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Published on September 19th, 2007 | by Philip Proefrock

12

Green Building Elements: Warmboard

Radiant heating is a popular option in green buildings. Many green buildings feature it because it is a more efficient, and more comfortable, method of heating. If a building doesn’t require air conditioning, it may be possible to eliminate ductwork altogether, or at least use a much smaller system that is sized for air conditioning. And even in buildings where air handling is still necessary, the systems that push the air around can be run less frequently because they are needed only to provide fresh air, and don’t need to take care of the heating as well. Radiant heating systems don’t cause the air to be dried out in the same manner that heated forced-air systems tend to do. Most of all, radiant heating is comfortable because it is warmest at floor level and slightly cooler at higher levels, matching the human desire for warmth for the feet, and less for the head.

A recent blog post by Jetson Green about the National Solar Decathalon reminded me of an intriguing product that can be used for in-floor radiant heat systems. Warmboard is a specialty subflooring for use in radiant-heated buildings that doesn’t require a concrete slab to embed the radiant tubing. This makes it especially useful for multi-story buildings where a concrete slab floor may be less desirable. Warmboard is much lighter than a corresponding concrete slab, meaning that less structural material is needed to support the floor. It also does not need curing time, unlike a concrete slab, which is another factor that makes it appealing for use with modular and pre-fab construction.

Warmboard is a plywood material that is slightly thicker than typical subflooring plywood. It has regular channels cut into it that the radiant heating system tubing can be laid into. On top of this, an aluminum plate is formed to the surface, providing a transfer surface to uniformly distribute the heat from the tubing across the floor.

Warmboard can be used in place of regular subflooring plywood (although some of the pictures Jetson Green posted showed warmboard being installed on top of regular plywood subflooring, which is both redundant and costly). Almost any kind of flooring can be installed over Warmboard. Hardwood flooring and tile can be set directly over the warmboard. However, carpet, which is not as good a choice to use with a radiant floor heating system, requires a 3/8" underlayment.

Solar heating systems that use collectors to heat water are the most efficient solar energy systems available. Combining solar energy capture with a radiant heating system is an easy way of taking best advantage of the strengths of both systems. A system can be easily designed to take advantage of solar heating on sunny days, with backup heating from an alternative source to heat water to provide supplemental heat or for days when the sun is not as bright. The quick assembly ability and the good integration of radiant heating systems is why Warmboard is popular among the Solar Decathalon teams.

There are some drawbacks to using Warmboard. It is an expensive product, and owners may balk at the perceived cost. However, using Warmboard subflooring makes the installation of the tubing much quicker and easier, as opposed to doing the installation from the underside. In a crawl space, it’s exceptionally awkward, and working overhead is tiring work. Installing the tubing in a Warmboard is much quicker than installing it under the subfloor, and labor costs for tubing installation should be lower. The Warmboard also incorporates an aluminum plate, so a separate reflector plate or reflective insulation is not needed, and both the cost of the material itself and the cost of installation can be saved by using Warmboard, as well.

Warmboard is also configured for a regular 4′ x 8′ sheet of flooring. If you are working with a regular design so that you only need full size pieces, then Warmboard can be an economical choice. It can be worked with much the same as a standard plywood subfloor and can be cut in the field (though a carbide blade is required in order to cut the integrated aluminum plate).

Although the company says that their material can be used in remodeling projects, in most cases I think that would be unfeasible. Laying Warmboard on top of an existing floor will add nearly 2" to the floor thickness with the Warmboard itself (1-1/8" thick) as well as the hardwood or other finished floor covering (3/4" or more). That also would mean doors would have to be cut down or replaced, and other elements would be similarly affected. But for a moderate sized new construction, Warmboard can be a good product to use to help make a comfortable, radiant-heated building.

