Changing the Focus to Radiant Comfort
Radiant Professionals Alliance
You may have noticed recently that I am trying to make changes within our industry in our efforts to “Grow Radiant” and “Grow Hydronics.” This is but one action in our industry-wide effort to bring more public awareness to our world of radiant comfort. And this is not to say that radiant floors aren’t the most comfortable system in the world, but if we as an industry are going to “move the needle” as it pertains to the percentage of construction that adopts our method of heating and cooling, then we are going to have to do something different.
As a part of our effort to gain additional market share in the comfort industry, we are going to have to make some drastic changes in not only our way of addressing this comfort issue, but it will also require us to train and retrain everyone in the supply chain including, but not limited to, system installers, system designers, architects, engineers, building owners and consumers. The crux of our message is that we have the proven ability to deliver true radiant comfort without having to cover a given building’s footprint with a minimum of one linear foot of piping per square foot of conditioned space. And we have proven that we can do this from the heating side, as well as the cooling side, of the comfort equation.
In many cases, technically speaking, it is probably not necessary to install one foot of pipe per square foot of building floor plan in order to carry the heating load, but we’ve gotten so used to selling the concept of “warm floors” that we’ve lost focus of “radiant comfort,” which can come from a surface other than a floor. And just so I am not misunderstood, I think that radiant floors in and of themselves do have their own appropriate applications in delivering good radiant comfort, but it is not an inexpensive fit-all, do-all solution. None of the methods that we have in our bag of radiant tricks are inexpensive compared to the forced air systems being sold on the market today, but combined we can deliver excellent full spectrum radiant comfort, lower the installed cost, remain compatible with all of the “green” alternative energy applications and deliver a significantly higher degree of comfort to the end user.
As a part and parcel of this huge sea change effort, we have solicited the input of our members, and their suggestions include the possibility of opening up our annual Systems Design Showcase Awards to alternative radiant heating/cooling systems. We are interested in finding out what your idea of a good radiant comfort system looks like, and we look forward to your participation as a member in helping us to move the needle.
Having personally deployed just about every type of radiant heating system known to mankind, and a few that aren’t so well known, I can tell you that I know and experience excellent radiant comfort with all of my heat emitting surfaces, including walls, floors and ceilings, and I strongly recommend that you too gain the edge of having personal experience in this realm. When a customer hears “I live with a radiant — enter radiant methodology here — system, and I can tell you that without a doubt it is the most comfortable system in the world!” it carries a lot more weight than “I’ve heard that radiant comfort is the most comfortable system in the world.”
Early in my career, when I established an agreement with a well-known wholesaler who specialized in hydronic and radiant systems, he sold me the materials necessary to introduce myself to the world of radiant comfort at his cost. In exchange for his graciousness, I gave him all of my hydronic business. It was a win-win proposition that I would suggest every radiant system designer/installer become involved with.
Watch us as we continue to grow radiant and hydronics, and please consider becoming a member and help us to help you in your efforts to grow radiant. Join today at www.radiantprofessionalsalliance.org.