Radiant heating is so great that it seems that it’s too great for us to have in every home. Essentially, it’s a system to heat your house using heating tubes under the floor. Here’s a blog post on the coolness of a hot floor.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the radiant floor heating is that it creates not just a warm room, but an entire warm floor. The heat still rises, but it’s rising uniformly from ground zero instead of from a single fixture or a couple of vents. The result is often that rare anomaly, barefoot comfort in the dead of winter. Such systems are particularly good for homes with high ceilings, where forced-air heat often ends up where it is least needed unless the homeowner is endowed with the agility of a bat.
Not only are radiant-heat floors warm, but the system does without unsightly and space-hogging ductwork in the home. Lacking vents to keep uncovered, you can place your furniture and doodads wherever. There’s no blasting faux-desert wind wreaking havoc on the hairdo. The system is silent, and in this noise-prone day and age, that is golden. It also works well with tile and wood floors, in addition to concrete.
Not only does the home look nicer, but so do the energy bills. Because of the even heating generated by a radiant floor heating system, its thermostat may be set 2-4 degrees lower than that of a forced-air heating system. This in turn can reduce energy costs by 10-40%. (Check with your local utility company to get an estimate of how much a 2-4 degree decrease would save you).
Redmond’s unique floor tiles generate electricity using a phenomenon known as piezoelectricity – electricity generated by applying mechanical stress to certain materials like the lead zirconate plates in the POWERleap. When these 2-inch by 1-inch piezoceramic plates are bent, a charge is produced that can be harnessed. Multiply one tile by the surface area of a subway station or even your standard grocery store floor, and you can imagine the amount of energy these tiles have the potential to generate.
In a few years Elizabeth hopes people will be able to pull the POWERleap off the shelves of Home Depot and install it to power their homes. More importantly if we generate our own electricity it should change the way we consume, appreciate and utilize electric power. During our cell phone conversation, Elizabeth pointed out another beneficial feature of the technology. “Imagine a business powered by the people who move around inside it. When the people leave for the day the lights and power would automatically shut down.”
There are a few options on how to make that thing you walk on everyday a little more environmentally friendly. Bamboo flooring is my personal favourite. Some enterprising people have taken left over flooring from other projects and put them together in a neat way.
In keeping with our eco design model, and just for the sheer fun of it, we’ve decided that the kitchen floor will be made up from all the leftover pieces of Marmoleum we’ve saved so far.
The first part was the installation of a high quality sub-floor (similar to the bathrooms), consisting of maple plywood and a lot of staples.