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The garden building business is blooming booming!

Thanks to technological advances aiding mobile communications and the ever-increasing costs of commuting, many of us are opting to work from home. A self-contained office in the garden provides the perfect environment to do just that.

The downturn in the economy has also played its part in the garden building boom. Financial uncertainty has resulted in a reluctance to move house, with homeowners choosing to stay put and improve and/or extend properties. In some cases this has led to the introduction of a garden building, whether used as a garden room, summerhouse or kids’ den.Heating a garden building, outdoor office, summerhouse or posh shed

To get the maximum use from a garden building, heating (along with light and power) is a must. If the building isn’t warm and cosy, then it won’t be used, particularly in the colder winter months. This article looks at factors to consider when it comes to heating your garden building.

Insulation is key

Is there adequate insulation? Some, but not all purpose-built garden rooms, are adequately insulated. If you have converted a shed or outbuilding, or opted for a lower cost garden building, then you will probably need to add insulation. Without this, the cost of heating could be prohibitively expensive.

Add Heating

In order for any garden building to be comfortable and useable (for more than just storage), all year round, it will need to be heated.

So what factors should you consider when choosing heating for a garden building?

  • Heat output – when choosing any form of heating it is critical that the option you select has the capacity to adequately heat the space. If in doubt, oversize the heater, as you can always turn it down.
  • Thermostatic control – choosing a heating option with a thermostat will ensure that your garden building is heated optimally at a constant and comfortable temperature. Thermostatic controls provide efficient and cost-effective use of power; for instance, they can turn off a heater when the room has reached its optimum temperature; perfect on a sunny day for taking advantage of any “free heat” from the sun. By maintaining the temperature above a certain minimum level, you protect the contents of the building, including computers and soft furnishings, from cold or damp related damage.
  • Timer – by opting for a product with a timer, you can ensure that the heating is on when it needs to be. A timer allows you to set the heating to come on just before you start your day, ensuring a toasty office in time for when you arrive.
  • Space – by their very nature, many outbuildings are small in size. Therefore space is often a critical factor in choosing your heating option. These days, radiators are available in unusually narrow or low sizes, so there is likely to be something to accommodate even the most awkward of wall spaces. There are also floor-standing heaters, which are portable and take up no wall space.
  • Budget – it may seem obvious, but costs vary immensely on heating options for garden buildings. For instance, the price of an electric heater can range from £20 for a basic fan heater to £2000 for the ultimate designer model. Take account of installation costs as well, for example if you opt for electric underfloor heating, bear in mind that installation costs may be considerable, especially if the floor needs to be taken up to allow the electric foil mat to be fitted underneath.
  • Aesthetics – Whether your new space is for living or working, as well as being a comfortable and functional environment, you may also want to add style with an attractive looking heater; the many designs now available mean you can choose minimalism to aid focus, bright colours for inspiration or soft curves to give a relaxed feel.

So what are the different heating options available for garden buildings?

ELECTRIC RADIATORS

Water and oil filled electric radiators

The water inside a water-filled electric radiator is heated by an electric element and is used as a heat reservoir. Oil-filled electric radiators are heated electrically; the oil is not burnt but again is used as a heat reservoir. Both types of electric radiators work on the same principle and have similar running costs.

Pros

  • Wall mounted and floor standing models available;
  • Many floor mounted versions can be plugged into a socket, so there are no installation costs and the radiators are often portable;
  • Wide range of contemporary and traditional styles available. From minimalist sleek designs like the Electric Royce (which is made of lightweight aluminium), to classic column style cast iron radiators like the Electric Etonian;
  • Many are available with timers and thermostats; and
  • Some styles heat up quickly (particularly those made of lightweight aluminium); others cool down slowly (such as those made of cast iron).

Cons

  • The wall-mounted versions don’t sit as close to the wall as some of the electric radiant panel radiators currently on the market.

Electric radiant panel radiators 

Electric panel radiators radiate heat (rather than convecting it) and don’t contain any liquid. These radiators have become extremely popular in recent times, due to their efficient, environmental and practical qualities. One of the best electric panel radiators around is the iRad from Feature Radiators, which is beautifully designed, slim, flat and sits close to the wall.

Pros

  • Lightweight;
  • Sits close to the wall;
  • Many sizes, finishes and colours available;
  • Heats up quickly;
  • Radiates warmth without “blowing”;
  • Warms both objects and the surrounding air;
  • Available with thermostats and timers; and
  • Precise, focused, highly efficient heating.

Cons

  • Almost always wall-mounted, so there will need to be at least some wall space available.

