Thursday, 5 July 2012

Rickenbacker Air National Guard Case Study

Rickenbacker Air National Guard

During a site visit to the 121st Air Refueling Wing in Columbus, Ohio to review an infrared application for a small receiving area, Ambirad’s representative noticed two large hangars on the airfield. When asked how those buildings were heated the commanding officer responded, “it has radiant heat already but it doesn’t work.” Knowing that the ideal method of heating any aircraft hangar was infrared heating, the officer and Ambirad’s representative immediately reviewed the installation in those buildings. Upon inspection it was found that the type of equipment installed utilized low radiant output linear units not ideally suited for the extreme heights presented by an aviation application. Complaints from occupants and maintenance personnel ran from; “it can’t keep up when it gets real cold,” to, “when it rains outside it rains inside because of all of the roof penetrations.”

Each building had sixty two 150,000 btu standard efficiency tube heaters supplied by a different manufacture. Even though the customer complained that the system as currently configured couldn’t heat the space, Ambirad replaced the system with 49 of their VSX series 140,000 btu units. That’s a 26% decrease in total input! It was also decided to utilize a manifolded system and vent through the sidewall, thus eliminating 100% of the 22 roof penetrations per building! Other systems that boast high radiant efficiencies are not suited for venting to the exterior. They require leaving open flames and products of combustion, including moisture, in the space. This centainly isn’t the optimum condition for any building. The end result was a documented 30%+ energy savings with recovery times reduced by 70%. They are maintaining a higher temperature set point than before and are now comfortable and the space is dry.

Needless to say the Air National Guard is delighted with the performance. Since the success at Rickenbacker many additional military sites have followed suit with this state of the art technology. The thought process that all radiant systems are created equal is a thing of the past. New technology has proven that buildings currently heated by infrared systems are prime candidates for energy reduction and aggressive returns on investment. The performance of radiant heating has been taken to another level and it remains critical that the correct system is applied properly for the optimum result. Which is why it is important to engage the factory when faced with a challenging design. The technology of the VSX system leaves traditional equipment including two stage and modulating unit performance in the dust. When properly engineered the Ambirad VSX system truly has no equal.


  1. Very interesting text for an aviation lover. Good to know that the newest technological solutions make huge improvements :)

  2. The performance of radiant heating has been taken to another level and it remains critical that the correct system is applied properly for the optimum result.This is true!-heating installation in Northridge-

  3. Thanks for sharing this information. I have been wondering about the heating industry and how it is faring. I personally do not have great heating, but in Markham, it is not that much of a problem. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Infrared room heaters are like the bigger brothers of the radiant heaters described above. They have much greater heating power and can easily heat up a 1000 square foot room, and some can even heat an area of up to 1500 sq. ft.