Friday, 19 August 2011

Economical, efficient, safe – the heating solution that suits every multi-use sports hall

ARC continuous radiant tube systems are the professionals’ choice for sports hall heating, this is the future of heating in the fuel- and cost-conscious multi-use sports hall environment.  This system has been specified for the Optimum Sports Hall.

High-tech, low energy, low maintenance – today’s sports halls are more than just spaces for sports. They are the epitome of the energy efficient, low carbon building the government now requires of designers and specifiers.

The off-the-peg Optimum Sports Hall perhaps most aptly represents what can be achieved in environmentally efficient sports hall design, paring down operational costs, fuel consumption and emissions to the minimum, while maintaining comfort, function and aesthetics.

More traditional sports hall design presents challenges when it comes to maintaining a comfortable atmosphere. Of all the building services, heating is likely to be the most problematic. The reason is this: in one vast space, the comfort requirements of a cross-section of athletes and players, as well as sports hall staff and sedentary spectators, must be fully satisfied.

Achieving universal comfort and low energy consumption demands a particularly versatile heating system; a system that
*   warms up within minutes (not hours)
*   can be turned down to reduce temperature equally quickly should stuffiness start to build up
*    has an exceptional heat output to energy performance ratio
*    may be zoned so that unused areas need not be heated
*    operates a low noise levels
*    meets the comfort needs of all the sports hall’s users.

It is also absolutely crucial that the heating equipment will not compromise the fabric of the building, as underfloor heating has on occasion been found to do.

Ideal solution
No other heating system currently used in sports halls can match the energy efficiency of radiant tube heating. The installation of continuous radiant tube heating, such as the ARC from AmbiRad, will ensure even heat coverage throughout the space and comfort for building occupants, regardless of their level of activity.

The properties of radiant heating make it an ideal solution in sports halls. Radiant works like the sun, emitting infra red rays that warm only people and objects in their path.  No energy is wasted heating the volume of air in the hall – an important factor in buildings which are typically around 6000ft² with roof heights of 24-30ft. Heating 170,000ft³ of air to ensure people are warm at the lowest 6-9 feet is not feasible in terms of fuel efficiency.

Radiant heating also balances the different comfort needs of sedentary and active users. It doesn’t matter where in the building they are, they will always feel the warmth from the overhead-mounted radiant tubes.

The air remains relatively cool and conducive for active sports - at low level it does absorb some of the heat given off the people and the building fabric, but it is not heated directly. Building occupants feel comfortably warm at all times, to the level they require. And should people feel too warm, the close control possible with radiant means it can be turned down or off and temperatures reduce immediately.

Energy consumption can be reduced still further by zone control. This allows areas of the building that are not being used to remain unheated, without compromising comfort temperatures in areas that are in use.

Lower set temperatures           
The nature of radiant heating means that the burners can be set to operate at a temperature a few degrees lower than the comfort temperature required. In practice, this means that in a hall requiring constant background warmth of 65°F, the radiant system need only be set to operate at 60°C. Over time, this will result in fuel cost savings and reduced carbon emissions.

Radiant tube heaters burn fuel at the point of use, eliminating heat distribution losses or the need for a separate plant area. Their warmth can be felt with just a few minutes of switch-on, even on very cold days. Mounted at high level, the heaters are well out of the way of sports equipment and can be fitted with protective grilles for additional safety.

Flagship sports hall
Potential stars of the 2012 London Olympics, together with university students and local school children, are taking advantage of the flagship $11m indoor sports facility at Brunel University. And their training is made more comfortable thanks to the ARC continuous radiant tube heating that has been installed to provide state-of-the-art energy efficient heating.

The 30,000ft² athletics hall incorporates a 6-lane sprint and hurdles straight, long and triple jump pits, areas for pole vault and high jump and throws practice nets. The Netball Hall offers full-court netball together with four badminton and basketball courts. It is now the training base of the England netball team.

The ARC heaters were positioned at approximately 6m from floor level. Controlled centrally from the University’s building management system, they maintain a constant temperature of around 64-66°F.

Paul Gibbins, architect at Sport England, designers of the Optimum Sports Hall, comments: “Radiant heating is economical to install and effective in its distribution of heat. It is an effective generator of heat, economical and aesthetic. It provides quick warm up and easy control in different circumstances – for example, active sports or spectating.”


  1. With much safe heating systems, we can never worry about cold winter nights.
    I bet it has cheap deals too!

    1. I like this blog so much but supposedly I'm trying to look for a post page of heating in Sun Valley.

  2. if you choose our underfloor heating packs then you'll also need to factor in the cost of insulation board, screed and heating controls, as well as an electrician's call out and labour charge - our tradespeople costs guide has some typical jobs and charges to use as a benchmark for underfloor heating packs.