In our previous article on radiant ceilings, we covered the Warmboard radiant ceiling heating/cooling system systems. In this month’s column, we will continue looking at some good old American ingenuity and their applicability to these heating and cooling scenarios. One product which was developed by a member of our organization is a product known as XLATH. It is the brain child of Dean Newberry.
Dean’s hydronic and high efficiency building roots run clear back to 1975. Dean has also been doing solar thermal as well as solar electric since back during the first solar revolution that happened back in the mid 80s. He continues to perform solar installations as well as installing radiant floor and radiant ceiling heating systems.
He resides near Davis California, which is a hot bed of radiant ceiling research. In fact some of the research that has been done at a local college (UC Davis) has been done with Dean’s XLATH system. It provides radiant heating as well as radiant cooling of the sensible loads. His product has been successfully placed in around 24 buildings in its nine years of existence. His radiant emitter is made of the same material that standing seam metal roofing is made of. He has chosen a special color that enhances the products ability to generate high quantities of radiant energy.
The product can be installed at a right angle to the ceiling trusses. It has a self-furring capability, and it come with grooves rolled into the metal, which allows standard ½-in. I.D. (5/8-in. O.D.) SDR-9 tubing to be installed at 8-in. on center. It is available in lengths from two feet to 10 feet in one foot increments. In this configuration, it produces approximately 12 Btus per square foot per hour cooling capacity with an approach water temperature of around 55°F water.
If need be, these plates can be installed parallel to the ceiling joists (16-in. on center spacing for standoffs), but it was designed for being installed at a right angle, and that is how it was tested. It is intended to be covered with either ½-in. or 5/8-in. sheetrock for finish.
To address the latent loads, he incorporates a small fan coil unit piped in series, with a humidistat that controls a two stage chilled water system and the fan coil fan. If the humidistat senses relative humidity greater than 60%, it would decrease the water temperature, and run the water through the small fan coil which reduces the relative humidity. After the water leaves the fan coil unit, it then goes directly to the radiant ceiling system. Sweet and simple.
Fortunately, the latent loads in the Davis California area are generally quite low and not a serious consideration, but it still needs to be addressed nonetheless. He has performed installations with radiant walls, but prefers radiant ceilings better due to the ability to provide excellent radiant cooling, the dominant load in his locale.
He stated during my interview, “The biggest problem with radiant floors is overcoming the resistance of the finished floor goods. What was installed during construction will probably change over time, and if the floor tube density is not adequate, the next homeowner who adds thick pad and carpet may suffer some lack of heating or cooling due to this potential issue. With a radiant ceiling system, its ability to deliver excellent radiant comfort is not hindered by thick carpet and pads. Plus it can provide a significant portion of the cooling needs, 100% in cases of super insulated, low load buildings.”
I couldn’t agree more.
In his area, radiant ceilings have been installed in a major utility administration building (SMUD), and the new headquarters of Apple Computers.
“The installed cost of a good modular radiant ceiling heating system like XLATH can be done for half as much as a full blown radiant floor system, and that price comes in real close to the installed cost of a conventional forced air system,” said Dean.
His system can also be installed on a roof and act as a large unglazed solar collector, providing adequate hot water temperatures for heating swimming pools, hot tubs and preheating for DHW loads. At night, it can also serve as a night sky re-radiation cooling system, lowering the circulating water as much as 10° F below the lowest ambient air temperature of the night. It can also be used for providing snow melt functions in areas with high snow fall and eliminate the cost of electric resistance elements typically associated with this type of operation. If you’d like to get more information on this product, contact his company at 800/731-4541, or visit his website:www.xlath.com.
Tune in next month as we continue looking at alternative radiant heating surfaces in our efforts to “Grow Radiant.” If you have not yet become a member of the new RPA, by all means go to our website at www.radiantprofessionalsalliance.organd get signed up. It is an inexpensive way to support your industry, which is here to support you. Also, be sure and check out our “Open Invitation” on our “JOIN” page. We have an incentive program in place for a limited time, which will reward you for referring new members, and allow the new member to get 14 months for the price of 12. Refer six new members, and get your next year for FREE!
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