Canadian Consulting Engineer

Robots compare comfort of hydronic radiant vs. forced air heating

July 19, 2007
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Researchers at the National Research Council of Canada's Institute for Research in Construction are using robots to...

Researchers at the National Research Council of Canada’s Institute for Research in Construction are using robots to measure whether forced-air heating or hydronic radiant heating is more effective for making occupants comfortable.
Using a special “ventilation and wall research house” on the Ottawa campus, they are using two automated 3-dimensional robotic systems to measure and monitor the thermal conditions in five directions. The robots roam through two rooms, with sensors attached to pivoting booms. One room is heated by forced air, and the other by a hydronic radiant heating system. The evaluation involves comparing the vertical air temperature, the floor temperatures, drafts and air velocity. They will also compare energy savings.
A report in the institute’s June 2007 newsletter Construction Innovation notes that the hydronic radiant system is believed to have the potential to provide more uniform temperature conditions from floor to ceiling, and therefore provide more comfort. “Due to the physical properties of water, a hydronic system can transport a given amount of heating energy using less than 5% of the energy required by a conventional motor paired with a fan-set. Combined with more efficient forced-air systems, hydronic systems also have the potential to offer improved comfort and substantial energy savings.”
The current experiments are being done until the fall.


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