Specifying products that not only contribute to a building’s overall efficiency, but enhance how the interior space is used too, will be high on any self-builder’s agenda. Choosing a heating system can have a huge part to play, not only helping to reduce energy consumption through efficient heat delivery and usage, but also creating a comfortable living space that perfectly suits a user’s lifestyle. Franz Huelle, Head of Technical at REHAU Building Solutions, explores the potential of underfloor heating and controls.
While underfloor heating may have once been seen as more of a luxury than a realistic alternative to traditional radiator-based systems, a long list of benefits to the occupant, along with increased affordability, make it an option that simply should not be overlooked for any self-build project.
The key appeal of underfloor heating is that it allows for a more uniform distribution of heat. As a result, a room temperature of about 20 degrees is sufficient for ensuring optimum occupant comfort. This lower temperature can be translated into reduced energy bills, with a drop of only two degrees allowing heating cost savings of up to ten per cent.
On top of this, the even distribution of underfloor heating reduces air movement and allergen circulation, in turn reducing the amount of dust and dust mites in the ambient air. This results in a healthier indoor climate – something of increasing importance, with a gradual shift in working habits leading to more people working from home. Improved heat circulation also helps to prevent the creation of thermal bridges and cold spots that can lead to noticeable draughts, and subsequent mould growth that may create problems long-term.
As underfloor heating systems use a lower water temperature of 35-45 degrees, it is more efficient than its radiator-based counterpart and ideally suited for low carbon heat sources like heat pumps. Consequently, when viewed in terms of total lifetime costs, the benefits of selecting such a system are clear for almost any self-build.
Comfort, wellbeing and efficiency aside, the fact an underfloor heating system is built into the floor means it can allow for greater living and working space and open up exciting new room design possibilities. Whether opting for a sleek, minimalist interior design, or a more furniture and detail-rich look, uncluttered, radiator-free walls can undoubtedly offer increased freedom and flexibility when it comes to layout and design.
With this in mind, it is clear that underfloor heating is undoubtedly an alluring option. However, to achieve its maximum benefits, it’s important to consider pairing with smart control technology, which can provide optimum levels of control and improved efficiency of up to 20 per cent.
Alongside providing increased efficiency for underfloor heating systems, the latest smart control devices also offer a high degree of adaptability. Using data from their own sensors and weather patterns gleaned from the internet and occupants’ habits, these latest models can offer more energy-efficient heating schedules, resulting in further savings.
When specifying underfloor heating controls, self-builders should consider how the solution is adaptable and practical in situ, as well as the aesthetics of the product and how it will fit into a wider interior scheme. Some of the latest underfloor-specific solutions combine smart features with sleek designs that will match the level of thought going into the design theme across the rest of the home. When ticking all of these boxes, a smart control can truly become the lynchpin of a home, helping occupants realise optimum heating efficiency whilst living comfortably.
Underfloor heating systems offer huge benefits to self-builders, whether working on a project to create a new home or an investment property. Their appeal is strengthened when combined with underfloor heating smart control technology. Implemented effectively, these solutions can help create a more desirable end-result, helping inhabitants live comfortably and efficiently, whilst enjoying the benefits of aesthetically pleasing surroundings.
For more information on smart controls and underfloor heating, visit: www.rehau.uk/neasmart.