Turning up the heat in the classroom

Heating is always a key consideration in any educational setting. Chris Harvey at Stelrad Radiator Group looks at the benefits of low surface temperature radiators as a safe and effective heating option

In recent years funding has been available for heating system upgrades in existing establishments and there has been a plethora of new build opportunities up and down the country where either traditional boiler driven heating systems or increasingly, new low temperature renewable heating systems have been installed. But whatever the driver, the end product has to be reliable, effective heating to keep staff, pupils and students warm during the colder months of the year.

Despite the advent of underfloor heating and other forms of heat provision, radiators have been the ‘go to’ option for the vast majority of these opportunities. Tried and tested technology, easy to install, they offer a straightforward and easily recognised option for most heating systems and modern radiators offer a level of reliability that is key for heating systems that have to work, day in, day out.

If radiators are sized properly for the rooms and spaces they have to heat, they will deliver the heat required – whether the heat source is a commercial boiler or a commercial heat pump – air source or ground source.

Radiators come in a huge range of shapes and sizes and increasingly in a wide range of styles as well. And while many schools, colleges and universities have selected designer or decorative radiators, the biggest trend in recent years in the education sector has seen the rise of the low surface temperature radiator (LST radiator).

An LST radiator is quite simply a standard heat emitter that comes with a safe insulative, flat panel casing on its exterior, allowing for piping flexibility, with the benefit of being reversible if you so desire. Along with the benefits of accessibility and overall safety LST radiators are made to last, which is why this product usually comes with a 5-year warranty on its casing, and a 10-year warranty on the heat emitter itself.

LST Standard radiators have the benefit of being able to maintain a relatively low surface temperature, meaning they are much safer than many other radiator models that retain a hotter exterior when they are in use. The beauty of an LST Standard radiator is that the risk of getting burnt is dramatically reduced; these radiator casings will never have a surface temperature of more than 43°C, meaning a child that comes into contact with one will come to no harm.

LST Standard radiators are the number one choice for safety, making them ideal for environments such as nurseries, schools, children’s playrooms and anywhere where a vulnerable or young person might be ever-present. LST Standard radiators align with NHS guidance for ‘safe hot water and surface temperature’ and are finished with antibacterial paint for extra protection.

LST radiators are the perfect solution for educational buildings and it’s no surprise that they are also becoming standard specification for many other public buildings that require a level of safety to be built into the sharing of heat – including care and nursing homes, sheltered housing schemes – and in buildings which are used by vulnerable people of all ages who may not have the levels of awareness needed to recognise the heat that normal radiators reach – up to 80° – or be able to feel the heat immediately until after they have received a dry burn that can be catastrophic to their health. Many LSTs not only protect the heat emitter but also protect the incoming and outgoing pipework so that there is no possibility of the people in its vicinity being able to get burned by the heat from it.

While LSTs are a vital option for architects and building designers looking to build safety into their buildings, there are other options available and being used in educational buildings up and down the country, but mainly in those buildings being used by older students.

Some school projects have seen the use of another special application radiator available today – heavy duty radiators that have been designed to be more robust in the face of use in an environment where contact is likely. They have been selected for a number of school projects – where it’s anticipated the radiators may not always be treated with the highest respect! It’s a high-end specification product built to withstand high impact, yet it retains its high heat output while remaining price competitive. For installers, piping connections are exactly the same as for a normal radiator. This robust version comes with a 3.2 mm combined thickness, tough outer steel fascia to provide additional protection where the radiator is used in an environment where there is a need to take knocks in its stride.

If you need to find out more about radiator specification for educational buildings and want to find out more about LSTs in particular, there are CPD programmes available that take you through the details of the products and where they are appropriate for use that you can take online.

Chris Harvey is head of marketing from Stelrad Radiator Group