This week saw the latest outing within our series of…
Not everyone’s a budding Kelly Hoppen, but we occasionally indulge ourselves with a bit of interior design that just ends up with moving furniture here and rehanging pictures there. That’s about it because how often is our inner Conran frustrated by the limitations imposed by radiators which restrict our options along walls and under windows. Even precious floor space has to be left clear to allow the convection currents to flow unobstructed. Hardly open plan living, in fact no plan at all!
It’s at that ‘Grand Designs’ moment when we might just turn our thoughts to the unfettered luxury of radiator-free walls and the freedom afforded by a heating system hidden beneath the floor. Little wonder that underfloor heating technology is the choice of 90% of self-builders, who, of course, have carte blanche, when it comes to design for living. As UFH technology develops into a standalone whole house heating solution, it can take full advantage of 21st century priorities of renewable energy and water conservation. Efficient building performance, flexible room design and comfort control are easily achieved in new builds but also figure large in refurbishment and home extension projects. UFH systems can be built into solid screed floors, or lightweight low profile dry systems can be added to timber joist or floating floors. It doesn’t matter if the project is a full new build or a renovation – every property can benefit from the natural efficiency that warm water UFH provides. Why? Because it operates at an average temperature of 40 deg C rather than 80 deg C used by traditional radiators requiring less rise in temperature from the boiler or heat source – therefore water can be heated and stored at a much lower temperature for a much lower energy cost.
So far so good for energy conscious home buyers, home builders and homeowners, for whom UFH, with its low flow and return temperatures, would seem to be the perfect combination with renewable technologies such as solar evacuated tubes to keep energy costs and carbon emissions low. However, the problem has been that the most popular renewable energy for domestic systems, solar thermal, has only provided direct hot water before the system diverts back to a supplementary gas or oil boiler for heating. That’s because hot water cylinder technology has not been able to capitalise on collecting and storing enough of the sun’s energy – until now.
The Range Trinity 3c solar cylinder features a patented three coil architecture including two coils, for solar thermal input and an auxiliary heat source such as a boiler or heat pump, and a unique third coil designed to output energy into the central heating system. The enhanced storage capability of Range Trinity 3c means solar energy is not limited to just hot water but also delivers most of the space heating requirement, especially when operating at constant but lower average temperatures. The amount of solar energy available will vary across the seasons, which is why the Range Trinity 3c also benefits from an intelligent environmental control that compensates for weather conditions. The advanced control system ensures that solar energy is maximised in pre-heating the system before activating the supplementary heat source – which reduces any additional heating input required and keeps heating bills down.
Traditional 2-coil cylinder technology has, up to now, limited potential savings from solar to hot water usage only but with the government’s energy efficiency and carbon emissions agenda picking up momentum, 3-coil technology is the natural next step to accelerate solar power adoption. By leapfrogging thermal store technology on a number of significant performance and application criteria, the Range Trinity 3c offers the UK’s new build, self-build and retrofit markets install a whole house heating solution using the power of the sun with which normal solar cylinders would not cope.