Industry Insights: Does the UK need a Scandinavian approach to heating?

Promoting sustainable heating

Nu-Heat has been working with NIBE (a leading European manufacturer of sustainable energy solutions) to promote the adoption of the renewable energy and low flow temperature heating solutions for over a decade. Together, the two companies champion the winning combination of ground or air source heat pumps with warm water underfloor heating.

In the first of our series of Industry Insights, Phil Hurley, Managing Director of NIBE, considers whether a Scandinavian approach to heating could be the answer to the challenges facing the UK today.

NIBE Managing Director, Phil Hurley
The promise of a greener future

Sustainability, home building and the use of high carbon fuels are all hot topics right now, and recent Government announcements see the UK publicly striving for a greener, cleaner and more certain future.

Government has promised to support sustainability in house building, committed to protect and ring-fence the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) budget until 2020/21, and pledged to phase out the use of high carbon fuels by 2030. These are steps in the right direction that offer a positive vision of the future, but what we need now is a clear plan that sets out how these ambitions are going to be achieved.

How can heating make a difference?

You might think that, in comparison to reducing carbon emissions from transport and waste, for example, choosing a more sustainable way to heat our homes might have little impact on the big picture. However, with the Committee on Climate Change estimating that almost a third of the UK’s total carbon emissions come from heating, there is real merit in making smarter heating choices. The ability of heating to help achieve the Government’s ambitious 2030 target should not be underestimated, but action needs to start now.

A good place to begin is with building regulations and best practice for new build homes. As a nation that has committed to reduce its carbon footprint, it seems ludicrous that new homes built off of the mains gas grid are still being heated with oil, leaving homeowners with heating bills that are only ever likely to go up, and a heat source that is anything but green. Surely building regulations should reward, encourage and facilitate the use of renewable energy and lower flow temperature heating systems in these new homes?

Accommodating renewable options like heat pumps, and lower flow temperature heating systems like warm water underfloor heating, would not only tick the box for sustainability and reduce carbon emissions, but reduce running costs for homeowners and allow them to benefit from RHI payments. We need to get to the point where sustainability is the norm rather than the exception.

This is where our Scandinavian friends have the right idea. Take NIBE’s home country, Sweden, as an example. More than half of the country’s energy comes from renewables, and the use of heat pumps combined with low-flow temperature underfloor heating is prevalent. It is no wonder that Sweden’s carbon emissions are lower – and their ambitions higher – than the UK.

The right time to change

The UK’s construction industry needs support to move away from ‘the way things have always been done’ and take the long-term view. Companies like NIBE and Nu-Heat can and do play their part in supporting installers and homeowners to make greener choices, but if we are to see a seismic shift towards sustainability – and meet the UK’s ambitious targets – then the rules of the game need to change.

This is an achievable ambition, and there are many reasons to be optimistic. We are leaving behind the years of uncertainty caused by the financial crisis, and are once again seeing growth in the building sector. The confirmation of RHI budgets for another few years offers greater confidence for installers and homeowners alike – a confidence that is reflected in the growth of the heat pump market. We are starting to see recognition for lower flow temperature heating solutions in building policy. The UK has made a public commitment to delivering more sustainable homes.

The time is right and the opportunity is there – all we need now is for actions to speak louder than words.

Is underfloor heating right for my home?

Warm water underfloor heating (UFH) can be used in almost any project, from new builds to renovations, and conversions to extensions.

Read on for answers to common UFH queries that will help you choose a heating system that perfectly fits your home.

Is my home suitable for UFH?

Whatever the age, size or construction of your property, chances are it’s suitable for UFH. Whether you’re plotting an extension, tackling a new build or giving your existing home a complete overhaul, we will design your UFH to be a perfect fit.

I’m renovating, will I need to dig up my floor?

No! UFH can be fitted directly on top of your existing floor, and our low-profile systems will minimise any disruption to fixtures and fittings.

Can I have UFH upstairs?

Yes, UFH can be installed on all floors. We even have specialist acoustic UFH solutions to reduce airborne and impact noise between floors.

How long does the UFH installation take?

This depends upon the best solution for your home. If you are building from scratch, your UFH can be installed within your floor as it is constructed. If you are renovating your property, there are a number of UFH solutions that can be laid over the top of your existing floor, some of which are ready for your floor coverings to be fitted immediately.

How much does UFH cost to run?

Warm water UFH is really efficient – around 25% more efficient than radiators when paired with a modern condensing boiler and up to 40% more efficient when running from a heat pump*. Because of this, running costs are often lower than a traditional radiator system and around a third of the cost of an equivalent electric UFH system.
*EuRay 2005

Do I need a special boiler?

No, UFH works with gas, oil and LPG boilers as well as heat pumps. UFH can also be run alongside your existing heating system.

Can I have carpet?

Yes. UFH is compatible with a wide range of floor coverings, including carpet, tiles, polished concrete and vinyl. We’ll design your UFH system to work with your choice of floor covering, providing a consistent, controllable heat.

How do I control my UFH?

We’ll design your UFH to give you complete control over your heating, with individual room-by-room temperature control and scheduling. You can even hide your thermostats away and control your entire UFH system from your smartphone or tablet.

Why should I choose a designed UFH system?

Properties of all ages can be suitable for UFH, but just as no two homes are the same, neither are any two rooms in your property. We’ll carry out room-by-room heat loss calculations before designing a bespoke UFH system tailored for your home and how you use it.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about UFH for your home, or would like us to send you a quote, please call us on 01404 549770 or email info@nu-heat.co.uk.

Free your home from radiators

Underfloor heating gives you the freedom to enjoy your home

How we heat our homes affects how we live in them. If you find your chilly kitchen a no-go zone, frequently abandon your comfy sofa to fight for the hot-spot by the radiator, and discover yourself reaching for an extra blanket, it’s time to break free from bad heating.

Don’t let radiators spoil your fun. It’s time to reclaim your space.

Why choose underfloor heating over radiators?

“I don’t know why we put up with radiators for so long – I’ll never go back!”

We hear this all the time from people living with underfloor heating.

Warm water underfloor heating gives you the freedom to enjoy every last inch of your home, meaning you can place fixtures and fittings where you please, box up the blankets and reclaim your space.

We believe that underfloor heating is the very best way to heat your home – and here is why.
It doesn’t cramp your style

Underfloor heating frees your walls so you’ll never have to place a sofa on a jaunty angle or compromise on your interior design ever again. You can even hide your thermostats away and control the entire system from your smartphone or tablet.

Reclaim your space

Cast off your fluffy slippers and put the champagne on ice – your cold kitchen has suddenly become the perfect entertaining space. Every part of every room is gloriously toasty when you choose underfloor heating. No draughts, no cold spots and no need for socks!

Enviously efficient

The great thing about underfloor heating is that it feels fantastic and frees up your home whilst still being incredibly efficient. Up to 25% more efficient than an equivalent radiator system*.
*EURay 2005

Choose heating as it should be

Whatever the age, size or construction of your home, chances are it’s suitable for underfloor heating. Whether you’re plotting an extension, tackling a new build or giving your existing home a complete overhaul, your heating should be designed to be a perfect fit. We will work out heat loss calculations for each and every room, designing your tailor-made underfloor heating system to ensure super-efficient, sensational snugness throughout your home.

Want to break free from radiators?

Call us on 01404 549770 or email info@nu-heat.co.uk to find out how we can help you reclaim your space.