Top 3 Most Effective Uses of Infrared Heat in Green Building

Top 3 Most Effective Uses of Infrared Heat in Green Building

Infrared radiant heat systems provide versatile warmth that is both cozy and efficient. Powered by electricity, radiant heaters directly warm humans and objects without noisy fans, bad smells, or dry air and dust blowing around your house. Imagine the immediate all-encompassing warmth that feels like stepping into the sun, when you walk into your bedroom. Radiant heating systems are flexible and can be customized for any room layout. They complement any décor by mounting on the ceiling or upper wall and become almost invisible. Below are the best solutions for heating our buildings and homes more sustainably with radiant heat:

1) Hybrid System with Ductless Heat Pump

ductless heat pump headinfrared radiant ceiling panel surface mounted in bedroom

A ductless mini-split heat pump (DHP) is a great energy-saving solution for heating larger open spaces like an open concept great room. A single unit installed high on the wall can output 12,000 BTUs and save you more than 50% on your energy bills. However, DHPs struggle to spread heat down hallways and around corners. Unless you leave the doors open all the time, DHP’s can’t effectively heat bedrooms or bathrooms. Installing a second or third DHP head means running extra piping which quickly becomes messy and costly. This is where infrared radiant heat comes to the rescue! Instead of additional DHP heads, electric radiant heaters can be installed in rooms that the DHP fails to reach. As a supplemental system, radiant heaters will provide enhanced comfort, and zone control, while complementing the unbeatable efficiency of a ductless heat pump. Radiant heat also offers much faster heating response times than a DHP (approximately 5-10 mins) because it is warming humans and objects directly.

2) Zone Control for the Whole House

Infrared radiant heat can effectively and efficiently heat your entire home, with 1-2 units per room. By placing a thermostat in each room, you can heat only the rooms you are using. With an average 30% energy savings over cadet or baseboard heaters1 , infrared radiant heat warms objects and surfaces in a room directly. This means everything in your space will be an even temperature and furniture will become part of the thermal mass that will continue to provide soft warmth. Thus, occupants feel warmer faster and stay warm longer, lower air temperatures, adding even more energy savings. Additionally, with no need to dry the air out to an uncomfortable heat with noisy fans, ductwork, or moving parts, radiant heaters provide superior indoor air quality for your family.

3) Avoid Extending the Furnace for an Addition

infrared radiant ceiling panel flush mountedWhen planning an addition to your home, the question often arises of whether to extend an existing furnace system. Adding ductwork can be quite costly, involve a complicated install, and may end up being less comfortable and efficient due to heat loss from the extra ductwork. Any time you want to heat any part of the system, the entire furnace has to fire up. You also run the risk of overworking your furnace or finding out that you need to install an entirely new one. Zoned infrared radiant heat is a great alternative to a furnace extension. There is no need to install more duct work and radiant heaters are as simple to install as a ceiling light. Affordable, comfortable and efficient heat makes radiant the ideal alternative to locations that an existing furnace can’t reach. Unlike vents and ductwork, radiant heaters are completely silent, require zero maintenance, and have the longest expected lifetime of any other products on the heating market. Talk about a great long-term investment! For more information, email info@mightyenergy.net

Radiant Ceiling Panels are a smart choice – wireless thermostats make them smarter!

Radiant Ceiling Panels are a smart choice – wireless thermostats make them smarter!

by Steve Abercrombie, Connected Buildings

Wireless thermostats are a perfect way to improve comfort, make your home smarter, and save money and energy. Radiant Ceiling Panels supplied by Mighty Energy Solutions are a perfect complement to wireless thermostats. Since they offer precise heat on a per-room basis, you can fine tune your comfort while keeping your energy bills low for the rooms that are not in use. Radiant heat makes you start feeling warm in seconds, so you don’t have to worry about a long lag between turning up the heat and feeling comfortable.

