European study confirms the energy-saving benefits of underfloor heating
New evidence on the energy-saving benefits of underfloor heating — Rex Ingram.
A review of the Standard Assessment Procedure for dwellings will take account of two years of independent study in Europe that has confirmed that underfloor heating is more efficient than radiators. Aware that the results of this study were imminent, the BRE delayed a planned revision of the SAP to take account of the findings, and the new version is expected to show underfloor heating in a new and more favourable light. Rex Ingram, chairman of the Underfloor Heating Manufacturers’ Association and Britain’s representative at the European Association for Surface Heating & Cooling (Eu-ray), which commissioned the report, said, ‘This could be a pivotal event in the development of the UK underfloor heating market. Now we can officially add reduced energy consumption and reduced carbon emissions to the long list of established benefits of UFH in terms of greater comfort, improved safety and hygiene, and reduced maintenance. In 2005, Eur-ray commissioned the first major application of the new methodology for measuring the energy efficiency of buildings, which is been developed in response to the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and involving a range of new CEN Standards, including EN15316. The objective was to compare the energy efficiency of three ‘standard’ buildings in Venice, Brussels and Stockholm, each modelled with heating by radiators and underfloor heating. They were a single-family residence, a block of offices and a 15 m-high industrial building. The study was undertaken by the Danish Technical University in Copenhagen and the University of Padua in Italy. The results show that a building heated using a condensing boiler will use 5% less energy with underfloor heating than with radiators. The saving increases to 20% with an air-source heat pumps and to 30% with a ground-source heat pump.