Image source: Warmboard

Tip of the hat to Jetson Green

97TH AIR FORCE UNIFORM BOARD RELEASES THEIR NEWEST RESULTS FOR PROPER WEAR OF UNIFORM

US Fed News Service, Including US State News February 8, 2006 The U.S. Air Force issued the following press release:

The 97th Air Force Uniform Board released their newest results for proper wear of the uniform.

The board met in October and discussed everything from eliminating the Air Force Good Conduct Medal to maternity uniforms.

In addition, a Headquarters Air Force badge will be available this summer. The badge provides a distinct identification of military staff members assigned to the Air Staff and the Air Force Secretariat. Details about this badge will be available at a future date.

The following changes are effective immediately:

* Approval to wear the blue nametag with the Air Force informal uniform – the member’s abbreviated rank and name will be on one line. This uniform is worn by recruiters, honor guard, enlisted aides, chaplains, chaplain assistants, world-class athletes, and fitness center and health and wellness center staffs.

* Cummerbund pleats will face up in all cases.

* If due to a temporary medical condition, such as chemotherapy, results in baldness, commanders will authorize the approved American Cancer Society cap, wigs or baldness while in uniform. in our site hairstyles for women

* Bracelet size is reduced to one-half inch. Bracelets that support a cause, philosophy, individual or group are not authorized. Traditional POW/MIA bracelets are still permitted. Gemstone and tennis bracelets are only authorized while wearing the mess dress.

* Rings will be worn at the base of the finger and will not be worn on the thumb. Wedding sets count as one ring.

* Eyeglasses will not be worn around the neck, on top or back of the head or hanging on uniform.

* Epoxy blue nametag is optional on the blue shirt.

* Wear of the firefighter duty badge is authorized while an individual is assigned a 3E7X1 duty Air Force specialty code, including periods of professional military education and staff tours above group level.

* Wear of the security forces duty badge and beret is authorized while an individual is assigned a 3PXXX duty AFSC position and is also their primary AFSC, including PME attendance and staff tours above group level.

* The Air Force Good Conduct Medal will no longer be awarded. Previously earned medals are still permitted.

* Mandatory wear of the physical training uniform is set for Oct. 1 as per the instructions released last November.

* Cell phones, pagers and personal digital assistants must be solid or covered in black, silver, dark blue or gray, and must be conservative. They may be clipped to the left side of the waistband or purse or carried in left hand. Only one may be worn on the uniform belt. Members will not walk in uniform while using phones, radios or hands-free headsets unless required in performing official duties using a government-issued device.

* Permanent wear of the scuba badge is authorized on the battle dress uniform.

* While not deployed, desert combat uniforms may not be worn unless en route to the basic combat convoy course. “Deployed” for this purpose includes members traveling en route to/from rest and recuperative leave from the Central Command area of responsibility, as outlined in policy announced in mid-2005.

This session of the Air Force Uniform Board included a special panel that was specifically chartered to make recommendations regarding updates/revisions to uniform standards affecting women Airmen. After careful review, the board approved several changes that affect women specifically: site hairstyles for women

* “Scrunchies” are prohibited.

* Hairpins and bands must match hair color.

* Hair color, frosting and highlights will not be faddish and will match natural hair colors, i.e. blonde, brunette, natural red, black or gray.

* No shaved head or flat top hairstyles for women.

* Synthetic hair can be worn, as long as it meets safety and mission requirements.

* Braids, micro-braids and cornrows are authorized.

* Nail polish will not contrast with complexion or detract from the uniform. Nor is polish of extreme color, such as purple, gold, black, blue or any florescent color, authorized. Nail polish will also be limited to one color.

* French manicures are allowed, but fingernail length in all instances will not exceed one-quarter inch beyond the fingertip.

* In addition to clutch-style purses, purses with no more than two straps are authorized with mess dress.

* Earrings will be small spherical, conservative diamond, gold, white pearl or silver with any uniform combination and must be worn as a set. For those with multiple ear piercing, only one set of earrings will be worn in the lower earlobe and will also conform to these earring wear standards when performing duty in civilian clothes.

