Preserving the heritage of listed buildings along the North Shields Fish Quay is proving an important project for which innovative methods are needed to maintain character while introducing modern standards of comfort. A prime example is the installation of a Giacomini underfloor heating system in the Smokehouses, during its conversion into modern commercial premises.
Paul Gouldsbrough, the Building Services Engineer at North Tyneside Council responsible for the Smokehouses development, had the task of selecting the system and contractor on a cost basis tender, considering both installation and lifetime running costs.
“An underfloor heating system was a natural choice for this listed building, where the original brickwork construction could not be drilled for fixing the likes of radiators and pipework”, says Paul. “After careful consideration of the options, I specified a system using Giacomini components installed by a specialist contractor to provide the most cost effective result.”
All of the ground floor area is heated with underfloor heating. However, the building is split over two floors for occupation by two different users. The first floor is heated conventionally, using radiators, with the entrance hall to the first floor using underfloor heating. This created an initial problem, neatly overcome by a Giacomini product.
Because the radiator circuit would be run at 80ºC the radiator system would not be compatible with the underfloor system. The solution was to install a Giacomini mixing manifold on this circuit, to regulate the flow water temperature and keep it at 50ºC for the first floor lobby, which is all that is required for the underfloor system.
This example also shows that significant savings in fuel costs can be made as the direct result of the underfloor heating being run at appreciably lower temperatures than radiator systems. This has an additional impact at Smokehouses, where a reduction in energy usage is delivered by coupling the underfloor system to high efficiency condensing boilers, which, by running at lower temperatures, condense for greater periods of time during operation.
Further benefits of clear wall and floor spaces also make for more flexible use of the interior environment, while always maintaining a comfortable air temperature without those uncomfortable hot and cold spots associated with high temperature convection.
Smokehouses is a building that has seen many changes over the years. While its outer fabric maintains an historic profile, look within and you will find the comforts expected of a modern commercial premises, created through the vision of North Tyneside Council and the efficiency of Giacomini underfloor heating.