Radiant Heating Systems

Radiant heating is hardly a new technology. In fact, it's been around since ancient Greek and Roman times, possibly longer. Evidence of ancient piping systems is found among the ruins of some of the world's oldest civilizations.

Modern Innovation
Using modern polymer solutions, REHAU has perfected the application of first century discoveries to twenty-first century homes and buildings. We've taken the premise of this relatively simple technology and developed a modern system that circulates warm water through a network of polymer pipes placed in the floor, wall or ceiling. Heat gently radiates to warm surfaces, objects and air in the room, creating a comfortable environment.

What Makes Radiant Heating Ideal for Human Comfort?
Science shows that heat emission from the human body occurs mainly via three mechanisms: radiation, evaporation and convection. Humans feel most comfortable when they can regulate at least 50% of their heat emission via radiation, and when their feet are warmer than their heads.

Radiant heating systems provide heat on the basis of low heating surface temperatures over a large area and an even air temperature distribution with mild, comfortable radiated energy. In contrast to conventional forced-air systems, a radiative equillibrium is generated between people and the surfaces throughout the room, more closely achieving the optimal thermal comfort level for occupants.

How it Works

Warm Circulating Water
REHAU’s radiant heating systems work by circulating warm water through a network of pipes placed in the floor, wall or ceiling. Heat is gently radiated from the panel, warming the surfaces, objects and air in the room to create a comfortable environment.

The water for a radiant system can be warmed with boilers, geothermal heat pumps, solar collection systems and water heaters.

Our systems are compatible with hardwood, carpet, vinyl, ceramic, tile and natural stone floor coverings.


1. RAUPEX pipe
2. RAUPLATE joist space heating
3. RAUPANEL dry panel heating
4. PRO-BALANCE manifold


Benefits

Step onto a floor with REHAU radiant heating and experience comfort at its best. Heat is gently radiated through the space virtually eliminating cold spots and temperature fluctuations. Radiant heating is quiet, clean and economical, and works with a variety of heat sources and floor coverings. Other benefits include:


Increases Comfort
Step onto a floor with REHAU radiant heating and experience comfort at its best. Heat is gently radiated throughout the space, virtually eliminating cold spots and temperature fluctuations. A radiant heating system also keeps floors warm and dry.

Enhances Control
It’s easy to zone a radiant heating system using the REHAU PRO-BALANCE manifold combined with multiple thermostats. This allows you to adjust temperatures in a single room or a group of rooms, based on activity and usage levels. For example, a guest room can be kept at a lower temperature when not in use.

Offers Flexibility
Radiant heating can be used in floors, walls and ceilings and can be installed in a single room or throughout your home or building. There are no heaters, radiators or additional vents, so you’ll have more design freedom and open space. Radiant heating is a great choice for today’s open floor plans, especially in areas with high ceilings.

Improves Energy Efficiency
Radiant heating allows a thermostat to be set as much as 4ºF (2ºC) lower than it would be with traditional hot air systems without sacrificing comfort. These lower operating temperatures coupled with the superior heat transfer properties of water can reduce fuel consumption, potentially saving up to 30% per year in heating expenses. And since radiant heating can be used with a variety of heat sources including geothermal heat pumps, solar collection systems and condensing boiler technologies, additional savings are possible.

Installation

REHAU radiant heating is compatible with a variety of floor coverings, including hardwood, carpet, vinyl, ceramic, tile and natural stone.

Slab

Pipes can be installed within a normal concrete slab either on or below grade, usually with no design changes to the slab. It is very important to use the right amount of insulation under a heated slab for optimal efficiency and response time.

This wet installation method is ideally suited for basement floors, warehouses, utility buildings and large-scale commercial projects. This is a common installation method for new construction.

Overpour

Pipes can be installed above suspended wood floors and encased in a thin slab overpour, usually 1.5 in (38 mm) thick.


Joist Space

Aluminum heat transfer plates are installed directly under the subfloor to conduct heat from the pipes. Joist space installation is sometimes ideal for retrofit construction, since you don’t have to alter your flooring.

Below Floor Plates

Dry Panel
Pipes are snapped into aluminum heat transfer panels placed on top of a suspended wood floor or existing slab. This system delivers the best efficiency and response time. It's also a great option for both retrofit and new construction because it has a low profile and is easy to install.

Above Floor Panels

Radiant Walls and Ceilings

Floors aren't the only possibilities for radiant heating. With the proper design techniques, you can enjoy a highly effective radiant system when pipes are placed within a stud wall or ceiling. These other surfaces can provide a perfect solution for retrofit radiant systems and rooms with floor areas that are too small to provide sufficient heat.

