Radiators & renewable heating

Radiators & renewable heating

Chris Harvey, Marketing Manager from Stelrad explains how radiators can be a powerful partner to a renewable heating system.


It’s a question people keep asking. Are radiators really up to the job of heating a home where the heat source is from a lower temperature flow renewable system? A heat pump – ground source or air source – in particular.

The simple answer is yes they are, and for a number of reasons: mostly to do with the design of modern radiators and the quality of their manufacture.

The important thing with any heating system, and in particular with lower temperature flow renewable ones, is to ensure that the radiators are correctly sized for the heat source and the home they are required to heat.

stelrad-vita-ultraThe radiators will need to be larger than with a traditional boiler driven heating system because a system driven by a heat pump will operate at lower temperatures, but by increasing the size of the metal surfaces the system will be more than capable of providing adequate heating for a modern home.

One simple way people get around this is by including vertical radiators which have larger heating surfaces but because they run vertically up the wall, take up less horizontal wall space – and particularly modern designer radiator designs can then become a focal point of the décor, rather than simply a functional heating appliance.

Using Stelrad’s popular K3 radiators, which have three panels and three fins – providing far more heat from a radiator with the same footprint, than a one or two panel radiator can – is another solution.


Efficiency increases

Modern radiators are far more efficient and able to cope than pre-2000 manufactured radiators, simply because of the quality of the manufacture, with better quality steel, and better formed waterways in the radiator. They have far lower volumes of water circulating in them than elderly radiators needed, to generate the heat required. The better paint finishes of modern radiators and the general energy efficiency associated with modern radiators over more elderly ones will all help as well.

It is recommended that the heating system benefits from the correct level of water treatment and a system filter to ensure the circulating water stays as clean as possible, which will add to the efficiency you get from your heating system, whether it’s a renewable or traditional boiler driven system.


stelrad-5Demand for renewables

Some commentators are suggesting that the demand for renewable energy systems has dropped off. We’re not so sure and we’re being asked questions relating to renewables on a regular basis by developers and housebuilders, so we feel that the volume will continue to grow though at what rate we all wait to see.

Recent Government edicts would suggest that the switch to renewables is less important to them than to the previous coalition Government. But we’ve tended to see renewables growing in the social housing sector and staying around the same for private new build developments.

The performance of modern condensing boilers and heating system components sees these traditional systems delivering impressive heating and efficiencies and unless there is stronger legislation from Government, many developers will continue to buy heating systems based on cost rather than energy efficiency. Of course, renewable systems are still significantly more expensive than a traditional system to buy and install.


Best of both worlds

Stelrad radiators have been designed to share heat efficiently and to work well with both traditional boiler driven heating systems and modern renewable systems.

The company introduced the Radical radiator to its portfolio because it offers an independently assessed – by KIWA – energy saving of up to 10.5% over traditional parallel feed radiators where the two panels heat up together at the same time.

Radical sees the front panel heat up first – up to 23% more quickly than the front panel of a traditional radiator – providing up to 50% more radiant heat than a traditional parallel feed radiator. This with the energy savings, make Radical a very interesting option for housebuilders looking to meet the new carbon targets and provide another clear option for heat pump driven heating systems, where the technology will offer significant benefits, but again, only if properly sized.


stelrad-radiators-6Focal point of a home

Stelrad still sees its Compact and Elite models taking the lion’s share of new build radiator sales, but they are seeing a steady growth of premium panel, designer and decorative radiators – particularly in kitchens and in the main living room and master bedroom in more upmarket properties.

There is a very real feeling that radiators can be a focal point in the home rather than simply a functional heating appliance. The company is seeing the higher priced, more aesthetically appealing colourful radiators taking a larger share of the sales to the new build marketplace.

In particular their Planar and Compact with Style, flat fronted, slim line radiators are seeing significant sales growth in new build opportunities around the country as are their tubular and flat tube options – the Caliente and the Concord options in particular.


Colour choice

But perhaps the most impressive change in radiators in the past few years has been the huge increase in colours that radiators are available in nowadays. Stelrad now offers many of its models in up to 35 different colours – with a small delivery waiting time – but a time wait that is worth it to get exactly the right colours and shades for interior décor purposes.

Typical of the opportunities for ‘heated colour’ in interior décor is Stelrad’s Swing. This model is based on the company’s Compact Vertex radiator but sees the addition of a one piece, curved steel front cover that gives it a modern and aesthetically pleasing designer feel.

It comes in white as standard, but can be specially ordered in up to 35 colours, making it an extremely attractive product for interior designers and architects, looking to match radiator colours with corporate or specific colour décor. Or even for those looking to make a statement – with a vivid colour use that makes it leap out from its surroundings.


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