sustainable heating -ATETA study


As part of the European Union Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Jigsaw and the University of Birmingham (ATETA) completed a study on how sustainable Jigsaw infrared heating panels are against the home building standard the UK government set to achieve net zero by 2025.

As we all know convection heating rises. Therefore, it tends to rise higher and leak across the walls and windows of the building losing energy, especially in an old build. Furthermore, convection heating heats up the whole air in the given space. Causing energy bills to increase as not all this space needs to be heated. Rising the use of greenhouse gases unnecessarily.

However, the study shows that comparing convection heating to Infrared it heats people, floors, walls, and surfaces directly without heating the air first. The result has an instant warming effect. Therefore, Infrared enables more energy efficiency, better zone control, efficient space use and increases worker efficiency.

ATETA assessed seven different heating behaviour indirect calculation methods through a comparative study based on sensor data recorded in 20 English homes over a five-month period.

Convection vs Infrared heating

The study found:

  • Homes occupied by older people and permanently unable to work should be targeted for energy efficiency improvements as they are heated for longer and higher temperatures, hence greater potential for energy savings.
  • IR heating can save energy whilst being cost effective. Due to how they reduce the total thermal output, increases the total heat transfer, significantly reduce heat loss, and lower heat transfer. This is due to where the heaters are placed like the ceiling as the IR heating is directly radiating the objects.
  • Convection heating consumes more primary energy than the panel heating systems. This is because the panel heating systems thermally insulate the building causing the smallest impact to the environment.
  • IR reduces less air movement causing less draught risk and less transportation of dust.
  • When calculating dry air between convection heating and IR heating. It is found that IR heating maintains better air quality helping people with allergies, blood circulation, mould in damp houses, and general health.
  • IR heating provides warmth to a solid body rather than warming up the surrounding air. As the operative temperature was increased by 7 °C causing the skin temperature of the fingers to be increased to about 7 °C. Therefore, Infrared heating gives an immediate effect so that people don’t have to wait to reach a comfortable temperature.
  • The cost of running Infrared heating is less than normal convection heaters. The study has shown that a 600w IR heater will provide the same level of warmth as a 1500w convection one. Saving money to the energy bills.

The study

Further studies on Infrared heating are being carried out in collaboration with other universities to evidence the energy saving of infrared heating. The studies are then presented to government and BEIS to evidence that Infrared is a sustainable product which can be run from renewable sources.

Below are two of the studies that have already been carried out and the ATETA study:

Wolverhampton University (ENTRESS) -

Aston University - (ETICC) -

Jigsaw would like to thank all the staff at Birmingham University (ATETA) who conducted the testing and wrote the report.

For an introduction to ATETA - University of Birmingham watch the video to find out how they support low technology businesses like Jigsaw.

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