineering at Cardiff University is an active supporter of the product and is working with the company to document and improve the performance characteristics of the SolaVeil product. Whilst it hasn’t received government funding or grants to date, Digital Surface Research is currently in discussion with the Welsh Assembly Government who it is hoped will assist with future product development and the growth of the company in Wales and beyond.


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