Why underfloor heating is packing a punch for residential and commercial projects

As underfloor heating (UFH) systems enjoy a resurgence, Panel Systems takes a look at what is behind the increased demand.

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he heating market has experienced significant change over recent years as consumers and developers are increasingly likely to opt for more eco-friendly systems.

The rise in ground source heat pumps and other renewable technologies and the impact of the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive for homeowners and businesses means that underfloor heating becomes the most effective delivery method for space heating. In addition, the comfort of underfloor heating, combined with the ability to get rid of bulky, unsightly radiators has also added to its contemporary appeal.

The market for UFH in the UK has been increasing within the commercial and domestic sectors since 2014. In fact, according to the Underfloor Heating Market Report, by AMA Research, UFH currently represents one of the fastest-growing areas within the overall UK heating market; which grew by 6% in 2017, with similar growth forecast for 2018.

The report also found that the residential sector, including new builds, the self-build market and DIY retrofit projects, accounts for the largest share of the UFH market by value. In addition, the need for more energy-efficient buildings has also seen a rise in the use of UFH within other sectors including healthcare, education and leisure.

Choice and insulation are key

There are two main options when it comes to UFH systems – water, which runs through pipes as part of a regular heating system, or electric. Both require the use of insulation panels to ensure heat is reflected upwards, thus making UFH systems more efficient and effective. Insulation also reduces contact noise and, if lined, acts as an effective moisture barrier against any spillages or leaks that may reach beneath the external floorcovering.

XENERGY Styrofoam boards are a popular option with UFH contractors and installers due to their high compressive strength, light weight, high efficiency and excellent thermal insulation properties. Suited to both water and electric systems, the material is 15% more thermally-efficient and manufactured from extruded polystyrene foam, offering unrivalled thermal performance.

In hot water-based UFH systems, the insulation is often supplied routed to enable contractors to quickly and easily fit the pipework within a system. The density of XENERGY Styrofoam is such that high-quality and consistent grooving is achieved to ensure a good fit for the pipework, which, due to Panel Systems’ bespoke routing capabilities, can meet specific designs.

For electric matting systems where there is an existing uninsulated floor slab, readily cut flat sheets are more suitable.

Summary

The comfort of underfloor heating combined with the increasing demand for renewable energy sources means that we expect to see continued growth in this market. With installers looking for quicker, more straightforward methods of installation, products like XENERGY Styrofoam, which can be easily routed to suit specific designs, will help ensure that UFH remains a popular choice in the future.

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