heating controls

Micro-zoning your building to save energy and money

With gas and electricity bills reaching an all-time high, the idea of implementing energy saving measures must become more than just “wishful thinking” for everyone, whether we’re talking about home owners or business managers.

While most non-domestic buildings are centrally managed with the help of a complex Building Energy Management System, that’s rarely the case with domestic users, who typically require a more affordable system that’s also easier to use.

Micro-zoning

Thermostatic radiator valves are the simplest micro-zoning solutions out there (and also, the easiest to install), since they’re used for setting the amount of heat users get from each single radiator. While not being extremely accurate, the difference between two consecutive values is quite easily noticeable.

Naturally, by lowering the amount of heat generated by each radiator or switching them off altogether, the boiler powering the central heating system will reduce its output, which will immediately translate into less fuel being used and lower energy bills.

However, basic TRVs offer limited functionality an no scheduling options, which is the reason why programmable TRVs were developed.

Programmable TRVs (wired or wireless) represent the next logical step in the evolution of TRVs, since they grant users extensive micro-zoning options. In fact, one can turn every single room in their house into a heating zone, with its own heating pattern.

Basically, depending on the planned use for the room (or area) where the radiator is placed, home owners can easily set the functioning times and temperatures for the respective unit, using the programmable TRV.

The functioning intervals and associated temperatures create the heating pattern, which is saved within the valves’ memory. Depending on the type of valve, the heating pattern can be set to be repeated over a period or time, or several different heating patterns can be implemented.

By using specific heating patterns that match their daily schedules, users will be able to optimize the radiator’s functionality, reduce the amount of required heating and, as a direct effect, reduce their overall energy bills.

Wireless programmable TRVs are more convenient than their standard counterparts since they enable users to control each valve from a single location (their PC), and implement changes in a much simpler and more straightforward manner.

Regardless of the specific type of radiator control you’ll ultimately decide to go for, it’s very important to remember that even lowering the temperature by a few degrees in a room you’re not frequently using could save you at least a few pounds on your heating bills, and that’s just the start.

 

About the author: Alex is a Web Content Editor for Tensor / HeatingSave, a leading UK-based developer and supplier of off-the-shelf integrated web and mobile based BEMS’ that allow users to save on their energy bills and manage their buildings’ infrastructure and security from one system.

What’s the difference between an intelligent room thermostat and a programmable one please?

There are so many different room thermostats out there that it is only natural that the exact functionality may be a bit confusing. If you are looking around you may come across heating controls that state that they are “intelligent”.

We have a lot of people ask us “What exactly is an intelligent room thermostat?”. Hopefully this will go some way to answering this question!

An intelligent room thermostat, also known as a  “learning thermostat”, is one that can adjust to your properties requirements and optimise to work in a manner that best suits the way in which you use your heating.

For example, you may want to set your central heating up so your property is 22°C when you get home from work at 6pm. With a standard programmable room thermostat your central heating will only start to operate from 6pm, meaning the temperature is below the desired temperature while it works towards the 22°C mark.

 An intelligent room thermostat contains the functionality to look at the way you have used your heating previously and work closely with your boiler to maintain the best hot water temperature. This gives you a more personalised and intuitive performance.

This means that if your boiler does not need to be working at its optimum level, it does not have to. An intelligent room thermostat will be able to work with your boiler to reduce the temperature of water coming from your system, helping to make your heating system more efficient in the process.

So in the above example, an intelligent thermostat could use the history of how your heating has been operated previously to provide a more comprehensive performance, ensuring that your home is already achieving a room temperature of 22°C at 6pm when you get home.

Intelligent room thermostats certainly offer added functionality and allow you to optimise your central heating system further, something that can benefit you financially in the form of cheaper heating costs.

There is such a broad range of room controls out there that you are almost certain to find one that will suit the particular needs of your property, with both mechanical and digital thermostats available that can either be used wired or wirelessly, depending on the model you buy.

Our top tip….always discuss your exact requirements with a heating engineer before purchasing anything, just to make sure it is the right product for your central heating system.