Future proof technology

With the Coalition Government claiming that 2010 onwards will be ‘a new decade of transformation’ in terms of a low carbon future, how we heat our buildings remains an ongoing debate. Kevin Tolson, Marketing Director of Redring, puts forward the case for electric heating and outlines how it provides not just a sustainable but also an affordable solution for the future.

The Government is committed to reducing UK carbon dioxide emissions by at least 26% by 2020 and at least 60% by 2050. With heat accounting for a large percentage of carbon production the search for a practical, cost effective and environmentally friendly solution is now more important than ever.

Electric heating is often accused of being a carbon intensive way to heat a building. However, with the Government’s plans to give the national grid an overhaul, those that are unconvinced by electric will need to rethink their argument. By investing in non carbon emitting technologies such as wind farms and the next generation of nuclear power stations, the Government is paving the way for low carbon, more efficient electricity generation.

Granted these changes are not going to happen overnight and the Government’s target of 2030 is a realistic indication that it is going to take a number of years before the new green methods of electricity generation are fully functioning. However, steps can also be taken in the meantime to ensure electric heating installations are as energy efficient as possible. At this stage it is important when specifying and fitting electric heating systems not to forget that they are compatible with renewable technologies such as solar panels or heat pumps.

When considering the energy efficiency of a heating system it is all too easy to become caught up in the fuel type and its efficiency. However, there is another side to the equation and this is where the manufacturers come in. As a manufacturer of electric space and water heating solutions, Redring is very conscious about ensuring its products are as energy efficient as possible.

New developments

There have been significant developments in electric heating over the last few years and modern electric flow boilers now incorporate highly sensitive, integral thermostatic controls, which ensure accurate control of the flow temperature. The accuracy of the internal electronic controls, in conjunction with modern room thermostats, allows rapid response to sudden changes in room temperature, ensuring that heat outputs are quickly reduced or increased to maintain a consistent room temperature.

Electric flow boilers, such as the Redring Powerstream Professional, do not burn fuel internally to generate heat and so do not have the safety risks associated with other fuel types. Also, unlike other fuel types, electric flow boilers do not need annual service checks and with virtually no moving parts to break down or wear out, they are extremely reliable. They are also extremely efficient at the point of use, meaning all the electricity used is converted directly into heat, unlike other systems where energy is wasted through the flue.

Electric flow boilers do not burn fuel internally to generate heat and so do not have the safety risks associated with other fuel types. Also, unlike other fuel types, Redring’s electric flow boilers do not legally require an annual service check. This means they are ideal for social housing where regular servicing to ensure safety checks are carried out can prove difficult when residents are reluctant to allow access. Also, with virtually no moving parts to break down or wear out, they are extremely reliable and are backed by a comprehensive manufacturers guarantee.

Commercial benefits

The controllability of electric systems is also a huge benefit for commercial properties and by linking them to movement detectors and timers it is possible to only heat areas of buildings when there are people present, reducing the cost of heating an empty property.

For larger spaces, such as warehouses and factories, where there are only a few people working, electric radiant heating eliminates the need to heat the entire fabric of the building and instead they can be used to heat people. This type of heating is also ideal for remote areas of buildings where people may be working. Radiant heaters, such as Redring’s Sunslim SL or Sunquartz SQ, offer instant, directional heat and are ideal for localised heating in large open areas.

Another issue can be doorways that are in constant use, causing uncomfortable draughts for staff and losing valuable heat to the outside. An air curtain, as the name suggests, provides an invisible curtain of air to separate internal and external environments, eliminating draughts, and regulating temperatures inside a building. Thanks to the flexibility of installation, air curtains, such as the Redring Sunscreen RS, can be linked together to completely cover larger doorways and eliminate draughts and by connecting them via a building control system a greater level of energy management and reduced running costs can also be achieved.

Cleaner fuel

With further investment and the Government’s target for 10% of all energy produced to come from renewable sources by next year, electricity is increasingly becoming the cleaner fuel option for heating systems.

In light of the increasing interest in electric heating systems and recognising that there was a training gap that needed to be addressed, we have recently developed a new training course, covering the installation, repair and maintenance of electric flow boilers.

The only third party accredited course of its type, it is designed to cover the installation of electric boilers up to 12kW and provides information on how electric boilers work, health and safety requirements, site surveys, hot water considerations, whole system installations and heat loss calculations. The course also involves an in-depth training session on two of our electric boilers, the Powerstream Professional and the Powerstream Ascari.

By working closely with third parties we feel confident that our electric boiler training course addresses the needs of customers looking to widen their portfolio of skills and

take advantage of the opportunity electric heating systems presents. In addition, a mains water pressure training course covering G3 regulations can also be taken to complement the flow boiler course.

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