Radiant heating is about as natural of a heat source as there is. Radiation is a form of heat we experience daily when we step outside and feel the heat of the sun. The sun’s radiant heat feels great to many on a winter day on the cold ski slopes in Colorado. Others enjoy the sun’s radiant heat in the summer as they relax and get their tans on beaches throughout the country. The sun’s radiant heat is a renewable energy source that is being used more and more in the building industry with both photovoltaic and hydronic solar collectors.
Fluid flow and heat transfer are the fundamental engineering principles that are used by engineers to design products and systems that provide comfort in buildings. Whether the medium is refrigerant, water, or air there is heat transfer involved. There are three types of heat transfer used in building systems: conduction, convection, and radiation. Radiation may be one of the most underutilized forms of heat transfer in buildings, and it ought to be considered more often as we seek better ways to save energy and provide on-demand zoned heating.