Timber frame and log houses are increasingly gaining in popularity. In addition to the considerable simplicity and speed of their construction, a large variety of available house shapes and their technological uniformity, the most frequently mentioned advantage of building a house out of wood is its remarkable energy-efficiency and effortlessness when it comes to heating. The above relates to the fact that wooden houses are naturally warm but, at the same time, they accumulate heat slowly. Materials used in the construction of timer frame houses (wood, plasterboards, insulation materials) wonderfully insulate heat, have a low coefficient of heat transfer, low heat capacity – and, as a result, they display low energy consumption. When considering all-year heating demands, these houses resemble passive houses, which are now becoming the norm and which satisfy the necessary conditions for buildings to be graded as energy-efficient. The demand for thermal energy consumed to heat a house, calculated in m2 of its usable area, is a value which according to the new European Union directive should preferably equal zero.
The elements with the biggest impact on energy consumption are:
- construction technology;
- heating method and how the building is used
Timber frame houses are easy to construct and modernise; also the running of cables is not problematic – difficulties may only be encountered in log houses, where the solutions used must be discrete and aesthetically pleasing. Also, the solutions applied should not excessively interfere in the structure of the external walls and divisions.
Characteristics of a heating system which is optimal for energy-efficient houses with low accumulation of heat:
- quick access to heat – appropriate heat sources;
- minimum thermal inertia – radiators are easily controlled;
- ability to use heat gains in thermal balance – control.
The ideal solution would be the creation of a heating system which would guarantee the highest thermal comfort with the lowest possible energy-consumption. Such a system would quickly react to thermal demands while using only a small amount of energy, in order to quickly and accurately provide the required temperature. It would heat the interiors quickly but without overheating the air, which is an easy mistake to make in houses with low thermal accumulation. Such a system could be a central heating system – water, electric, and one which uses forced air, but heat could also be supplied by individual electric heaters.
The above-mentioned requirement of providing heat quickly and accurately would not be met by underfloor heating which reacts very slowly to thermal demands and does not allow for significant heat gains to be used efficiently in the thermal balance of the structure. Only a dynamic radiator system would be able to meet all the above requirements. Its total weight would also have to be low (weight of the radiator + weight of the water inside the radiator). All the above specifications can be found in the REGULUS-system radiators. They are manufactured from materials which heat up and cool down rapidly – copper or aluminium. The installation which distributes the heating medium can also be made from copper or PEX-AL-PEX composite tubing. The functioning method of the REGULUS-system radiators (which return heat through convection and wide-angle radiation) ensures that heat is emitted effectively and evenly throughout the house.
Small total weight – what are the benefits?
The lightweight REGULUS-system radiators can be installed directly on plasterboard walls, in any position, and without the need of special supports. Their small capacity and their small weight when filled with water are crucial to the low thermal inertia. The large heat transfer surface enables effective operation within a wide range of temperatures of the heating medium. The REGULUS-system radiators can also be mounted on feet affixed to the floor (e.g. low, narrow and long radiators). Also, corner radiators are available
Radiator located inside the wall – INSIDE-system
This solution, unique in Europe, consists of radiators placed inside the wall, within a shallow recess and hidden behind aesthetic blinds. Together, the radiators create a group of products under one common name – REGULUS-system INSIDE. This solution is discrete, aesthetic and functional. These radiators can be installed inside nearly every wall. Knee walls are preferable; however, they can also be installed inside narrow partition walls which enable them to heat two rooms adjacent to each other, e.g. a bedroom and walk-in wardrobe. The blinds masking the radiator will then need to be installed on both sides of the wall. This solution can also be used in bathrooms, where the radiator can be installed underneath the bath inside its enclosure. Alternatively, it will be equally successful when installed in the kitchen adjoining the living room – the radiator can be installed within the kitchen island or in the walls of a drink bar unit. The blinds can be painted to match the colour scheme of the room, e.g. walls, tiles or furniture – any RAL paint colour can be selected.
Radiator located in the floor – CANAL-system
The system of radiators enclosed in the heating trench in the floor constitutes a wonderful alternative to wall radiators, but primarily to underfloor heating. It is also a great heating solution to be used in timber frame and wooden houses. The CANAL-system radiators are particularly popular in log houses. This type of heating enables the installation of wooden flooring – planks, parquet or panel flooring. The CANAL-system radiators get warm quickly and effectively, surpassing in this respect traditional underfloor heating. The trench heating system guarantees excellent thermal comfort, while being invisible. If a room has large windows, the heating trenches are an ideal heating solution. The system of heating trenches located along the windows heats the cool air travelling inside the room and also acts as a warm air curtain by drying the glass. The CANAL-system radiators do not restrict the space available inside a room – the walls which until now carried wall radiators, which are necessary in our climate, can now be used in a different way. A wide range of openwork panels, covering up the heating trench and constituting the only visible element of the heating system, ideally suit the character of log houses (wooden panels), but also wonderfully complement modern interior arrangements of timer frame houses (metal panels).
Fan-assisted convectors – wall-mounted, installed inside the wall, canal convectors
In order to increase the capacity, i.e. the efficiency of the radiators, to reduce their dimensions and to increase the dynamics, radiators can be equipped with a quietly working fan. This option is available for all REGULUS-system radiators – REGULLUS wall radiators, SOLLARIUS, INSIDE-system and CANAL-system radiators . The use of a fan increases the capacity of each radiator by approx. 30%. The air warms up quicker and the quiet fan, which has three settings, guarantees that the radiators are easy to use. The use of fan-assisted radiators has a particular importance when the CANAL-system radiators are used. By using the fan, the size and the depth of the heating trenches can be reduced.
Durable radiators are in vogue
The REGULUS-system radiators work very well with low-temperature heat sources such as condensing boilers and heat pumps, which are frequently used by the energy-efficient construction industry. They can also work with single-fuel, gas and electric boilers. As the water system is copper, the radiators can be used within any type of central heating system. The radiators are resistant to corrosion and pressure changes within the system, which significantly extends their durability. They have a 25-year warranty for leaktightness, including the open systems – e.g. with hydronic fireplaces which are often selected for timer frame houses. These radiators are good long-term investment as they provide investors with what is most important to them: low heating costs and unique thermal comfort. Energy-efficient technologies used in the construction sector make it possible to adapt building projects to the EU regulations and to take advantage of the investment subsidies reserved for the energy-efficient construction sector.