You can go anywhere in Holland, and never be far from a canal. These waterways are as beautiful as they are practical. Holland canals serve a number of very important purposes. They were used to drain the land so homes and farms could be established where once there was water. They provide a means of transport for goods from inland regions to the sea. They are homesteads for thousands who live on houseboats and they act as sewers. They are part of the Dutch landscape and a beautiful example of human ingenuity.
Houseboats are very popular and can be seen on most canals in Amsterdam. Electro Plastics was asked to offer a heating system for one of these houseboats. Drawings and specifications of the houseboat were given to Electro Plastics and, as total heating was requested, a heat loss calculation and layout were made.
Holland has a temperate climate, but winter can be quite cold. The land is surrounded by much water and rainfall averages 3 to 4 inches all year round, bringing in a lot of humidity.
The boat’s hull is made of concrete and the living quarters include wood and glass. The ground floor consists of the entry, a hobby room, a bathroom and a bedroom. On the second floor you have an open stairway to the entry and the living room with an open kitchen. The third floor has a loft used as a computer area open to the second floor and an outside terrace. The total heated floor space is 1,642 square feet.
The structure from the ground floor to the top ceiling is 14.75 feet high and the glass windows total 290 square feet. With so many windows and open spaces, it was important to choose a heating system that could satisfy this particular structural design and humid environment.
The heating system installed is STEP Warmfloor®, a thin, flexible, low-voltage (24V) electroplastic element. The heating elements are self-regulating and cannot overheat. As the material gets warmer, less electricity passes through the plastic and so less heat is generated, it is therefore extremely energy efficient and can be used under almost any flooring – even under wood. Also the elements are light weight and can be cut to size on the jobsite, making it easy to install, especially for a retrofit application.
With STEP Warmfloor® the owners are able to enjoy comfortable, healthy and even warmth in this creative houseboat.
/ Monica is President of Electro Plastics, Inc., manufacturer of STEP Warmfloor® heating systems: a patented, low-voltage, self-regulating flat and thin heater. Monica has been in the radiant heating industry for over 20 years. She was member of the Radiant Panel Association for 15 years, served on the RPA Board of Directors as chairperson of the Electric Committee and the Green Committee. Monica is also a member of the USGBC and has been involved in the design of LEED registered buildings.