Summer’s nearly here – but now’s the time to talk heating
With the summer holidays fast approaching, school managers can be forgiven for thinking of sun, sand and sangria. But actually, the summer months are the best time of year to carry out upgrades to a school’s heating system. Now is the time to be running reports on the previous 12 months and to take steps to ensure that improvements in energy management can be made before winter.
With significant cuts to funding and increased pressure to reduce energy consumption, it’s more important than ever for schools to be proactive in tackling their heating and hot water challenges. This means that planning, preventative maintenance and investment are crucial at this time of year.
The reality is that many schools around the country are having to contend with inefficient and unreliable systems. However, the latest heating technology provides an opportunity for efficiency savings to be made quickly and effectively – and by doing so, schools can reduce their carbon emissions and achieve an optimum learning environment.
The end of the school year is the perfect time for school managers to carry out a detailed appraisal of its heating system because they should have all the information they need to make an informed decision on where improvements need to be made. For example, statistics on energy use and costs from over the winter period can be scrutinised, and measures can be put in place for the coming school year.
It is estimated that energy costs are often the second highest expenditure in schools and, on average, schools spend £6 on energy and water for each square metre of floor space. Efficiency is therefore really important and, fortunately, simple steps such as replacing radiators can make a big difference.
Low water content radiators contain a tenth of the water compared to a standard steel panel radiator, so they waste less heat and react at least three times faster to fluctuations in ambient temperature. This means that they heat up immediately if the temperature falls below the set level and stop emitting heat as soon as that same level is reached.
BRE tests show that a switch to low water content radiators can deliver energy savings of up to 15% compared tostandard steel-panel radiators.
What’s more, this technology is ideal for the school environment where the safety of kids is paramount. Products such as the new Maxi 2020, feature a casing that has a low surface temperature, eliminating the chance of burns. This casing also has rounded corners and edges to minimise the risk of injury if a child should fall on to the radiator.
Another innovative, yet easily deployed, radiator technology for managers to consider is fan assisted DBE (Dynamic Boost Effect), which improves airflow and boosts heat output by drawing air over the element – increasing the efficiency of the radiator and helping to quietly circulate air around the room.
Whilst the DBE unit maintains rapid, effective and accurate room comfort conditions, it can also supply a quick boost of heat if required.
Specifying school heating systems is no easy task when there are so many considerations to take into account – from running costs and energy efficiency to safety and reliability. Our advice to school facilities managers is that, before you dust off your flip-flops, now is the time to be focusing on heating system performance. Before you know it the countdown to Christmas will have begun!