27 April 2021
Blog
Tata Steel helps to achieve low-carbon construction
Tata Steel construction ComFlor Active floor heating system

Tata Steel has invested a great deal of time and effort into developing innovative energy-saving products and systems that are helping to produce energy efficient buildings that will remain so throughout their entire lifetime.

The Government’s pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions is ambitious, as we tackle the global challenge on climate change, and is one that has been top of the sustainability agenda for some time.

Airios in Veldhoven The Netherlands Tata Steel ComFlor, composite floor deck

Preserving and safeguarding our environment for future generations by reducing emissions from new homes and buildings is integral to helping the UK work towards achieving a low carbon world, as the drive to deliver more sustainable buildings intensifies.

As the rise in demand for more airtight and more thermally efficient buildings continues, along with the predicted rise in summer temperatures, buildings which generate large internal heat loads, from such things as computers, people and lighting, will be at a higher risk of overheating and as such will require additional cooling – generally supplied in the form of air conditioning. High internal heat gains, in highly serviced, modern commercial buildings can present designers with the challenge of providing adequate cooling to achieve optimum working conditions throughout much of the year. This is particularly the case in busy urban settings and high-rise buildings where opening windows during the day, to provide natural ventilation are not possible.

Offsetting the need for air conditioning

Fabric Energy Storage (FES) has long been seen as a method of offsetting the need to use air conditioning. FES is the ability of the fabric of a building to absorb excess heat which can be effectively utilised to reduce cooling loads and in some buildings remove the requirement to provide air conditioning or even be used to provide heating. Passive systems can theoretically supply up to 20W/m2 of cooling but once the FES has been used, there is a need for additional cooling capacity until the FES can be purged.

FES is the ability of the fabric of a building to absorb excess heat. Effectively utilised, it can reduce cooling loads and, in some cases, remove the requirement to provide air conditioning entirely in some buildings.

Thermal mass is the ability of the fabric of a building to absorb and store heat. Effectively utilised as part of a whole building HVAC strategy, it can reduce the energy required for cooling and, in some buildings, remove the requirement to provide air conditioning entirely. Thermal mass can also be used to provide heating but this article deals only with cooling, and specifically in multi-storey, non-domestic buildings.

While passive systems are able to cope with today’s cooling demands, future needs are likely to require active floor systems like ComFlor® Active.

Low carbon technology

ComFlor® Active is an innovative flooring solution developed by Tata Steel to facilitate and control the room temperature in new buildings without heavy reliance on carbon intensive fuels.

Superior additional cooling capacity

While ComFlor® Active provides heating and/or cooling in one system, its inherent characteristics, namely the large radiant surface area of the composite deck, in conjunction with the emissivity of its Colorcoat FD® 25 or Colorcoat FD® 170 polyester coating system, provides a superior additional cooling capacity to improve performance, whilst maintaining an aesthetically appealing finish.

It permits circulation of cool or warm water through a network of water pipes embedded into the concrete to thermally activate the floor. This method provides highly effective cooling for office buildings and similar heating benefits in residential structures. In both cases, the low temperature differential between the room temp and the circulated water allows the use of low carbon technologies rather than traditional carbon intensive heaters or chillers, to supply water at the required temperature.

The low water temp also reduces heat losses from the intermediate pipework and increases the system’s overall efficiency. Thermally activated traditional concrete slab floors provide a high comfort level, increased floor space due to the elimination of radiators and a self-regulating, energy efficient system that provides cooling and heating in a single package.

ComFlor® Active offers all the above advantages, with some key extra features:

  • Large radiant surface maximises output.
  • Ceilings that permit air circulation can be used.
  • Optional Colorcoat® FD pre-finished steel soffits can improve performance and offer an aesthetic finish.
  • Less pipework required for a fast response time resulting in small back-up HVAC systems.
  • Optimisation of tube placements significantly increases output.
  • Minimum floor depth possible.

Looking for sustainable temperature-controlled flooring

If you are interested in installing ComFlor® Active flooring or would like to find out more about the system, its performance and its ability to create energy efficient buildings, please contact our technical team.

ComFlor® Active in action

Airios is a modern three-storey state-of-the-art office building next to the A2 between Eindhoven and Veldhoven where ComFlor® Active facilitates the sustainable control of room temperature in new buildings without heavy reliance on carbon intensive fuels.

Read more.

 

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