Radiant heat installed in NextHome testing house

| by Monica Irgens
Radiant heat installed in NextHome testing house

NextHome is a functional demo house in Detroit, Michigan.  It is part smart home, part distributed generation and part direct current (DC) that operates as a “living lab” within NextEnergy’s testing and validation platforms.

STEP Warmfloor, based in the U.S.A., is an engineering company and leader in manufacturing self-regulating flat heating technology. NextHome uses STEP Warmfloor - Residential for its space heating needs.

NextHome’s living lab environment provides an opportunity for companies to develop and commercialize more efficient equipment by leveraging the DC distribution system. It provides an opportunity to test multiple solutions for ventilation (they do not have furnaces in the demo home), floor heating, and water heating. STEP Warmfloor’s radiant heating in the floor runs directly off DC power that can be supplied from the photovoltaic (PV) panels, battery storage, or the grid.

NextHouse’s DC Distribution System includes a 24v and 380v DC wiring system at the core of the house and eliminates conversion losses that typically occur when switching from AC to DC. The house features 110v and 240v AC, allowing for a true “living lab”.

The average home uses 73% of its total energy budget on heating and cooling. That’s about $4.5 Billion a year or $1,200 on for an average homeowner in Michigan.

Most houses have inefficient furnaces and water heaters that rely on alternating current (AC) fans and motors. This presents tremendous opportunity for technology developers to create more efficient solutions that will capture the savings and market potential.

The benefits of DC technology include efficiency gains.  HVAC equipment with DC fans and motors allow technology developers to commercialize products that eliminate AC to DC losses and also reduce unnecessary parts.  DC HVAC components also have the ability to tap directly into power provided by PV panels, energy storage, or the grid.

The radiant heating floor and tankless water heater are up to 60% more efficient than traditional applications. If NextHome shared the energy footprint of an average Michigan home, it could save up to 54 BTUs of energy, amounting to $700 annually.

Electro Plastics, Inc. dba STEP Warmfloor® is a US manufacturer of electric radiant underfloor heating, roof de-icing and snow melt systems. The company's headquarters is located in Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. This 35,000 square foot LEED registered building is a "living laboratory" as proof of the comfort properties and energy efficiency of STEP Warmfloor®.

For more information visit www.electroplastics.com.

Topics: GREAT GREEN HOMES, Heating & Cooling, Radiant Heat

Companies: STEP Warmfloor

Monica Irgens

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.

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