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Smarter heating: securing best efficiency and saving

SPONSORED: Jamie Lewis, sales director at Merriott, explains how putting efficient radiators first can pay for itself in the long run

Posted by Jo Golding | May 23, 2019 | Interiors

As public sector budgets continue to tighten, the pressure is on for specifiers to help deliver long-term cost and energy savings for schools and other educational buildings. Making cost-effective improvements to drive down overheads is usually top of the agenda – which is why schools looking to fix their energy problems often choose to overhaul their heating system as a priority.

For those making heating upgrades, the upcoming summer holidays present a unique opportunity. After all, at no other point in the year do schools have such an extended window of time to carry out significant maintenance work – and implement changes that could boost budgets for years to come. So, when it comes to heating, where should smart specifiers be placing their budgets?

Beyond the boiler: a whole-system approach

Ancient, wasteful boilers are costing schools and universities across the country a fortune in running and maintenance costs (and doing nothing to help achieve carbon reduction targets). Replacing them with more efficient alternatives promises lower bills and better energy performance all round. However, when it comes to delivering true efficiency, the heat source is only one part of a much bigger picture. 

The fact is, without radiators that are efficient enough to complement a new heat source, education buyers simply won’t be able to harness the true potential of their costly investment – no matter how advanced it is. In practical terms, specifiers should be pairing new boilers – or even renewables – with radiators that boast a lower water content and a faster heat transfer rate. The less water there is to heat, and more dynamic the heating response, the more efficient the performance overall. This means buildings get warmer, faster, with reduced boiler run times (and lower bills). It’s for this reason that pairing an A-rated heat source with efficient emitters makes such commercial sense, as an outlay that’s more than justified as the terms roll on. 

Matching performance with safety

Whilst budget limitations are often the deciding factor, when it comes to choosing the right radiators for learning environments, the discussion shouldn’t stop at efficiency. With student welfare at stake, specifiers must also ensure their chosen heating system is set up to keep vulnerable people safe – which is why so many buildings opt for Low Surface Temperature (LST) radiators.

LSTs are specifically developed to keep surface temperatures of radiators within safe parameters. Using a purpose-built protective casing, LSTs greatly reduce the risk of contact burns – making them ideal for educational settings. Although they’re not a mandatory requirement in schools, NHS Safe Surface Temperature guidelines provide the ideal framework for LST operating temperatures in any buildings catering to children and other vulnerable people. They stipulate that no point of the surface temperature of radiators should exceed 43°C (for a maximum flow temperature of 80°C). 

Systems that are built to last

Safety aside, making budgets work harder as a buyer isn’t just about specifying for long-term energy savings. It’s also about avoiding unnecessary maintenance and replacement costs. For LST specifiers, this means choosing high-performance products that are engineered to last. For example, Merriott’s market-leading Ultima LST range uses 1.5mm flat-steel tubes to withstand the rigours of high-footfall areas like classrooms, hallways and corridors. It’s also finished using a scratch-resistant epoxy polyester powder coating. All of this helps guard against impact and other accidental or purposeful damage, for optimum longevity.

Striking the right balance

With budgets so stretched, education specifiers are under more pressure than ever to secure more bang for their buck. When it comes to heating, the key to long-term success is taking a holistic approach. This means looking beyond the heat source and making sure that the right radiators are in place to deliver long-term efficiency. As an energy-saving, hard-wearing and safe choice, LST radiators provide the ideal heating solution for all types of educational buildings – making specification budgets work harder, for longer.


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