Step into your comfort zone
With the heating season fast approaching and overheating now a serious concern in new builds, could it be time to specify a completely different method of climate control? Sheldon Cooper of Radiana invites you to look at the options.
There's much debate about how we should control our indoor climate - from the point of view of the well-being and comfort of the occupants, to the specification, installation and maintenance, or the long term impact on our health and the environment. What many people don't realise however, is that by simply changing the physics of how our heating and cooling systems work, we can drastically improve on all of the points above.
It all comes down to specification. When you're asked to design a building or specify the most suitable climate control system, your considerations are likely to be around spatial requirements, building use, compliance with building regulations, cost, supplier relationships or the availability of installation personnel.
Drilling down into how a heating or cooling system might actually operate within a room, other than basic temperature control for the user, probably seems irrelevant, but if we understand a little about how 'standard spec' heating and cooling systems work, we could make a significant, positive difference to user comfort, environmental impact and the supply chain models.
Climate control systems achieve a desired temperature for a room through either the convection or radiation of heat. We commonly know convection heating to be radiators - or storage heaters. They work by heating the air around them to warm up a space and the people in it. Electric panel heaters and open fires distribute heat in the same way and while this method of heating conjures up images of cosy living rooms on a cold winter's day, it's not actually an effective way of distributing heat and more often than not, cold spots are found.
Then, when we get too hot in the summer, particularly if we're in a commercial space, we expect air conditioning to cool us down. Which it does, but as with convection heating, it doesn't do this evenly, if you've ever sat under an air conditioning unit the chances are you've felt a little more chilly than you colleague sitting some distance away. Air conditioning also consumes a fair amount of energy, throws warm air out of a building creating the heat island phenomenon which we're increasingly experiencing in our cities and because of the way it recirculates air, it doesn't do our health munch good either.
Radiant heat transfer on the other hand is far more effective. It's how the sun warms up the earth. By using radiant heating and cooling systems - like underfloor heating, or cooling ceiling panels, we can achieve far more comfortable, energy-efficient and healthy indoor environments. What's more, the systems are easy to install, require less maintenance than their convection system alternatives and will last much longer.
Read more here: http://buildingproducts.co.uk/issues/sep2019/page_36.html