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Underfloor Heating

THE outlook for the UK underfloor heating (UFH) market in 2014 is analysed in a new market trends survey just released.
Growing importance of energy efficiency and carbon footprints in the construction industry will benefit the contract (non-domestic) UFH sector, estimated to be worth £48m in 2013, says AMA Research. Its new report forecasts that the total UFH market value in 2018 will be £122m at MSP (manufacturers selling prices), a rise of 26% compared to 2013.
The domestic UFH sector thought to be worth £49m in 2013 includes self-build installations, new build activity and RMI / DIY retrofit projects in residential homes.
The UK underfloor heating market (water-based and electric systems) accounted for 6% of the total UK heating market, worth around £97m at MSP in 2013. All market estimates relate to materials only and exclude installation work.
The relatively small UFH share of the market is attributed to the high prevalence of carpet in UK homes and a lack of insulation in buildings, which both affect the performance of UFH systems.
However, the increasing number initiatives to improve insulation and government grants to install renewables should support a move to alternative heating solutions such as UFH, particularly water-based UFH, which industry sources claim can be up to 30% cheaper to run than conventional radiators.
AMA notes also that UFH systems have become easier to install, and the benefits of UFH more widely known. Higher levels of insulation, driven by regulatory requirements, are contributing to a reduction in the overall heating load, making UFH a more practical and efficient heating solution, says AMA.
Industry sources indicate that the retrofit UFH sector grew in 2013, partly due to the increasing number of heat pump installations. AMA also notes that the wider use of hard flooring allows higher energy savings with UFH. However, modern UFH systems are suitable for use under most floor types with lower screed levels to minimise impact on floor height.
Tightening legislation is likely to encourage housebuilders to use UFH to meet the more stringent energy efficiency targets.
Factors affecting the level of future performance of the UK UFH market include:
Growing interest in energy efficiency and high fuel prices will help to highlight energy efficient systems such as UFH.
Future UFH designs will offer greater energy efficiency, such as more ‘intelligent’ UFH controls to closely monitor energy consumption to lower running costs.
Relaxed planning restrictions on converting commercial property into residential will give more opportunities for UFH, especially projects requiring compliance with building regulation Part E, which covers acoustic transmission.
The private commercial market remains largely untouched by UFH, and offers good potential especially in the office and leisure sectors.
Further revisions to Part L coming into force require new build homes to be 6% more energy efficient and commercial properties 9% more energy efficient.
The trend towards off-site construction will also increase the attractiveness of UFH systems which can be installed in precast flooring and in bathroom/kitchen PODS. New developments such as modular heating panels will also promote quick and easy single person installation.
The report (underfloor heating market report UK 2014 – 2018 analysis) is currently available from AMA Research priced £715.
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This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at