* Male flight cap is optional.

The updates will be added to Air Force Instruction 36-2903 when the new version is released in March.




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  • http://www.greenstrides.com Joyce

    While I appreciate that warmboard can be used for an interior space that will have better air quality and comfort due to radiant heating, I am curious if the warmboard itself has any green attributes?

  • http://www.greenstrides.com Joyce

    While I appreciate that warmboard can be used for an interior space that will have better air quality and comfort due to radiant heating, I am curious if the warmboard itself has any green attributes?

  • Lloyd Alter

    I am beginning to have doubts about these wood radiant floor systems. I installed a big one, and wonder

    a) about the logic of embedding all of this piping in a system where if anything goes wrong, it will be impossible to find and fix without tearing up a whole lot of house; a duct is just a simple pipe for air, not much can go wrong and not much can happen if it does;

    b) there is a huge issue of thermal lag. we talk about setback thermostats as being one of the best ways to save energy, but a radiant floor system takes hours to change temperature.

    c) I just cannot imagine what wood that is cooked half the year like this is going to look like in ten years, but I suspect it will be dried and warped beyond use, and I am not certain that the “engineered” floors are any better.

    I used to think that radiant flooring was really green, because it put the heat in the right place and one felt much warmer at a lower temperature. I am no longer so sure.

  • Lloyd Alter

    I am beginning to have doubts about these wood radiant floor systems. I installed a big one, and wonder

    a) about the logic of embedding all of this piping in a system where if anything goes wrong, it will be impossible to find and fix without tearing up a whole lot of house; a duct is just a simple pipe for air, not much can go wrong and not much can happen if it does;

    b) there is a huge issue of thermal lag. we talk about setback thermostats as being one of the best ways to save energy, but a radiant floor system takes hours to change temperature.

    c) I just cannot imagine what wood that is cooked half the year like this is going to look like in ten years, but I suspect it will be dried and warped beyond use, and I am not certain that the “engineered” floors are any better.

    I used to think that radiant flooring was really green, because it put the heat in the right place and one felt much warmer at a lower temperature. I am no longer so sure.

  • Philip Proefrock

    Fair questions Lloyd. However, in conventional construction, we run plumbing systems inside floors and walls all the time. Sometimes there are problems, but not so much so that the practice has been abandoned.

    Typically, radiant tubing is a single, continuous piece of PEX tubing, so it’s less prone to failure (unless there is a manufacturing problem with the material itself) than a standard plumbing line with its numerous joints and connections. The PEX connections are typically done at a manifold location which is generally more accessible.

    Thermal lag is more of an issue with radiant systems embedded in concrete. Warmboard shouldn’t have much lag at all. Much like a conventional radiator, it should start giving off heat fairly quickly. It’s just hidden underfloor, rather than being an element in the space. Underfloor installation makes it much more uniform in its

    I don’t think that the water temperatures for a radiant system are likely to ‘cook’ the wood they are running with.

    I’m putting a retrofit radiant system (fastened up from the underside, in the basement, rather than using Warmboard, but since I’m doing it myself, the labor is cheap) into my own house right now, so I’ll have some firsthand experience to report back to you.

  • Philip Proefrock

    Fair questions Lloyd. However, in conventional construction, we run plumbing systems inside floors and walls all the time. Sometimes there are problems, but not so much so that the practice has been abandoned.

    Typically, radiant tubing is a single, continuous piece of PEX tubing, so it’s less prone to failure (unless there is a manufacturing problem with the material itself) than a standard plumbing line with its numerous joints and connections. The PEX connections are typically done at a manifold location which is generally more accessible.

    Thermal lag is more of an issue with radiant systems embedded in concrete. Warmboard shouldn’t have much lag at all. Much like a conventional radiator, it should start giving off heat fairly quickly. It’s just hidden underfloor, rather than being an element in the space. Underfloor installation makes it much more uniform in its

    I don’t think that the water temperatures for a radiant system are likely to ‘cook’ the wood they are running with.

