Open plan design is a lifestyle choice for many Australian homeowners with the trend often seen as epitomising the idea of the perfect home. Many modern homes in Australia have adopted open plan design concepts with the living, kitchen and dining areas combining to create a seamless, free-flowing, open and light-filled living environment without the barriers of interior walls.

However, beyond the many charms of open plan design, there are concerns about the energy efficiency of such homes, especially when it comes to heating or cooling the spacious area. Factors such as the thermal mass of high density materials used in the construction of these homes, the inclusion of large windows that can leak up to 40 per cent of the home’s heat, and the spacious, open areas that will need more energy to heat or cool in the absence of walls and doors, can substantially increase energy consumption and create discomfort for occupants.

Architects, therefore, need to design homes that not only meet their clients’ aesthetic and functional objectives but also guarantee comfort in all seasons without compromising on the quality of materials or installed systems. Well-designed comfortable homes can be achieved by combining year-round temperature control systems with Passive Design principles that will take advantage of the climate and utilise natural sources of heating and cooling to maintain a pleasant temperature range in the home throughout the year.

Floor heating systems

There’s another proven method to heat up an open plan home efficiently and cost-effectively – underfloor heating. A floor heating system is installed underneath the flooring to provide even heating throughout the property without dust, noise, air movement, dehydration or overheating. Suitable for open plan areas of all sizes in both residential and commercial properties, floor heating systems don’t waste energy heating up non-usable spaces such as ceilings or by producing excess heat. Underfloor heating can be electric or hydronic in design with the latter option using various heat sources such as gas, heat pump, solar heater or wood stove.

Electric floor heating

Recommended for small as well as large areas, electric floor heating is one of very few safe heating options for bathrooms. When installed in a bathroom, the electric floor heating system will ensure warm floors throughout winter with the desired temperature programmed on the digital thermostat. Electric heating is also ideal for carpet and floating timber floors with the heating mats easily installed to create warm radiant floors for absolute comfort during the colder months.

Hydronic floor heating

A highly energy-efficient solution for underfloor heating, hydronic floor heating involves installing pipes in the concrete slab or screed to carry hot water, which is heated using various energy sources including natural gas boilers, electric heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, wood fired stoves and even solar water heaters. The hot water in the underfloor pipes keeps the floor warm and comfortable cost-efficiently.

Comfort Heat Australia specialises in electric as well as hydronic floor heating systems for residential, commercial and public spaces.

Comfort Heat Australia

Comfort Heat Australia stocks and supplies the full range of world-leading electric and hydronic floor heating systems to suit diverse requirements and for all floor coverings. Comfort Heat’s expertise ensures the most effective and efficient floor heating solution for installations ranging from small bathroom renovations to large industrial projects.

Find out how to integrate an underfloor heating system into your building design for assured year-round comfort.

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