Wood burners

A wood-burning stove burns wood fuel and wood-derived biomass fuel whilst creating heat.

Pros

  • Lovely cosy feel with attractive real fire flame;
  • · Carbon neutral, if fuel comes from sustainable sources;
  • · Warms both objects and the surrounding air; and
  • · Relatively low running costs.

Cons

  • Lack of controllability, which can lead to high temperatures;
  • Sourcing and moving around fuel can be difficult and messy;
  • Demands time and effort on a daily basis to keep it running;
  • Ash created needs to be cleaned up;
  • Requires reasonable amount of space, taking up both wall and floor space; and
  • Significant installation costs.

Fan Heaters

A fan heater works by passing air over a heating element, this heats up the air, which then leaves the heater, warming up the surrounding room.

Pros

  • Heats up a room quickly;
  • · Warms both objects and the surrounding air;
  • · Relatively small so doesn’t take up much floor space; and
  • No installation costs.

Cons

  • As soon as its switched off, the room will cool down quickly;
  • Fan creates noise;
  • Often unattractive;
  • Uses a lot of energy resulting in high running costs; and
  • Heat is blown out rather than convected or radiated, which can create a stuffy and snoozy environment.

Infrared heating panels

Infrared heating panels are a relatively new idea in the UK but have been widely available in Europe for more than ten years. Infrared heaters heat through the use of infrared waves.

Pros

  • Focused heating, infrared waves only heat what they hit;
  • Provide heat rapidly;
  • Reasonably efficient to run;
  • Can be fitted onto the ceiling to keep them out of the way; and
  • Thermostats and timers available.

Cons

  • Only heat the objects that the infrared waves hit. If you sit facing an infrared heater, then the back of your body and head and any part below the heater will remain cold.
  • The surrounding air is not heated at all.
  • · Potential fire hazard – As heating is focused and direct, there may be a risk of fire if the heater is placed too close to an object. For example, if an infrared heater fell onto a wood floor.

Electric underfloor heating

Electric underfloor heating consists of a foil heat mat containing heating wires, which warm the floor surface which in turn heats the air above it. The foil mat must be laid under the laminate or wooden flooring intended for the garden building.

Pros

  • No wall space required;
  • Nice feeling under foot;
  • When working to an optimum, whole room is evenly heated with an ambient background temperature;
  • Many are available with thermostats and timers; and
  • Relatively low running costs.

Cons

  • May not have sufficient capacity to provide adequate heat for building – depending on level of insulation, ceiling height, and amount of glass;
  • Relatively high installation costs;
  • Insulated floor required;
  • Must be installed under the floor, so may not be a desirable option where the flooring is already down;
  • Slow to respond, can take up to 3 hours to get up to temperature, so forward planning needed and can take a long time to cool down;
  • Limits choice of floor-coverings; and
  • If it fails, the cost and inconvenience of repair will be significant, as flooring may need to be removed or replaced.

Portable gas heaters

Historically, a popular option for heating rooms or outbuildings particularly where there was no power source. Power is provided to these heaters via gas bottles that sit at the bottom of the heater.

Pros

  • High heat output;
  • Self contained heaters, requiring no external power source;
  • No installation charges; and
  • Portable.

Cons

  • Safety – you must not place items on top or directly in front of gas heaters. This may be a challenge if you are working in a small space;
  • Unpleasant gas odour;
  • Adequate ventilation is vital to prevent a build up of dangerous fumes;
  • Risk of carbon monoxide leak; and
  • Large bulky items taking up valuable space, both when in use and in storage.

 

Conclusion

Whatever type of garden room heating you choose, you must ensure that it has the capacity to heat the relevant space. It is important to maximize the power used to efficiently provide heat whilst minimizing energy wastage through the use of good insulation, timers and thermostats.

Bear in mind that these days having a comfortable warm outbuilding doesn’t mean you need to compromise on style with ugly, bulky and/or ineffective heating options. There is now a wide range of stylish, safe yet efficient electric heating solutions available.

For more information on finding the most suitable heating product for your garden building, speak to a heating expert such as Feature Radiators. Visit their showroom where they have over 160 radiators on display and expert advice on hand, call their expert team directly on 01274 567789 or browse their electric radiator range at: http://www.featureradiators.co.uk/Electric.htm

The question “which central heating radiators are most efficient?” is not straight forward, as in this context the word “efficient” means different things to different customers.  
An official definition of the word “efficient” is:

“Acting or producing effectively with a minimum of waste, expense, or unnecessary effort.

