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Thermally Activated Building Structures (TABS)

Download our specifier’s guide towards a carbon-zero future

This whitepaper aims to demonstrating how TABS works, why it’s necessary and its value for construction in a low-carbon economy.

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Efficient heating and cooling for buildings

Energy cost, carbon reduction and legislation drive the need to find new and innovative ways to heat and cool modern buildings. Thermally Activated Building Structures - or TABS – is an innovative cooling and heating system engineered to meet these high requirements.

TABS utilises the large thermal mass of concrete building structures as a buffer for the changing cooling or heating loads during the day. It does this by running hot or cold water through pipes within the slab.

TABS is proving itself as an efficient low energy cooling system on various BREEAM "Excellent" and "Very Good", and Passivhaus certified projects across the UK.


Thermally activated building structures have the following benefits;

  • Low investment and operating costs
  • "Gentle cooling" without draft effects
  • Reduced air exchange in combination with ventilation systems
  • No sick building syndrome
  • Use of alternative energy sources
  • Low flow temperatures 
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Energy Savings

AirChillerComfort Levels

Lower air volumes -  
> less energy required 
& reduced fan size

Higher temps (15-18°C)

compared to AC (6-12°C)

Increased comfort and 
reduced draughts

Noise ReductionCOP uplift of chiller

1°C increase in room temp 
= ca. 6% energy savings


Typical applications of Thermally Activated Building Structures:

  • Offices
  • Hospitals
  • Retail
  • Museums / galleries
  • Transport hubs / stations
  • Sport centres / arena
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Installation Methods

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In-situ concrete slabs

  • Large circuits possible
  • Minimal connections within structure
  • Around 300m2 installed per day (2 people)
  • Can sit anywhere within structural slab
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Precast concrete planks

  • Offsite construction methods
  • Quick to install on site
  • Easy connections into building services
  • High cooling capacity of up to 90W/m 
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Pre-fabricated mesh

  • Fast installation
  • Can be used for PT slab applications
  • Better outputs when near slab surface 
  • Ideal for Tichelmann Loops
  • 2 options - sTABS or TABS module
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Beyond the REHAU PE-Xa pipe, the jointing system plays a central role. Over 850 million fittings have been installed worldwide,  our jointing system consists of only 2 components; a compression sleeve and fitting.


  • Fast and easy to install
  • No hot works on site, no mess
  • 10 year comprehensive warranty
  • No O-ring
  • Installation is immediately able to handle pressure loads

Market Research

Here at REHAU we aim to provide the best service offering we can to our customers. We are constantly striving to educate the industry with the expert knowledge we retain as well as learning more about our customer’s needs. For this, we are currently conducting a market research survey to gather feedback on the current understanding of TABS and how the industry sees the market developing. The survey will take approximate 4 minutes to complete and consists of a maximum of 13 questions.




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