Energy efficiency and simple installation make OSMA underfloor heating top choice for zero carbon home project

Wavin Plastics’ OSMA Underfloor Heating has been chosen for a ground-breaking low energy Zero Carbon House project in the remote Shetland Islands.

The project aims to show how a holistic approach to renewable energy can eliminate household carbon emissions that would normally result from running a family home.

The OSMA Underfloor Heating system is powered from an air-to-water heat pump, which also provides domestic hot water via a heat store. The heat storage developed for the Zero Carbon House is a fully insulated 3,200 litre ‘water battery’ with an integrated titanium coil that picks up thermal gain and transfers the pre-heated water to the domestic water tank under gravity. Titanium pipe has a very thin wall thickness so it can transfer the heat in the tank more efficiently, and the water battery only loses 2°c if left unused for over 100 hours.

The larger the water store, the more efficient the underfloor heating system becomes. OSMA Underfloor Heating requires 40-60˚c heated water, which can easily be generated by the pump, and is much cooler than radiators would need. The system works by means of radiant heating, distributing it evenly through the house with no floor draughts, and little or no heat is lost from pipes distributing heat around the building.

Aside from heating the house itself, zero carbon heat from the heat pump will augment passive solar collection in a doubly-insulated 48m² high-tech greenhouse. The greenhouse is also being fitted with OSMA Underfloor Heating, and will provide suitable growing conditions for a range of fruit and vegetables. This will reduce food miles by providing the island community with fresh, affordable, locally grown produce.

One of the main reasons OSMA Underfloor Heating was chosen for the Zero Carbon House is because it is simple to install and does not require specialist tools. Wavin products are designed for installers who have little or no previous underfloor heating experience.

The man behind the project, Michael Rea, who will live in the Zero Carbon House, says: “The OSMA UFH system we are installing is a product where the craft work has been taken out of the installation process.”

Independent research has shown that underfloor heating is less expensive and quicker to install than radiators, with the overall time on site reduced by a week or more. OSMA Underfloor Heating keeps running and maintenance costs to a minimum, and it has the additional advantage of unhindered room layout – ideal for the open plan Zero Carbon House.

Rex Ingram, managing director, OSMA Underfloor Heating, says: “We are very proud to be associated with this amazing project, which is paving the way for a new generation of truly energy efficient housing. It recognises the unique qualities of underfloor heating systems that make our products remarkably energy and cost efficient while providing the level of comfort and reliability required for effective home heating in this remote location.

“The Zero Carbon House shows that by taking an off-the-shelf property and installing some energy saving technologies you can make a real contribution to saving our planet. There is already talk of the model, including OSMA Underfloor Heating systems, being replicated in property development elsewhere in Scotland.”

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