December 10 2009

POWERleap Flooring

Radiant Heating: GCS Modular Radiant Flooring Panels

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The laminate flooring is a modular, hydronic radiant floor system which is designed for easy installation, simplified maintenance and energy efficiency. Like most energy efficient radiant floor systems, GCS panels heat space using a network of plastic tubes circulating preheated water (or a glycol/water solution). Think of this system as a grid of pre-milled slots designed to hold the hot water tubes in place under the finished floor. What makes these panels unique is their manageable size, easy installation and energy efficiency.

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GCS Radiant Inc. claims that installation can be done by as few as one person, with a recommendation of two. Each panel is a sandwich of concrete and a plastic substrate molded to receive the hydronic tubing. Units are small enough to be easily handled by installers and are fastened by only four screws. If there are any problems with the hydronic tubes the affected panels can easily be removed (unscrewed) to make repairs. This is not the case with hydronic systems poured into slabs, as the slabs must be cut to reach the tubing.

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Panels are also designed to spread heat evenly within the substrate. The concrete mix in each unit is able to absorb and spread the heat effectively and creates more thermal lag in the space, leading to more even heating and reducing the number of cold areas on the floor where tubing does not occur. The accompanying images show thermal characteristics of the radiant floor units.

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It is encouraging to see material manufacturers submit their products for this type of testing and evaluation. It appears as though GCS Radiant Inc. has allowed data about heat movement in concrete surfaces to affect the design of their units. The result is a modular radiant floor system with the benefits of both and accessible and a poured concrete slab radiant system.

feet POWERleap Flooring is a cool concept. It's the brainchild of Elizabeth Redmond, a 22 year old recent grad from the

University of Michigan School of Art and Design. The glass and concrete tiles use the POWERleap utilizes the phenomena of piezo-electricity [electricity from applied stress] discovered in the 1880's by the Curie Brothers to convert human kinetic energy into a usable power.

As Ms. Redmond states: We have designed a flooring system that will harness your exerted kinetic energy, and use it to generate electricity for us to enjoy. By integrating these interfaces that generate electricity from our daily activities in public and semi-public built environments, each individual will have the ability to generate electricity for their community. Joggers through Central Park would directly power the lights that make it safe for them to jog at night. Through use of energy generating tiles, people are constantly involved in the very activities that create the electricity they need.  Dutifully offsetting their recreational consumption, they?re contributing to the greater energy good.



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