“Wireless” thermostats are a bit of a misnomer. While they can be controlled from anywhere you have an internet connection, they still need power to run, and need to be connected to your home heating system. In some projects, you don’t have to run wire to mount a controller on the wall, which saves a lot of hassle and allows for a cleaner look. However, code requirements vary so make sure you get approval from your local building department. Wireless thermostats often allow control of your heating system from not only the next room, but from across the globe.

 

Ideal Applications

Smart, wi-fi enabled thermostats and radiant ceiling panels are an intelligent home-heating solution. Have a heat-pump serving the main part of your house, except for that cold guest bedroom or basement? You need to consider supplemental radiant ceiling panels controlled by a smart thermostat. If you replace your heat pump thermostat and use a home automation system you will be the envy of all your neighbors while also saving money on your heating bills! The radiant panel / smart thermostat combo is also ideal for vacation homes or Airbnb rentals where you can warm things up for maximum comfort just prior to arrival.

Have you ever wanted to say “Alexa, turn on the heat in the bedroom” so that it is warm and toasty when it’s time to go to sleep? A wireless thermostat integrated with your home automation system or controlled by your smart phone is just the ticket. Including such other conveniences as: turning off your heat from the airport before you depart for vacation, automatically setting your house to a lower temperature whenever you leave home, or warming up the house when you leave the office.

 

Wireless Thermostat Basics

Wireless or “wi-fi enabled” thermostats connect to your wireless network to allow you to control them via the internet. This control then allows you to use Amazon Echo, Apple Home, Google Home, IFTTT, or a variety of other Internet of Things (IoT) services to automate your home.

There are too many wireless thermostats on the market to review them all, but below are a couple of the most popular ones. Almost any wi-fi enabled thermostat can be paired with radiant panels!

 

Nest Learning Thermostat

The original ‘smart’ thermostat, the Nest is a great choice if you are looking for style and simplicity that you can control with your smartphone. If you want a minimalist look to accompany the low-profile radiant ceiling panels, and just want to save energy, consider the Nest. It works best when you are controlling a large room, say a great room or integrated kitchen / living room. This is because its learning algorithm works best in places that get regular activity, as compared to a sparsely-used spare bedroom. The Nest costs about $250. It also has a built-in occupancy sensor to detect room usage without other home automation components.

 

Ecobee 3 Lite thermostat

Ecobee produces a popular wi-fi enabled thermostat that can be controlled via a tablet, smart phone, or home automation system. The “lite” version of this thermostat is about $150. It is a good choice for folks looking for multiple room thermostats, while still getting a modern look, or for people with an established home automation system. To get a built-in occupancy sensor function or to be able to add native room temperature sensors, you have to upgrade to the non-lite version, the Ecobee 3.

 

Honeywell RTH6580WF

Although they don’t have the sleek design of the Nest or the Ecobee, Honeywell is a trusted name in thermostats. They have a line of wi-fi enabled and smart thermostats, with features rivaling their upstart competitors. After some evaluation, I chose the Honeywell RTH6580WF for my home. At less than $100 apiece, installing two of these was a snap to heat my office and guest bedroom!

 By reading online reviews and doing a little shopping it isn’t hard to find the thermostat that is right for you. Don’t forget, security is always important with any internet-connected device you get. Make sure to buy from a reliable manufacturer and change the default password immediately upon installation.

Bring it all Together with Relays

The key to making a smart thermostat work with radiant ceiling panels is a relay with a built-in transformer. The relay acts a switch that turns the heating panel on and off when commanded by the thermostat.

The Aube 840T is the relay that I used to connect my Honeywell wi-fi thermostats to the radiant ceiling panels in my office and guest bedroom. Besides allowing the thermostat to cycle the power on the radiant panels, it also provides power for the thermostats via 3 small wires that are run from the ceiling to the wall-mounted thermostats. The Aube relays cost about $40.

I almost never use the thermostat controls on the walls, although I notice when guests stay over on cold nights, they love bumping up the temperature a few degrees to bask in the heat from the panels. Of course, I can check the temperature on my cell phone after they depart to set things back to normal.

