The Role of Underfloor Heating in Smart Buildings and Smart Cities

Imagine walking home on a chilly winter’s eve, and you’re just dreading having to go inside and wait for your heating system to kick in. You wrap as many blankets around you as you sit in discomfort, hoping you’ll be warm soon. Well, with the emergence of smart buildings and smart cities, this dread is a day of the past. Instead of having to wait to warm up, your home will be all toasty as you walk in the door.

But how is this possible? Underfloor heating is one of the automated systems you can introduce into a smart building. Not only does it increase your overall comfort, but it is also there to improve the efficiency and safety of everyone living there. 

Underfloor Heating
Underfloor Heating

Let’s dive more into underfloor heating and the role it plays in smart buildings and cities. 

What is underfloor heating?

The basis of underfloor heating is simple. It’s all in the name. It’s a heating system that is placed below the floor’s surface. It can be installed in both commercial and industrial buildings and it is designed to generate heat from below and send it upward, covering the whole surface area of a room as it does so. 

There are two main types of underfloor heating:

Water underfloor heating

Water (or hydronic) underfloor heating is the most efficient system available. It involves installing a series of pipes and tubes underneath your floor. Once connected to a manifold and turned on, warm water will flow through and effectively heat up the area above. This sort of system is best used in entire properties rather than a singular room. 

Electric underfloor heating

Electric underfloor heating works in the same way as its water counterpart, just with different components. Instead of pipes and tubes, it uses cables or heating mats that are connected to a power source. Electricity flows through the system to heat up the room above. Unlike water, this sort of system is best recommended for individual rooms. 

Integrating underfloor heating in smart buildings

Before we dive into how underfloor heating can work in smart buildings, let’s look at what exactly a smart building is. Put simply, they are buildings that utilise technology, often types that are automated, to enhance the efficiency, comfort, and safety of their inhabitants. They have a range of systems that work together to ensure the smooth running of building operations. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) plays an important role in smart buildings as it’s often what connects the various devices (such as underfloor heating and lighting) to the internet. It allows for real-time monitoring, data collection, and remote control. 

So, how does underfloor heating contribute to all of this? Well, the systems are often integrated with smart thermostats and other home automation systems to enhance their efficiency and responsiveness. 

Smart thermostats allow inhabitants within a building to control when their underfloor heating is on. For example, they can set schedules that coincide with when they’ll be home, ensuring that the system isn’t running at unwanted times. They can also work to detect the environment’s temperature to ensure it’s at the most efficient warmth, ultimately saving energy and ensuring your maximum comfort. 

Other home automation systems that can be used with underfloor heating include big names such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa. You can connect them to your system to help you control it through voice commands or via your mobile. 

Benefits of underfloor heating in smart cities

Underfloor heating comes with a wide range of benefits, which is why smart buildings and cities are starting to use it. Here are the main advantages you’ll have of introducing it into your home or commercial building:

Energy efficiency

One of the most important things we should focus on in today’s world is limiting our energy consumption. Compared to traditional heating methods such as radiators, underfloor heating is much more energy efficient, especially when paired with devices such as smart thermostats. 

It has been found that underfloor heating uses much less energy per square meter, not only bringing down your monthly electric bills but also helping you contribute positively to the environment. You can reduce your carbon footprint and have peace of mind while also living comfortably each day. 

Comfort and health benefits

When you’ve used a radiator in the past, what has been your biggest concern? Was it that it doesn’t evenly distribute warmth throughout the room? This is many people’s complaint, as they need to basically be sitting right next to it to feel comfortable. Well, with underfloor heating, the comfort is spread the same way throughout every inch of the building. 

Not only that, but underfloor heating also comes with a wide range of health benefits. They are designed so that there is a reduction in allergens floating around the room, resulting in improved indoor air quality. 

Space utilisation

Another big complaint that people have about traditional heating methods, like radiators and fireplaces, is that they take up a large space in the room. This prevents you from efficiently using every wall or corner of the area. Instead of introducing a new piece of furniture, you have a bulky heating system in the way.

By removing these systems and replacing them with underfloor heating, you can maximise your interior space and give yourself a lot more design flexibility. You don’t have to plan where you put what based on what heating you use, and instead have complete freedom to use the space above. 

Conclusion

Overall, underfloor heating comes with a wide range of benefits and is arguably the best heating alternative for smart buildings and cities. It can be seamlessly integrated with other smart systems and allow for better energy efficiency and comfort.

If you want to introduce an underfloor heating system into your home or building, ensure you use a properly trained professional who has expertise in installation. They can guide you through the best system for you and ensure it stays with you for as long as possible.