“Sun Smart” Radiant Heating

"Sun Smart" Radiant and passive solar heating

“Sun Smart” Radiant Heating: What is it? We typically design homes that combine hydronic radiant heating with passive solar design for maximum efficiency. With this approach, the sun’s heat is passively collected, but is actively distributed throughout the home. So in a sense, Greenovision mostly utilizes a hybrid method. We have coined this method, “Sun Smart” Radiant Heating.  SSRH sensibly captures the sun’s energy on sunny days and has two added benefits. The radiant system distributes the sun’s heat uniformly throughout the home and also produces heat during long stretches of cloudy days or extreme cold. This dual heating method is not only incredibly energy efficient, it relieves any worries homeowners may have about living in a home that is heated with passive solar alone.

radiant heating boiler, pumps and manifolds

How does this work?  As you can see in the top picture above, the tubing on the right, which will be embedded in either a concrete or gypcrete slab, will start to derive a gain in heat as the sun strikes the slab in front of the south facing windows. There is a system of sensors in the slab that pick up temperature differences throughout the home (usually north and south sensors).  During typical sun capturing hours, the north end of the slab is colder than the south. The sensors send signals to start the pump system to begin circulating the fluid in the Pex tubing.  This essentially begins to drive the warmed southern-captured heat to parts of the slab that are not as warm.

radiant floor heating pumps and relays

This system can be set so up so that the ‘on demand boiler’ is not even running. In essence, SSRH is the modern way of utilizing the sun’s energy and moving its captured heat around the home to promote uniform heating. This has been the missing link in “old school” passive solar homes.  This type of combined system needs to be designed by someone skilled in passive solar design then installed by radiant heating professionals that are familiar with the passive solar heat contribution to the total heating needs of the home.