Projects

REHAU Radiant: San Diego Central Courthouse

San Diego Courthouse (San Diego, CA)

Approximately 112,000 ft (34,138 m) of 5/8 in. RAUPEX pipe runs through this 704,000 ft2 (65,400 m2) courthouse, carrying temperature-controlled fluid. Chilled and hot water are mixed to appropriate temperature, depending on the operation (cooling or heating) of the radiant floors and zones. 

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Radiant Heating Sheridan College

Sheridan College Davis Campus (Brampton, Ontario)

The energy performance of this new facility, which opened in fall 2017, exceeds the LEED Gold standard at 100 kilowatt hours per square meter per year (32.2 kBtu/ft2 /yr). The building uses REHAU radiant in-floor heating and cooling technology, which designers say was the obvious solution for tackling the challenge of maintaining comfortable temperatures in a structure with very high ceilings.

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YWCA Toronto Elm Centre (Toronto, Ontario)

The YWCA Elm Centre is an $80 million, 302-unit affordable and supportive permanent housing complex for women and women-led families. The complex spans an entire city block and includes residential towers, a restaurant, boutique, auditorium and other commercial space, as well as the new YWCA Toronto corporate offices. The design incorporates a variety of sustainable construction elements, including an innovative thermally-activated slab radiant heating and cooling system manufactured by REHAU. 

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JSF High School (Toronto, Ontario)

The École secondaire Jeunes sans frontiers (JSF) is dedicated to fostering an enriched, student-focused learning experience for its students. This includes providing a comfortable, healthy and sustainably designed learning environment. Installed throughout the entire 90,000 ft2 (8,463 m2) facility, the REHAU radiant heating and cooling system consists of 104,700 ft (31,913 m) of RAUPEX® 5/8-in. O2 Barrier pipe and 42 PRO-BALANCE® manifolds pre-piped with three-way valves into all recessed manifold distribution cabinets.

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REHAU UBC Student Centre Project

University of British Columbia (UBC) Student Centre (Vancouver, BC)

This LEED® Gold certified building, designed in part by engineering students themselves, incorporates reused materials, passive solar heating and a ventilation system combined with radiant that harnesses a “stack effect’’ to move air through the building naturally. It incorporates a REHAU Radiant Heating System featuring RAUPEX® crosslinked polyethylene PEXa pipe installed in floors throughout the building to provide precise heat to 20 separate zones.

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University of Chicago Student Residence (Chicago, IL)

Campus North Residential Commons is a 400,000 ft2 (37,161 m2) energy-efficient structure designed with modern student life in mind. The housing complex bridges the academic community with the surrounding neighborhood of Hyde Park. Common areas are heated via a traditional forced-air system, while the living quarters use REHAU in-slab hydronic radiant heating and cooling. The radiant system was chosen early in the project for the dorm rooms in order to improve energy efficiency and enhance comfort for the students. 

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Sweetwater Spectrum (Sonoma, CA) 

Recognizing a need for housing support as their children with autism advanced into adulthood, a group of Northern California families combined forces to conceptualize the Sweetwater Spectrum community for adults with autism. The residential community incorporates a combined radiant heating and cooling system in its housing areas as well as in the 2,290 square foot community center.

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REHAU RAUMAT radiant heating installation

Kent Distribution Center (New Brunswick, Canada)

Developers of a 383,000 ft2 (35,580 m2) distribution center for Kent Building Supplies, a Canada-based home improvement retailer, selected the RAUMAT radiant heating mat system from REHAU for those very reasons. One of the largest buildings in New Brunswick, located in Moncton off the Trans-Canada Highway, the warehouse required 400,000 ft (123,295 m) of RAUPEX O2 Barrier pipe. The radiant slab was completed in just under two months.

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See more reference projects here

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ARTICLES

Net Zero Near the River
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Being Radiant
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VAV vs Radiant: Side-by-Side Comparison
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Radiant Design for Performance
IE3 05.14

Colorado Aviation Training Facility Uses Radiant Heating/cooling to Reach LEED®Silver
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The Path to Near Net-zero is Underfoot
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REHAU Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems Deliver on Energy Efficient Goals
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Don't Just Go With The Flow: Creating Hydronic Radiant Equipment Schedules is the Key to Successful Radiant Projects
HPAC Magazine 02.13

YWCA Toronto Features Thermally Activated Slab, Geothermal Design
ACHR News, 11.12

Thermally Activated Slab Technology: The Next Generation
HPAC Magazine 11.12

Radiant Design Fundamentals: Start At The Beginning
Mechanical Business 01.11

Radiant Design Fundamentals: One Thing Leads to Another
Mechanical Business 03.11

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Contractor 08.11

Architecture Projects of the Future (REHAU Montana ecosmart house)
REHAU Unlimited Magazine

Researching Energy Efficiency (REHAU Montana ecosmart house)
Plumbing & Mechanical 09.1