It can be argued that all central heating radiators are equally efficient insofar as the energy put into a radiator will equal the amount of heat it gives out.  In other words, all properly functioning radiators with same heat output capacity, will give out the same amount of heat as one another and will use the same amount of energy to do so.

Radiators are just vessels designed to release energy in the form of heat.  The amount of heat they release will depend on the amount of energy put into them.

In asking “Which central heating radiators are the most efficient?”, customers could mean:

1. Which radiator gives out the most heat for its size?
2. Which radiator is the cheapest to run?
3. Which radiator wastes the least fuel?
4. Which radiator heats up the quickest?

Relevant factors to consider in answering the above questions and ensuring you get the right radiator(s) for your specific needs are considered below.

Size and surface area

Its surface area determines the maximum heat output capacity of a radiator.  The larger the surface area, the higher the potential heat output.

Surface area will be greatly increased by convectors, fins, or double or triple panels.  So for example, the heat output capacity of a flat single panel radiator will be considerably less than a radiator of the same size (height x width) with double panels, and/or convectors or fins.

When considering one model of radiator, then generally, the bigger the radiator, the bigger the heat output.  However this is not necessarily the case when comparing one model of radiator against another.

Water content

In theory, the less water a radiator holds, the less time it takes to heat up, and the less fuel is would require to reach full temperature.  Consequently, the lower the water content of a radiator, the more “efficient” it could be considered to be.  However, in reality, there is little difference in the level of water content across radiator models, although over an entire system the slight variation would multiply.

Design

The shape of a radiator and its design does have an effect on the amount of heat it radiates, but again this is due to the particular surface area of the model.  For example, a tubular radiator with hollow tubes offers a lot more surface area than a flat panel design without fins as the heat can be emitted from both the outside and the inside of the tubes.  So the design of a radiator does have a direct effect on its maximum heat output.

Material

A radiator’s material of manufacture does not have a direct impact on the amount of heat it gives out.  However, the material will be a determining factor in the speed in which the radiator heats up and cools down.  For instance, aluminium heats up quickly and cools down quickly, whereas cast iron heats up at a slower rate and cools down at a slower rate.

Finish

Science proves that the finish of a radiator affects its heat output in varying degrees.

There is a principal known as “emissivity” that enables experts to measure the ability for heat to leave (or radiate from) the surface of an object.

Levels of emissivity vary between finishes of radiators.  Painted radiators have a higher level of emissivity than bare metal radiators, meaning that painted finishes absorb and release heat more than bare metal finishes.  Matt finishes have a higher level of emissivity than gloss radiators.  Even the colour of the finish can affect the level of emissivity.  For instance, black paint has a higher level of emissivity than white paint.  However, the difference in the emissivity of radiators is negligible and would only be realised in laboratory conditions.

Only a chrome finish has a noticeable affect on the heat output of a radiator as chrome has a very low level of emissivity.  The chrome coating works on the same principal as the space blankets (the silver insulation blankets) used to keep athletes warm.  The chrome coating, whilst looking beautiful, does reduce the ability of the radiator to radiate heat.  Chrome (chromium plated) radiators are proven to emit approximately 20% less heat than the equivalent sized radiators in a painted finish.

In theory, the optimum radiator when looking for high heat output and rapid heat up time, taking all factors into account (no matter how minimal their impact) would be a matt black aluminium radiator with the greatest surface area for its size.

In practice, there are many other aspects that will determine the best radiator(s) for your project, including, aesthetics, dimensions to fit your space, budget and availability.  Your choice will be governed by which factors take priority.

For more advice on choosing the right radiator(s) speak to a radiator specialist such as Feature Radiators.  Contact their expert team directly on 01274 567789, meet them at their large West Yorkshire showroom, where they have over 160 radiators on display or visit their website.

The UK government said recently that households may receive up to £10,000 each to spend on “green” improvements, in an effort to encourage eco-friendly housing.

Energy saving and cost effective additions such as double glazing, eco-friendly radiators and roof insulation will be promoted, as well as other forms of home improvement such as underfloor heating, draught proofing and water efficient tap systems.
Eco Radiator
To qualify, householders must prove that their energy usage can save money, saving on bills in order to qualify for a share of the £10,000 sum. Anyone hoping to benefit from this should ensure that their boiler and radiators are up to scratch, and that they have ideas for further improvements.

Ministers claim that the scheme could boost the economy by up to £2.5 billion and create up to 70,000 jobs. The initial costs are to be covered by retailers and utility providers, with the idea being that the home-owner repays the cost of the improvements over a 25-year period, with small additions to their utility bills.

Are you aware that 2 NYC based architects designed an asymmetrical home with fixed budget of $250,000?

