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New underfloor heating systems keep buildings cool

New development in underfloor heating technology means that systems can cool buildings in hot weather, and heat them on cooler days.

If Britain continues to have very high temperatures in summer, property owners may need ways to keep their buildings cool. In the USA, it is common for the interior of properties to be cooled with air conditioning, but this uses a lot of energy and is expensive to run. Fans can be used but they also consume electricity rapidly.

New underfloor heating systems use technology that takes advantage of the temperature of the earth several yards below the surface being at a stable temperature all year round. Liquid is pumped through buried pipes where it cools ready to be pumped back into the underfloor heating pipes to keep room temperatures down. In the winter, the water is heated before it is pumped through the underfloor heating. These systems are very energy efficient and the pumps and water heating can be powered by alternative energy sources such as solar panels.

Systems to both cool and heat rooms are not new, with basic fan heaters able to act as cold air fans as well as blow out heat, but underfloor systems that use cold and hot water are more energy efficient and can heat or cool larger areas.

These systems are pricier than conventional electric underfloor heating so take-up has been slow, but they are popular in northern China where the average temperature is high in summer.