Cambridge turns up the heat

One of Cambridge Uni’s oldest purpose-built student residences has undergone refurbishment to bring it up to 21st C standards

The need to update university accommodation at Cripps Court and create clean and comfortable living spaces for the 200 student tenants was combined with the desire to become a more energy-efficient building. Discrete Heat’s ThermaSkirt heating system was used in order to provide a cost-effective alternative to traditional heating systems.

Heating such a large building with many individual rooms results in hefty energy bills. Combined with the lengthy instalment process that traditional systems entail, this gave enough reason for the architects to look into the alternative that ThermaSkirt provides. Pitched against the proposed panel radiators, Discrete Heat’s ThermaSkirt was found to offer better energy efficiency and space saving as well as installation advantages.

The combining of the skirting board and radiator into one unit allows for quicker installation times due to the saving of over 2.4 km of pipework that would be necessary if using a traditional radiator and skirting system. Health and safety queries were addressed due to the low-profile nature of ThermaSkirt and its secure fixing to the wall. Both of these features allow it to be a hardy and practical heating system that is resilient to the exuberant student environment with which it has to cope.

After a day’s on-site training the contractors, Munro Building Services, were able to complete up to 12 rooms a day with a four-man team. Andy Maltby of Munro Building Services commented: “ThermaSkirt was a quick and simple to install retrofit that enabled us to easily navigate around the contours of the rooms while freeing up wall space that would otherwise be taken up by radiators, allowing for maximum use of the walls within the facilities. Having installed successfully on time and on budget, I would happily work with the ThermaSkirt product again.”

The reduction in fuel bills is mirrored in the £4,000’s worth of copper pipe work and joints that were saved, and with no need to paint the skirting after fitting, labour costs are further reduced. Maintenance costs are also low compared to those of radiator systems and ThermaSkirt’s engineering allows it to be accessed easily if repairs are required.

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