DESIGNI NG green THE HEAT IS ON!
S OU L E S CAPE
ESTHETICS Est. Since 2006
EMINENCE ORGANIC FACIAL WITH MICRODERMABRASION $72
he holidays are over but we can still talk about thermal massing. This is the kind we store in the floor and not around our belt so relax. In-floor heating or hydronic heating as it is commonly referred, is becoming a more popular heating option again amongst the active lifestyle crowd and in bathrooms for the spa lovers. Frank Lloyd Wright incorporated hydronic heating into nearly every home outside of the warmer climes of California going back to the late 1800’s. Taking advantage of his sprawling
red tinted concrete slabs, he ran steel piping throughout. This caused grief after many decades as the steel corroded so now we employ Pex piping, a very flexible plastic that often comes reinforced in many ways ensuring many years of continued use and for a fraction of the cost and minimal installation times. Taking advantage of the thermal massing created by a large extensive concrete slab is like having a warm blanket underfoot that stores the heat for hours on end after being energized. This holds temperatures even and by being in contact, offers great comfort for those on the go who want a constant reliable heat. This works nicely on rancher or one level homes but increasingly can be added to two level homes to offer dry warmth on the main and allow the heat to circulate upwards warming the floors above. With in-slab heating, temperatures only need to reach levels below body temperature or the high 80’s or slightly above 27 to 28 Celsius. So energy costs are less as the cost of creating
#4 -5777 Trans Canada Hwy, Duncan 250.748.2056 www.soulescape.ca The ﬁrst and only Green Spa in the Cowichan Valley. that increased temperature is lower than say radiators that require temperatures above 130 Fahrenheit or mid 50’s Celsius. With the popularity of polished concrete and decorative terrazzo finishes, the heat and floor finish combine to save the homeowner thousands if planned correctly from the beginning. Another long term advantage to this durable and low maintenance heat source is the piping can be energized by whatever fuel device is most cost competitive in the future. Whether it be electric, gas, wood, hydrogen or geothermal and now even air to water heat pumps (electric again but highly efficient). Even supplemented by solar, the distribution stays in place forever, one simply changes out the source if required. For renovations, one can add electric coils over wood flooring and add ceramic or stone tiles over to create the direct contact with heat. These are very popular in baths and for smaller isolated areas but not recommended for whole house systems
because of operating costs. I recommend the full gauge wired floors over any convenient matt systems that can be fragile over the long term. There are also various firms offering pex piping systems imbedded into preformed plywood or high density foam subfloors. More costly but friendly when using hardwood floor surfaces. Remember, hydronic heat requires an air exchange to keep air moving so an HRV (heat recovery ventilator) should be coupled with the system but this can be seen to replace any bathroom fans in your plans. Winter is not over yet so there is still time to consider. David Coulson is a local certified Built Green design builder. He has a staff of 25 that have built throughout the Island for over 20 years.
Image Top; Coulson Design Studio floor. Heated slate and heated concrete terrazzo. Photo credit Donna Burdulea. 2nd photo combi’ boiler providing heat and domestic hot water. Photo David Couslon