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Turn up the heat naturally

Yoga Studio uses radiant heating

The ingenious ancient Romans, who warmed their rooms by installing hot air duct systems below their floors, understood the concept that heat transfers from warm objects to cold ones.

Now, a Fredericton, New Brunswick heating company is showing that old concepts can have modern results.

Therma-Ray Inc. is one of only a handful of North American companies offering a full-range of radiant heat systems for commercial and residential buildings – and their products are showing up around the globe.

These home-grown heating systems are being used to heat a hot yoga studio in Los Angeles, the luxury skyboxes of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, a cathedral in Croatia, a grocery store in Lebanon, and even the science labs of McGill University.

While radiant heat has been used in Europe for many years, it’s been a new concept to North Americans since Therma-Ray established in 1985. Now, with 15 employees and a network of independent dealers and agents all over the world, customers from North America, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Croatia, Lebanon and Japan are proving that radiant heat is a comfortable, cost-effective way to heat a home, a business or an office.

“In the summertime, when you go to the beach, what’s warmer, the sand or the air?” asks Kevin Kilbride, president. “The sand — it absorbs the heat from the sun. We do the same thing. It’s just natural physics.”

Rather than continually heating air and pushing it through a series of ducts like a traditional hot air furnace, electric heat radiates from inside the floor or ceiling through a resistance wire embedded in strips of gypsum panel, or from exposed metal heaters that hang from the ceiling.

The advantages?

No chill effects created by drafts, no differences in temperature from room to room, no furnace to take up space in the basement and no warm air hovering at the ceiling while the floors remain cold.

Maintenance costs are minimal and because it’s aesthetically pleasing, it solves a whole host of design problems for architects and engineers.

“Once people have experienced it, they never go back to a hot air system again,” Kevin says.

ACOA has helped Therma-Ray hire consultants to grow sales south of the border.

“They’ve been good supporters of us, especially when it comes to sales and marketing. They’ve been very good that way.”

After a surge in business in the last few years, Therma-Ray is expecting more good things to come – proving that sometimes the best ideas are the ones that have been around the longest.

Published December 16, 2013