You’ll want to consult with an expert to help you with the design of your control system and make sure everything meets code – Mighty Energy Solutions can help direct you. There are a lot of possibilities depending on the number of zones that you set up and how many thermostats and panels you want to install. They will also make sure that the relay you select matches the voltage of your heating panels.

Here is a diagram that I used to work with my electricians on the installation in my house. They took it from there and made everything look easy!

 

I found setting up an efficient, comfortable, and smart home with a couple of wireless thermostats and Radiant Ceiling Panels from Mighty Energy Solutions wasn’t nearly as daunting as it sounds and was made even more simple with assistance from Mighty Energy.

Spring Radiant Heat Open Houses

Spring Radiant Heat Open Houses

Mighty Energy Solutions will be opening our home showroom to building professionals and homeowners on Wednesday, March 21, April 18, and May 16. This is an opportunity to see Infrared Radiant Ceiling Panels, Radiant Cove Heaters and our BioSmart Wall Heaters in action. Spring is a great time to think about how to efficiently heat your home. Pacific Northwest rainy seasons can be tough, but not with Infrared Radiant Heat! These products provide a warm, cozy, and healthy heat all year long. Come experience this comforting heat for yourself at our open house.

March 21 | April 18 | May 16

8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

3108 SW Webster St

RSVP’s welcomed but not necessary. Drop in anytime, no formal presentation.

Reducing the Cost of Ductless Heat Pumps

Reducing the Cost of Ductless Heat Pumps

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance recently published new research on the market saturation of ductless heat pumps (DHPs). They found that consumers are mostly motivated by the significant energy savings (up to 50%) that heat pumps offer. However, the study findings also show that one of the most prohibitive factors to installing this energy-saving technology is the high cost of installation. You can read the full study here.

Lowering the cost of a DHP install can be as simple as reducing the number of heads needed in a home. This can be done by adding supplemental heat source that is distinct from the DHP system. Often, the lowest cost, most efficient way to do this is with infrared radiant heat. Contact us for more information on how radiant heat can complement your ductless system!

Winter Radiant Heat Open Houses

Winter Radiant Heat Open Houses

Join us for one of our radiant heating open houses! Mighty Energy Solutions opens our home showroom to building professionals and homeowners regularly on Wednesdays. Our open house sessions this winter are: December 13, January 24, and February 21. 

Attending an open house is an opportunity to see our Ducoterra SolaRay Radiant Ceiling Panels in action. Winter in the Pacific Northwest can be tough, but not with Infrared Radiant Heat Panels! These panels provide cozy, healthy, and efficient heat all year long. You’ve got to see it to believe it! Come experience this comforting heat yourself at our open house.

December 13 | January 24 | February 21

3108 SW Webster St, Seattle, WA 98126

Morning Session 8:00-10:30 AM
Afternoon Session 3:00-6:00PM
[or mid day by appointment]

RSVP‘s appreciated, but not required.

Free Expo Passes to JLC Live

Free Expo Passes to JLC Live

The JLC Live Residential Construction Show is this week in Portland, Oregon and we’re excited to be exhibiting again!

From Thursday November 30 – Friday December 1st we will be showcasing all three of our products at the Oregon Convention Center. Stop by booth #419 to feel radiant heat in action and check out radiant ceiling panels and radiant cove heaters in person!

Attend the show as a guest of Mighty Energy, and receive FREE access to the exhibit hall! Just use the promo code XB44 when you register online, and you’ll also get a discount on attending the conference.

JLC is the only northwest regional event catering specifically to contractors, remodelers, and their crews. Both the exhibit hall demonstrations and conference courses offer plentiful opportunities to learn new business management and job-site skills. Not to mention learning about innovative products like radiant heat! We’re also ecstatic to see more exhibits and courses focused on sustainable building this year. Check out the full list of conference sessions and register here.