Heating and cooling an occupied space with hydronic radiant surfaces is efficient, silent, invisible, clean, controllable, reliable, maintenance-free and extremely comfortable. This means that radiant systems can improve comfort while reducing energy consumption for heating and cooling, while radiant systems also have reduced operational costs and maintenance costs.
Thanks to its high specific heat as compared with air, water is a much better conductor of heat energy.
- A nominal 3/4 water pipe can transfer the same heat energy as a 14 x 8 inch duct
- A hydronic circulator moving warm fluid can typically deliver the same thermal energy as an air fan with 75-90% less electrical consumption
Because radiant heating systems can heat a space with very low water temperature, the efficiency of the heat source is typically improved. This means that systems with fossil-fuel devices deliver better efficiencies by operating in condensing mode, and air-to-water or water-to-water heat pumps deliver higher coefficients of performance (COPs). In many cases, heat pumps can be smaller and draw lower electrical loads than if distributing heat via an air-based system.
Radiant heating allows a thermostat to be set as much as 4ºF (2ºC) lower than it would be with traditional hot air systems without sacrificing comfort. These lower operating temperatures coupled with the superior heat transfer properties of water can reduce fuel consumption, potentially saving up to 30% per year in heating expenses
Since radiant pipes are embedded in floors, walls or ceilings, there is more available space on floors and less space lost to ductwork.
Many designers use radiant heating systems to improve energy efficiency and comfort, and to achieve green and sustainable certifications and recognition, such as LEED®.
Radiant heating and cooling systems are easily integrated into the mechanical environment of a building and can be combined with geothermal heat sources and traditional HVAC distribution methods for high-performance hybrid systems. Combined radiant heating and cooling systems provide uniform and efficient heating and cooling, and are a cost-effective way for a building to achieve a higher level of energy performance.