Selfbuilder Has Heat Pump Success in this Eco New Build

Description: Self Build

Client: James Martin

Heating System: Samsung 16Kw Air Source Heat Pump & Thermal Store

ThermaSkirt Profile: Urban LT


The Martin Family Home includes a host of Energy Efficient Measures including ASHP & ThermaSkirt

The Challenge

When energy infrastructure engineer James Martin opted to build his own forever home, as you might expect he did a lot of research into the most efficient heating solutions and drew up a detailed specification.

One of his primary objectives was to optimise the use of an Air Source Heat Pump to provide heating and hot water cost effectively.

James explains:

“I work in the energy business so know that primary fuel costs are inevitably going to rise. So the first priority was to build one of the most highly insulated and airtight houses in Cambridgeshire but high tech systems are subtly concealed within quality, traditional materials. We used brick and block; copious modern insulating materials in thick walls, floors and roofs; mahogany framed triple glazed windows and solid 18mm thick natural oak parquet floors on the upper 2 storeys of the 3 storey house.”

“Heat pumps usually need underfloor heating to bring enough warmth into the room at their lower circulating water temperatures. However real wood parquet is not compatible with underfloor heating because it will move and warp. I also knew that the physics of heat transfer means that even an artificial laminate or carpeted floor would slow the responsiveness of underfloor heating. That would waste precious energy by forcing us to keep rooms at a steady comfortable temperature even when unoccupied. So I searched for an underfloor heating alternative.”

Top of the rather short list of options was ‘ThermaSkirt – the skirting board that heats your home’

The Solution

ThermaSkirt is an aluminium radiant panel, disguised as a skirting board profile. Available in a ‘wet’ central heating version as well as direct electric, when warm it uses infra-red to radiate heat into the occupied space. Combining the radiator and skirting board in one, not only saves space, it can also save cost as it effectively provides two building elements in one.

James goes on:

“I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it before but reading all the specifications it made perfect sense. Its aluminium for a start so it’s more effective at emitting heat than a steel radiator, it distributes the heat all around the room from low level, and the surface area means it can run at lower temperatures. Plus, as its above the flooring, I could choose whatever finish I liked and it would work just as well’”.

In the Cambridgeshire home, James opted for a Samsung 16KW air-to-water heat pump, combined with their thermal store that can take heat energy from a variety of sources if required.


The Samsung Air Source Heat Pump & Thermal Store can modulate down to 35°C

The Result

The house was completed in 2016 and has been reliably warm and cosy through 4 winters. With UFH on the ground floor under ceramic tiles, and ThermaSkirt on the upper two floors, James believes he has found the optimum solution.

“Because the ThermaSkirt responds so quickly on & off, we avoid problems such as overheating which might be a problem if the whole house was UFH. If we don’t need the heating on upstairs, the thermostats in each room ensure the rooms are off and only respond when the heat is actually needed. Because the heat source is not buried in a thermal mass, the upstairs rooms heat up really quickly drawing straight from the Samsung heat storage – in minutes not in the hours we find it takes our UFH on the ground floor.”


ThermaSkirt works as well under any floor finish, in this case laminate flooring

Having installed the ThermaSkirt himself, James is a fan of the product, and has recently taken delivery of another batch for a new project; an apartment unit he was redeveloping to rent out.

“I opted for the electric version, which was really easy to fit, and ideal for the apartment which originally had storage heaters. Having lived with the ThermaSkirt for 4 years now, if I was going to do anything differently I would probably fit it throughout and not just upstairs.”


ThermaSkirt is effectively a radiant panel and can be controlled by a variety of means; in this case a manifold.


DiscreteHeat Company Limited
1 Victoria Works Industrial Estate
Coal Pit Lane, Atherton
Manchester, M46 0FY

 01942 88 00 60

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