With underfloor heating has become a popular choice for every property type thanks to its flexibility, efficiency and ability to seamlessly pair with renewable technologies.
Here Ashley Cooper, Managing Director at WMS, a leading supplier and installer of underfloor heating systems, explains more about the latest Part L regulation changes for new build homes and why underfloor heating is the ideal solution to meet the low temperature heating challenge.
What are the changes being enforced?
“After transport and energy supply, one of the biggest contributors of carbon emissions is the residential sector. To make a big difference to emissions from the sector, the Government has launched a timeline of changes – the first being enforced improvements to the way new homes are built.
“The low water temperature update to the Building Regulations and Part L will come into force in June 2022, from which point there will be an enforced 31% reduction in CO2 from new dwellings compared to current standards. New home heating systems will also be required to have a maximum flow temperature of 55°C.
“Another key change is that all new homes must incorporate a self-regulating control device which allows for zoning within the property, to further increase efficiency.
“Differing from previous regulatory changes, multi-unit new build developments may be split up between old and new regulations depending on the timings of planning applications being submitted and work commencing. This change will ensure as many homes as possible are being built in line with new energy efficiency standards.
“In practice, this means that work needs to be submitted by June 2022 and individual plots commenced by June 2023 for those dwelling to be built to current 2013 standards. Anything outside of this and everything from June 2023 will be on these new regulations. There will also be a government set format for a home user guide, which will provide and guidance for homeowners about efficiently operating their home.”
Are radiators still an option to meet the new regulations?
“Radiators would need to be significantly larger to achieve the heat output required, whilst meeting the required lower flow temperatures. Low temperature radiators can also cause problems when it comes to with heat distribution.
“Larger radiators naturally mean an increase in build costs and – due to their size – they also need to be hung on an external wall, restricting interior layout options.
“As for lifecycle waste, radiators also need to be replaced after around 20 years, which in turn creates a landfill waste issue. All in all, radiators simply can’t tick all the right boxes.”
What’s the best alternative solution to meet the standards?
“Hydronic (water based) underfloor heating has always been, by its very nature, a low temperature system and is the ideal solution to meet the revised regulations. Designed to cover a much greater surface area than radiators, it is already designed to run at lower temperatures (35°C rather than 80°C).
“This key benefit also makes integration of underfloor heating with renewable energy sources ideal and more efficient as the system doesn’t have to work as hard – therefore using less energy as there’s less heat, making it up to 50% more efficient than an equivalent radiator system. Underfloor heating systems can also be fully zoned, which ticks a crucial regulatory box and ensures no energy is wasted as each zone can be controlled individually from a central thermostat, or even via a smart phone app.
“When it comes to sustainability, underfloor heating also ticks the right boxes. Our underfloor heating pipe is guaranteed to last for 75 years, whereas radiators would have to be replaced at least twice over that time.”
What other benefits does underfloor heating offer?
“Aside from future proofing new properties in line with the incoming Part L revisions, underfloor heating also offers additional health, safety and design benefits.
“As radiant heat reduces the movement of dust, indoor air quality is greatly improved, which is particularly important for those who suffer from with allergies and asthma. It also reduces the spread of viruses or germs within the home.
“Safety is also a key feature, especially for children, elderly and vulnerable occupants, as there are no hard edges or hot surfaces to fall against or touch, eliminating the risk of burns from contact with the heating system.
“From an aesthetic perspective, underfloor heating offers complete design freedom – from suitability for open plan room layouts, to suitability to be paired with all floor coverings, even carpet.”