Hydronic heating is increasingly being selected over mainstream climate control solutions for installation in education settings across Australia.
Stakeholders in early childcare centres, schools and university campuses, including onsite dormitory accommodation, are realising the myriad of benefits offered by this eco-friendly and sustainable heating solution.
When it comes to deciding the best system to use in educational settings, there’s a few factors that make the top of the priority list when it comes to a radiant heating system:
- Energy efficiency
- User friendly
- Flexible installation options
Let’s explore how Hydronic Heating measures up across these factors within educational settings.
Factor 1: Energy efficiency
Environmental impacts are rightly on the radar of many developers and educational institution committees in terms of the solutions they consider to integrate into new project builds or upgrades of facilities.
Hydronic heating solutions rank number one in so many areas when it comes to energy efficiency.
While reverse cycle air conditioning and ducted heating systems are commonly installed in many educational settings, it is important to compare the efficiency of these options to Hydronic products and systems.
How is Hydronic Heating more efficient?
In the simplest of terms, circulating heated water through a sealed pipe system takes a great deal less energy than that required to blow hot or cold air. Ultimately, water is a more energy efficient heat transfer medium compared to air forced systems, and ultimately delivers a far more luxurious for of heat
Lower running and ongoing costs
The initial purchase and installation investment of Hydronic Heating can be higher than reverse cycle air conditioning and ducted heating systems. This fact can sway decision makers to go for the former, understandably to save money. However, it’s imperative to take into account the day to day running costs and ongoing maintenance for reverse cycle air conditioning and ducted heating.
By not factoring these considerations into the equation, it’s possible that longer term, more money (and time) is actually being spent by going for the seemingly ‘more affordable’ option from the outset.
Hydronic Heating systems cost an estimated 35% less in running costs compared to ducted systems.
Looking at ongoing costs, ducted systems need to be routinely cleaned thoroughly to ensure optimal performance, otherwise they’ll be blowing dust particles, mold spores and other airborne pollutants throughout the buildings they’re installed in. Debris can also build up in ducted systems which can pose a fire risk.
Factor 2: User friendly
In busy environments, such as schools and universities, it’s important that the heating system can be easily used and/or adjusted . Educators are busy and need to know they can make the appropriate climate changes to suit their classroom and students quickly and easily.
Hydronic Heating can be operated via thermostat/s or BMS control the on/off operation of the system. Thermostats can also be installed locally, enabling occupants to control the comfort level room by room control.
Many thermostat products include pre-set timers where you can select your preferred temperature ahead of time.
Gone are the days of everyone within a large building having to tolerate one setting for temperature. Hydronic Heating can be zoned, with one classroom, dorm room or play space able to have a different temperature to the one next door if needed and when a space is not in use, you can turn it off completely to save energy, or use the timer to pre-set when you want the space to begin being warmed or cooled.
Factor 3: Flexible installation
With many spaces in educational settings being varied in size and shape, Hydronic Heating products provide a range of flexible solutions, with options to suit all environments.
Radiant panel heaters
Available in a wide range of sizes and dimensions, wall mounted radiant panel heaters are a popular option when considering Hydronic Heating. Providing a cost effective energy efficient solution, they can also be customised to match decor of the space and if you can install additional panels down the track if you want to after the initial installation.
This solution can be retrofitted or installed into new build projects within the foundation slab. Like the in-floor trench heating, underfloor heating is great for areas with little wall space. You can install underfloor heating throughout an entire area, or select specific rooms or spaces. Like all Hydronic products, this option produces a gentle, even and comfortable heat.
In-floor trench heating
An ideal solution for spaces with largely glass facades or limited wall space, in-floor trench heating runs along the perimeter of the area, flush with floor level. A small trench or canal within the floor houses a heating element and is covered by a grille (available in a range of styles to suit the design of the room). This product is known to achieve the highest outputs with the lowest amount of energy consumed and boasts a 9-16% energy saving compared to standard radiator panel heaters.
Factor 4: Health and safety
It goes without saying that heating systems need to be safe and ideally healthy in all settings, but even more so in environments where there are young children in the case of schools, or young adults in the case of universities and dorm accommodation.
Hydronic Heating solutions provide the healthiest and safest climate control by offering the following benefits:
Better air quality
As Hydronic Heating uses heated water to produce radiant and convective heat to alter room temperatures, as opposed to forced air, the result being less dust and allergies being blown around and therefore far better air quality.
Poor air quality can impact health and general wellbeing, but it is also proven to contribute to fatigue, loss of concentration and therefore impacts negatively on learning performance. This is particularly important to note in school settings.
Ducted systems circulate dust, pollen and any other debris that has inevitably gathered in the ducting or air conditioning units, which contributes to poor air quality.
Installing hydronic radiant wall heaters in school settings can have a huge impact on staff and student health and wellbeing, particularly when it comes to respiratory conditions. Nearly 3 million Australians suffer from asthma and many are confronted with seasonal allergies. By using a heating system that does not rely on forced air, there will be a reduction in the amount of air borne pollutants circulating.
There’s also the fact that ducted systems can spread bacteria, which can then contribute to staff and students increased days off work and school.
No trip hazards
Hydronic Heating products will never pose a trip hazard. Radiators are wall mounted, or there’s underfloor heating or in-floor trench heating. All of these options don’t have exposed cables, wires or physical units taking up any floor space.
Zero fire risk
Unlike ducted heating systems, Hydronic radiators or underfloor heating do not create a buildup of dust and debris within the components and filters in the same way ducted and reverse cycle systems do.
If maintenance is not routine and thorough, ducted systems can be a potential fire risk. Hydronic radiators or underfloor heating options don’t require this level of maintenance, nor do they pose a fire risk. They can be simply wiped down for cleaning in addition to boiler inspections as per the manufacturer recommendation.
Safe to touch
In safety-critical environments, such as educational settings, there are specifically made radiant panels designed to be cooler to touch than standard radiators. They are ideal for childcare centres, schools, university accommodation as well as aged care.
Examples of hydronic heating in education
While ducted and reverse cycle air conditioning is initially appealing when comparing purchase and installation costs, Hydronic Heating offers a wider range of benefits for all stakeholders, particularly in the arena of health and safety and running costs and maintenance.
If you are currently working on a project in education and would like to explore how Hydronic Heating could be integrated, we offer onsite survey and consultation services.
For 40 years, Hunt Heating has created eco-friendly, sustainable heating and cooling solutions for Australian businesses across an extensive range of industries.
From large-scale property developments, to commercial office buildings, to the world’s leading educational institutions – we combine innovative design with quality workmanship and first-class engineering to develop the best in Hydronic Heating solutions.
We make it our business to produce premium heating solutions for your commercial projects. The net result is a bespoke experience and premium hydronic heating commercial solution you can rely on. Contact the team at Hunt Commercial to discuss your heating and cooling needs for your latest project.