The University of Cambridge Maximises Room Space by Removing Radiators

Description: 85 New Build Student Rooms

Project: : St Regis at Clare College, Cambridge University

M&E Consultants: David Bedwell Ltd.

Main Contractors: Cocksedge

ThermaSkirt Profile: Deco BM2


St Regis is the 6th Cambridge University project using ThermaSkirt

The Challenge

When David Bedwell Ltd were instructed to provide the M&E design consultancy on the new build student accommodation St Regis at Clare College, Cambridge University, there wasn’t much speculation as to the most suitable heating solution.

Having specified ThermaSkirt skirting heating on 4 previous projects, including refurbishment projects, Bedwells’ Mechanical Engineer Graham Hill was very happy to specify the product on this new build, 85 bed student accommodation block.

Graham explains;

“Bedwells have specified ThermaSkirt on previous projects for Cambridge Uni, and indeed on healthcare projects and have never had a single issue or complaint.

The ability to lose the radiator and create more useable space is big benefit to the students, and of course we eliminate the risk of accidental damage, and the problem of drying damp clothes in the rooms creating odors or potentially damp”

The Solution


Room space was maximised by eliminating bulky radiators, as well as reducing on-going maintenance and repair costs.

Manufactured in the UK by DiscreteHeat Ltd, ThermaSkirt is a radiant heating system that is designed to replicate a skirting board profile. Made from aluminum, the warm water from the primary heat source passes through integral tubes on the back of the profile. The front face then heats up and radiates heat from a low level all around the room.

This not only has the advantages of providing a very evenly distributed, comfortable heat, it is also very responsive to the rapidly changing heat demands of a student room. With very low water content compared to a radiator or even underfloor heating, it is an ideal emitter for use with renewable energy or centralised heat sources (CHP) as well as conventional boilers.

The Snag

Despite being specified early on in the project, and the 1st fix installed in accordance with the agreed designs, the project hit a snag when last minute on site changes caused the position of the controls to be moved. Graham Hill:

“At the last minute, and after some units had already been installed, it was realised that the controls might clash with some of the furniture layouts and it was decided to move them to another location. We thought this would be a major headache”.


Relocating the TRV control valve was straightforward even after 1st fix pipework was installed.

Moving a radiator and valves would have been a major problem as the 1st fix pipes were already embedded in the wall partitions, but as ThermaSkirt is a continuous run of heating and the feed and return pipes are integral to the profile, it was straightforward to relocate the control point to a more convenient location.

“Fortunately, DiscreteHeat were quickly able to propose a revision to the TRV connection and the controls could be moved with very little fuss. Very useful to know that the system is so flexible.”

The Result

The project was completed in late December 2020, and students moved in almost immediately. As expected the skirting heating is working well and providing a warm and cosy environment without radiators.


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