Electric Floor Warming and Radiant Heating In California

Electric Floor Warming and Radiant Heating In California

By Steven D. Bench, Heatizon Systems

California’s Building Energy Standards, Title 24, Part 6 allows for the use of electrical radiant floor warming and electrical radiant space heating products whenever said products meet the definition of “supplemental heating.”

So what exactly is “supplemental heating?” According to the Building Energy Standards for the state of California “supplemental heating” is heating which is: (a) not the primary space conditioning system (defined as that system used in energy compliance analysis); and, (b) installed in an area that is also directly served by the primary space conditioning system. Of course common sense and the Building Energy Standards require that the primary space conditioning system have sufficient capacity to condition the entire building or home.

In other words, anytime the primary space conditioning system does not have sufficient capacity to condition the entire building or home, and/or the primary space conditioning system does not directly serve the space where the electrical radiant floor-warming or electrical radiant space heating product is to be installed, then said products are not considered “supplemental heating” and they must be included in the energy performance analysis to comply with the Building Energy Standards. As a result, the energy use of electrical floor warming and space heating products installed in areas such as bathrooms, that do not have supply vents from the primary space conditioning system, must be included in the energy performance standards compliance analysis.

The fact is that electric resistance space conditioning is difficult to justify as the primary space heater in California. The reason for this is that California uses source energy as the measurement for efficiency. As a result, even though electric products generally have energy efficiencies of 99 percent or greater, the efficiency of electric radiant floor warming and space heating products are reduced by the inefficiency of generating and delivering the electricity to the point of consumption.

The good news is Californians can enjoy the comfort and cleanliness of electric radiant floor warming and space heating anytime they have a primary system that has sufficient capacity to condition the entire space and the space is directly served by the primary system.