Why Underfloor Heating Is A More Sustainable Option

When it comes to sustainable heating in modern times, there is a good case to be made for opting for underfloor heating. Let’s have a look at why so many people claim that underfloor heating truly is the superior option when considering Eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness.

Energy Conservation

Provided that your home or office is properly insulated, you will notice that you can make incredible saving on your energy bills. New buildings that are built to code will automatically be insulated to the level where underfloor heating is effective, but it isn’t hard to fit adequate insulation and draft proofing to ensure that underfloor heating is able to completely heat the room.

The Standard Assessment Procedure, used to calculate a new buildings energy performance, records an energy saving of 5% when using an underfloor system with a condensing boiler, as opposed to a radiator system. Pairing the system to a renewable energy source, such as solar heating or a ground source heat pump can see these savings jump to as high as 40% or more, depending on the installation and size of the particular room.

Why such a big gap, you ask? The answer lies in the method of heating. A typical central heating system relies on convection, where heat rises and creates a very warm layer of air at ceiling level, leaving a much cooler temperature at floor level. Therefore, some of the heat is wasted through the roof as the room is heated sufficiently to achieve a comfortable temperature lower down.

On the other hand, underfloor heating radiates heat into the room from the whole surface of the floor, which creates a comfortable temperature from ground up. This radiated heat is absorbed by people and by furniture and objects in the room, which allows underfloor heating to create a comfortable temperature at approximately 2°C lower than what is required by conventional systems.

Cost Effectiveness

Since an underfloor heating system requires less energy to create a comfortable temperature for occupants, it stands to reason that your energy bills will be lower. While we mentioned a 2°C difference previously, underfloor heating actually runs at much lower temperature ranges than conventional central heating. A typical underfloor system runs in the range of around 30-50°C, whereas radiators typically run at 60-80°C. As you can probably tell, that is a lot of saving over the course of a single billing period.

Can Underfloor Heating Run With Renewable Energy Sources?

Without a doubt, underfloor heating can be linked to any type of renewable energy source, which provides even greater potential for conserving energy and saving money. Photovoltaic systems, ground source heat pumps, solar panels and wind turbines could all be used to heat an underfloor heating system, and eventually the systems combined could provide free sustainable energy.

Photovoltaic systems use solar heating to power a buildings electric supply, some buildings with a large roof surface are able to produce enough electricity for their demand and are able to sell electricity back to the grid. While most homes may not have the roof space to power the entire house, an underfloor heating system can be installed with a photovoltaic system to power it, which will result in cheaper running costs.

An underfloor heating system that is powered by water rather than gas is suitable for use with ground source heat pumps and solar water heating systems. Ground source heat pumps involve the laying of pipes in the garden or somewhere suitable on the property, and extracting the heat directly from the ground.

A heat pump could provide the hot water for a wet underfloor system exclusively, helped by the fact that it runs at lower temperatures than radiators, offering completely free heating.

In Summary

Underfloor heating is more energy efficient than most types of heating, given the right circumstances. Well insulated, double glazed and draft proofed houses will conserve energy and save money by using underfloor heating, particularly if it is linked to a renewable energy source such as a ground source heat pump or a photovoltaic system.

In new buildings underfloor heating is becoming the more popular choice as the installation costs are no different to a central heating system, but running costs are much lower in the long term. Add this to the energy saving grants available that offer further savings. Looking for a reliable team to give you more personalized information and provide quick and affordable installation services? Look no further than the folks over at North East Hydronic Radiant!

Environmental Aspects of Ecological Renovation


What is ecological renovation?

Ecological renovation in practice

Preparing your ecological renovation project

Ecological renovation makes it possible to improve comfort, reduce costs and take environmental issues into account, notably by avoiding the 2,000 kWh of primary energy per square meter of new construction due mainly to the structure’s construction. The ecological renovation preserves and enhances the local heritage and safeguards agricultural land by avoiding urbanization. But how can it be done? Where to start? What are the right questions to ask, the mistakes most often made? Where to find objective information? Read more below!

What is ecological renovation?

The ecological renovation consists of renovating one’s home while considering different and multiple environmental issues, as described below.

Climate change caused by the increased emission of greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases, etc.) has very worrying environmental and social consequences.

The depletion of various resources available on earth today is also worrying. These resources are in limited quantity (primary energy source, raw materials). Their quality is threatened by our lifestyles: arable land whose fertility is compromised by intensive agriculture, water, and air whose quality depends on local pollution.

Human health and biodiversity are also an important issue to which ecological renovation must respond. The objective is to limit local, global, and distant pollution and health risks (oil spills or nuclear accidents, for example).

Energy renovation

For each of these issues, the consumption of non-renewable energy has a significant impact. An ecological renovation, therefore, requires, in particular, an energy renovation, and thus a drastic reduction in power for heating and cooling. Indeed, heating is, by far, an essential item at home.

Ecological renovation in practice

Bioclimatic architecture

Initially, the principles of bioclimatic architecture should be used as much as possible:

  • Think of a compact house (more living space for less surface area giving onto the outside).
  • Plan an opening to the south to benefit from free solar gain in winter.
  • Protect yourself from prevailing winds.
  • Use inertia and solar protection, and above all, optimize insulation.


An ecological material is above all a material that meets a given need: insulation, water tightness, mechanical strength, water vapor permeability, for example. It must also be free of health risks: beware of toxic chemical compounds in paints.

Finally, an environmentally friendly material must have a reduced impact on the environment. It is preferable to use materials manufactured as close as possible to where they will be used (to avoid transport pollution) and coming from a recycling process (cellulose wadding, recycled textiles, etc.). However, transport pollution is inevitable when the material is of plant origin (wood fiber, hemp, flax) or animal origin (sheep’s wool).

Good to know: often, the original materials (oak frame, a stone wall, for example) have interesting properties and save material, energy, and water for the manufacture of new materials. This is one of the advantages of renovation over new construction.

Preparing your ecological renovation project

The right questions

Above all, it’s about asking the right questions, getting the correct answers, adapted to your home. For example:

  • What are my needs (living space, number of bedrooms)?
  • Does the building have humidity problems?
  • Is the architectural quality to be preserved?
  • What elements need to be changed: the condition of the roof, electricity, heating system?
  • What are the elements to keep?
  • What materials and energy sources can I find nearby?

Two structures can provide you with advice in your ecological renovation project: the EPA’s GreenCheck and the Society for Ecological Restoration. You will also need to involve competent professionals in architecture and energy performance.