In 1993, the NAHB Research Center under the auspices of the Advanced Housing Technology Program (AHTP) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), selected the infrared heater products of the US-based company SSHC INC. as a promising and innovative emerging technology.
Those infrared heaters are surface- mounted, ceiling infrared heat panels. The system represents an innovative approach to space heating because of the panel’s low power density and focus on the principles of radiant heat transfer. The infrared heating system was identified as having potential for contribution to greater energy efficiency and productivity in housing projects.
The overall objective of this case study was to determine the technical and energy performance of the surface-mounted electric infrared heating system in providing thermal comfort in residential structures, in this way addressing the following two concerns:
All-electric heat is always expensive.
Heat rises, so the ceiling is no place for a heating system.
This case study was comprised of two tasks.
The purpose of Task 1 was to review the literature to determine the basis for energy and thermal comfort performance claims with infrared heating systems and to use the results of this review in the design of a field test in which the infrared system and a conventional heating system would be compared.
In Task 2, evaluation of the heating panels’ performance was based on energy consumption and thermal comfort data obtained and analyzed from an occupied research home. In this home, the heat panels were compared to a forced-air, air-to-air heat pump system. The field test was designed to seek answers to questions generated by the literature review.
The overall objective of the second phase of the AHTP was to perform both technical and commercialization assistance of selected innovative technologies. The resources required to perform a technical assessment of a little-studied innovation such as fast-acting, surface-mounted infrared ceiling panels precluded any study of commercialization. The implications that the results of the technical assessment have for the diffusion of this technology are discussed in the conclusions and recommendations of the case study.
To download the case study #3, please click here.
Oswald Oberladstatter, ME