Architects and Jersey City citizens Richard Garber (assistant professor at NJ Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture and Design in Newark) and Nicole Robertson of GRO Architects in NYC rose to the challenge of constructing and overseeing the building of a single-family house that’s a genuine proof of both progressive design and environmental-friendly technology.

Denis Carpenter not long ago purchased a compact vacant lot and, to achieve his concern for the environment, wanted a residence that was efficient and very easy to maintain.
Eco Friendly Home
What’s so particular about this home?

– Inside the home, on the floor level, radiant heating below the exposed cement floor warms the full bathing room and two bedrooms.

– In the attic-like 2nd level, sleek aluminum and stainless steel railings accent the bamboo stairway to the mezzanine, family room and an artfully designed kitchen made with restored devices and cabinetry.

– Passive cooling strategies like ceiling fans and clerestory windows allow occupants to be cool during summer months and hot during winter.

– The roof contains 260 feet square of photovoltaic panels that deliver around 2,000 kilowatts of energy per year to a battery stored in the basement.

This single family 1,600-square-foot home was constructed in six months and won a 2009 American Institute of Architects merit award and the 2010 Green Building of the Year Award from the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency.

Ok now what? How can you transform your home into an ecologically-friendly home without investing too much money?

If you’re remodeling a home, execute an energy review first to help you determine what energy efficiency improvements should and can be made to your home. In this way you’ll calculate how much energy your home consumes.

My favorite eco-friendly technique is the passive solar cooling/heating design.

Passive solar signifies that your home’s windows, walls, and floors can be created to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer.

Existing buildings can be adapted or “retrofitted” to passively collect and store solar heat too.

The following five elements constitute a comprehensive passive solar home design:

The Collector – The area through which sunlight enters the building (usually windows).

The Absorber – The hard, darkened surface of the storage element. Sunlight hits the surface and is absorbed as heat.

The Thermal Mass – The elements that retain or store the heat generated by sunlight below or behind the absorber surface.

The Distributor – The method by which solar heat circulates from the collection and storage points to different areas of the house.

The Controller – Roof overhangs can be used to shade the aperture area during summer season or Thermostats that signal a fan to turn on.

The author – Cynthia Booth – shares knowledge for the architecture careers blog. It’s a nonprofit web site dedicated to provide help for young architects who need resources for their careers. With this she would like to increase the attention on eco-friendly home design and change the general public conception of energy efficiency.

Interest in both self build and home improvement continues to grow, according to a recent survey from The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show. Twenty nine percent of visitors to the Show, held at the NEC in March, are currently involved in a self build project, compared to 20% in 2009, with 38% involved in a renovation project, compared to 34% in 2009. This homeowner confidence is mirrored by recent news from the Nationwide that house prices in the UK have risen by 10.5% in the year to the end of April.
cottage
Homeowners keen to improve, extend, renovate or even build their own home should visit The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show , on at Sandown Park on 26 and 27 June. Visitors can pick up the latest in innovative products and services, inspirational design ideas, restoration tips, cost saving ideas and eco friendly solutions – all under one roof. Bring along your plans or drawings, meet with the experts and get great advice and information from the free seminars and masterclasses.

The Show is co-located with The Kitchen & Bathroom Show, the UK’s only dedicated kitchen and bathroom consumer show. Individual manufacturers and suppliers often not seen on the High Street, will inspire with bespoke designs, the latest technology and a fabulous array of colours and styles. New this year is The Kitchen & Bathroom Design Experience where visitors can bring along their room plans and get a one-to-one consultation with experts from The Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom Specialists Association (KBSA) and Essential Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom magazine.

For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk or www.kitchenandbathroomshow.co.uk. Tickets give entry to both shows and are £5 in advance by calling 0844 5811377or £8 on the door (children under 16 go free).

modern house at night Are you interested in picking up the latest in innovative products and services, inspirational design ideas, renovation tips and cost saving solutions for the home? Then look no further! The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, the UK’s only dedicated self-build and home improvement show, is at the Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet on 21st & 22nd November.

The South West Homebuilding & Renovating Show features over 120 exhibitors, 36 free seminars and masterclasses as well as the unique opportunity to get advice from the Experts. This really is a must-visit event.

Whether you are looking for land to build your own home, want to extend your property to create an open plan kitchen or are thinking about converting your loft or basement to create extra space, you will find the products, services, advice and information to help create your perfect home.