    I’m putting a retrofit radiant system (fastened up from the underside, in the basement, rather than using Warmboard, but since I’m doing it myself, the labor is cheap) into my own house right now, so I’ll have some firsthand experience to report back to you.

  • http://www.warmboard.com Marla Florez

    In many ways Warmboard is a contributor to conservation. Warmboard and the heating system components require very little water to operate. Additionally, the high conductivity of the panel leads to lower water temperatures, creating greater efficiency that ultimately benefits the environment in the form of lower energy bills (typically 20 to 40 percent reduced).

    The combination of Warmboard and solar energy (or geothermal) is an ideal interface because it is easier to produce water temperatures of 100ºF than 120ºF. We live in a time where heat sources in our lifetime will change to renewable resources. Warmboard has the capability to sustain the change, from non-renewable heat resources to alternative ones.

    Additionally, Warmboard contributes to healthy and clean indoor air quality, while providing superior comfort. Germs, dust, pollen and mold spores generally associated with forced air systems do not apply to Warmboard.

    Warmboard was recently selected as a Top Ten Green Building Product of 2007 by Sustainable Industries.

    Marla Florez, Warmboard Inc.

  • http://www.warmboard.com Marla Florez

    In many ways Warmboard is a contributor to conservation. Warmboard and the heating system components require very little water to operate. Additionally, the high conductivity of the panel leads to lower water temperatures, creating greater efficiency that ultimately benefits the environment in the form of lower energy bills (typically 20 to 40 percent reduced).

    The combination of Warmboard and solar energy (or geothermal) is an ideal interface because it is easier to produce water temperatures of 100ºF than 120ºF. We live in a time where heat sources in our lifetime will change to renewable resources. Warmboard has the capability to sustain the change, from non-renewable heat resources to alternative ones.

    Additionally, Warmboard contributes to healthy and clean indoor air quality, while providing superior comfort. Germs, dust, pollen and mold spores generally associated with forced air systems do not apply to Warmboard.

    Warmboard was recently selected as a Top Ten Green Building Product of 2007 by Sustainable Industries.

    Marla Florez, Warmboard Inc.

  • Stephen Dunsmore

    We have a concrete-embedded radiant heat system in our Vancouver home and I am in the process of finishing a Warmboard system in our Manitoulin lakehouse. The layout assistance provided by the Warmboard folks combined with the precise dimensions of the product make this a very easy install. My contractor put down the subfloor without much fuss just as he would have any other subfloor. The tubing install has involved very few tools and is an excellent place for the owner who wants to do some work to get involved. Two days for about 3,000′ of PEX-AL-PEX installation. No chemicals used and the only power tools were a drill and a router.

    As for the water temperature, with the tubing in contact with the finished floor material the water doesn’t need to be much warmer than the room itself so the wood shouldn’t “cook”. The Warmboard system does not have to heat the subfloor at all which is a huge saving.

  • Stephen Dunsmore

    We have a concrete-embedded radiant heat system in our Vancouver home and I am in the process of finishing a Warmboard system in our Manitoulin lakehouse. The layout assistance provided by the Warmboard folks combined with the precise dimensions of the product make this a very easy install. My contractor put down the subfloor without much fuss just as he would have any other subfloor. The tubing install has involved very few tools and is an excellent place for the owner who wants to do some work to get involved. Two days for about 3,000′ of PEX-AL-PEX installation. No chemicals used and the only power tools were a drill and a router.

    As for the water temperature, with the tubing in contact with the finished floor material the water doesn’t need to be much warmer than the room itself so the wood shouldn’t “cook”. The Warmboard system does not have to heat the subfloor at all which is a huge saving.

  • acacttipblime

    Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
    I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
    God will appreciate it.

  • acacttipblime

    Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
    I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
    God will appreciate it.

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