In the previous part of this article we discussed the topic of thermal comfort in terms of thermoregulatory mechanisms functioning in the body of every person. The interior temperature must be safe for long-term health. Our house cannot hurt us! Does each member of the household, in every age and in every state of health define the same temperature as comfortable? Should the same temperature prevail at home in a time of relaxation, activities requiring physical activity, mental activity, or while sleeping? Should the same temperature prevail in every room throughout the house, during the whole heating season? If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, then you should recognise that underfloor heating is no longer the peak of thermal comfort. It should be used as supplementary heating, ensuring neutrality of floor temperature. The heat gains appearing may cause the elevation of air temperature above the set point, which is a sub-optimal management of the power generated.
Part II – Variable heating strategies. Economical utilisation of heat gains.
Two generations back in the single family home sector, there was a simple heating strategy: household members return home, the heat is turned up in the evening so it will be warm at night. In the city, in offices, or in apartment buildings, there was also a single strategy – if it was too hot, you had to open the window … All of this resulted from the construction technology and a complete lack of energy conservation. One generation back started to build much warmer buildings, there was also underfloor heating, which satisfied those underheated as well as those overheated. The next generation brought homes similar to passive houses, sustainable construction – energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and extremely comfortable. This was made possible not only thanks to tight and warm technologies of house construction, but also by the introduction of numerous control systems for the broadly defined home comfort, including thermal comfort closely related to the individual needs of the household members and the maximum respect for the energy produced. The impact on the best air quality will be provided in this case by recuperation. Year-round isothermy generated by main heating and not the supporting underfloor heating precludes the implementation of so formulated goals. There should be neither too little or too much heat supplied, and such a situation in case of continuous, steady heating occurs very often. The warmer the building, the greater the risk that there will be too much heat, and too much heat always means its loss. Each degree of above the interior temperature set means unnecessary heat loss of 6%, similarly, lowering the interior temperature by one degree saves its consumption by 6%. Thus, in a warm, close to passive house, the main source of heat should be controllable to the maximum extent. We should be able to turn on heating manually or via the installed electronics, be able to affect the dynamics of heating or be able to completely turn it off. Underfloor heating and wall surface heating, due to their enormous thermal inertia, completely rule out such controllability. Underfloor heating should only act as “idle” heating. All the heat gains – sunshine, kitchen appliances, computers, simple all waste heat, has an increasing share in the heating loads of new homes. How does an optimally configured and controlled heating system behave? When a heat gain appears = heating stops. We leave the house for a few hours = heating stops. We lay down to sleep = heating stops. We return home and we feel cold = short-term heating at full power. There is no way to close all the aspects of this issue in a short article. Each family member has their own individual preferences, tastes and ways of being. Configuration of the heating system, the way it is controlled, should take this into account. It is impossible to standardise comfort. The heating system should also be modifiable. After all, we do not know what direction humanity will develop.
Among the radiators currently available, REGULUS-system products are the fastest in action, so they are a very good solution for smart homes, the optimum solution for sustainable construction. They give each member of the household the option to choose an individual heating strategy, guaranteeing their personal comfort for the least possible money.