Want to find out more about how you can improve your home? Then attend How to Successfully Add Space and Value to your Home’, a free seminar at 11.30am on both days. Concerned about your impact on the environment and want to do more? Learn more about reducing your carbon footprint by attending ‘How to Heat Your Home for Nothing: Dream or Reality?’ a free seminar at 1.30pm on both days.

If you’re still at the planning stage of your building project, then take along your drawings, plans or just your ideas and speak to one of the many experts at the Show and get some great advice.

For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £5 in advance by calling 0844 5811377 or £8 on the door (children under 16 go free).

Are you interested in picking up the latest in innovative products and services, inspirational design ideas, renovation tips and cost saving solutions for the home? Then look no further! The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, the UK’s only dedicated self-build and home improvement show, is coming to Harrogate from 6th to 8th November.

Curved House

Curved House


On at Harrogate International Centre, The Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show features over 210 exhibitors, 54 free seminars and masterclasses as well as the unique opportunity to get advice from the Experts. This really is a must-visit event.

Whether you are looking for land to build your own home, want to extend your property to create an open plan kitchen or are thinking about converting your loft or basement to create extra space, you will find the products, services, advice and information to help create your perfect home.

Want to find out more about how you can improve your home? Then attend ‘How to Successfully Add Space and Value to your Home’, a free seminar at 11.30am every day. Concerned about your impact on the environment and want to do more? Learn more about reducing your carbon footprint by attending ‘How to Heat Your Home for Nothing: Dream or Reality?’ a free seminar at 1.30pm every day. Visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk to find out more about the other free seminars and the masterclasses that run on the three days of the Show.

If you’re still at the planning stage of your building project, then bring along your drawings, plans or just your ideas and speak to one of the many experts at the Show and get some great advice. Visit the Homebuilding & Renovating magazine stand where Michael Holmes, TV presenter and Editor-in-Chief of Real Homes and Homebuilding & Renovating magazines, will be heading up a team of experts specialising in renovating, design, planning, self-building and greener living.

The Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show is on at Harrogate International Centre from 6th to 8th November. The Show features over 210 exhibitors, 54 free seminars and masterclasses and the chance to Ask the Experts. For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £5 in advance by calling 0844 5811377 or £8 on the door (children under 16 go free).

Purlfrost window film

Purlfrost window film

Walk down a residential London street today and you’ll see window film on at least one property: be it the front room windows or displaying the house number above the front door. Thanks to the brilliant products supplied & designed by the likes of Purlfrost, the product is becoming increasingly popular & the age old problem of tired looking net curtains is at last being addressed!

Window film is contemporary, clean & easily affordable. It really can update your interior in minutes. Purlfrost have short demonstration videos on their website which clearly illustrate how straightforward it is to apply their films.

Window films can not only offer an attractive solution for privacy, they can be beneficial in other ways too:

  • Add a level of security (and also a deterrent)
  • Still allow plenty of natural light
  • Be a temporary or permanent fixture
  • Reinforce delicate glass

Its versatility is remarkable & can even be used in steamy bathrooms!

More information at www.purlfrost.com or call them on 020 8961 7337

Twister RadiatorRecently mentioned Feature Radiators has been voted as one of Channel 4’s “5 fave things” from the National Homebuilding and Renovating show.

On the Channel 4 website, design expert Rich Payne says:

“This stand caught my eye for their show-stopping collection of contemporary radiators. They had seemingly limitless desirable designs, and their staff informed me they provided heating devices for the Big Brother house.”

kitchen and bathroom show 2009Do you dream of an individually designed kitchen with state of the art technology and streamlined appliances? Are you bored with your bathroom and longing for a more luxurious experience? Then we have the Show for you! If you’re looking for the latest innovations and sleek designs visit the UK’s only dedicated Kitchen & Bathroom Show, on at Sandown Park on 27 and 28 June, where your dream kitchen and bathroom awaits you,

Meet over 50 individual kitchen manufacturers and suppliers, often not seen on the High Street, who will inspire you with bespoke designs, the latest technology and a fabulous array of colours which could transform your kitchen from sad to sensational.

Davinci KitchenDiscover indulgent bathrooms to die for, featuring beautiful baths, designer taps and stunning showers, tempting transformations from a mere bathroom into your very own spa retreat.

As an added bonus, your ticket will give you free entry to the co-located and brand new Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show. If you’re looking to improve, extend, renovate or even build your own home you can meet over 150 specialist exhibitors, attend free seminars and masterclasses and get advice from the experts. Your perfect home awaits you!

Tickets to The Kitchen & Bathroom Show are £5 in advance and £8 on the day (children under 16 go free). For more information visit www.kitchenandbathroomshow.co.uk or call 0844 581 1306.