A comprehensive underfloor heating solution for eco-friendly homes
Canterbury-based land owner Mark Goodban had an idea. He wanted to commission three new properties for his family to live in, which would be very much be centred on sustainability and energy efficiency.
A chance encounter with Polypipe regional sales manager, Gary Foord, led to Polypipe’s comprehensive underfloor heating products being selected for use as an efficient heating solution for the properties, which are situated in rural Kent.
Comprising three four-bedroom homes, each approximately 200m² in size, the initial challenge for Mark was to identify a heating solution which could work seamlessly with a ground source heat pump – a pump that would need to heat both the ground floor and first floor systems.
“Mark very much liked the idea of creating three family-sized detached properties that would be comfortable, efficient and sustainable,” says Gary. “He knew that he wanted underfloor heating to be powered by a ground source heat pump, but finding an underfloor heating product for the first floor that could be heated via the ground source heat pump was something he was struggling with.”
Gary worked closely with Mark, his builders and his plumber during the initial design of the comprehensive heating solution.
The original plan for the project considered using Modular Heating Panels (MHP) because the traditional timber joists upstairs meant MHP could be fitted quickly and easily. However, the underfloor heating needed to work seamlessly with the ground source heat pump, and as such Gary advocated the use of Overlay™ panels instead.
“Polypipe’s Overlay™ solution came with its own pump manifold and temperature regulators, which meant it was easy for those living in the homes to operate,” says Gary. Developed specifically to maximise comfort and offer ease of control for end users, Polypipe’s range of controls incorporates both dial and digital display thermostats that allow time control per room or per manifold as required, with all options available in either hardwired or RF (wireless) versions. The range now offers homeowners the ability to time control up to four different manifolds from one single hand held unit.
“Installation was straight forward too as the panels were very easy to modify on site and very quick to lay down. It was the plumber’s first time using the product in a project, however he has gone on to use the Overlay™ system on a couple of schemes since,” continues Gary.
Following the installation of the Overlay™ system to the first floor of the three properties, it was decided that each property would also benefit from OverlayTM in the annex above the garages.
Designed to be used when family and friends visited, the installation of Overlay™ in the annex meant the space could be warm, comfortable and efficient all year round.
Elsewhere in the properties, a Solid Floor system was identified as the ideal underfloor heating system for the ground floors. “The ground floor of each property was solid, and so we required a heating solution that was quick, easy and that we were able to cut to size,” says Mark. “I knew that it would be easy to fit the Solid Floor system in any shaped room with no difficulty.
“It’s a fantastic product, and the polybutylene pipes are very flexible and simple to use, making the underfloor heating system installation extremely fast and accurate. The most important benefit to using this system, however, is that the pipe layout ensures heat output is consistent across the entire floor area, and it’s very easy to control too, which is exactly what I wanted for the homes.”
The comprehensive solution also complemented other energy-saving measures installed in the properties, including three 5000 litre Rainstream rainwater harvesting systems, which were supplied by Polypipe from its Home Solutions range of products.
“Wherever you install underfloor heating, you always think you’ll have challenges to overcome,” says Mark. “However the success of this project goes some way to highlight the importance of working closely with the building product manufacturer and planning the design of the system in advance. That way, we didn’t come up against any surprise challenges that put us on the back foot.”
With no two jobs quite the same, it’s important that installers have the most effective and proven products at hand to meet the most demanding of settings.
As experts in professional plumbing and heating products and accessories, the team at Polypipe Plumbing & Heating is acutely aware of the need to support plumbers and heat engineers with an extensive range of product solutions that can enable them to successfully complete the job at hand.