Steam-heat radiator retrofit controls heat and cuts emissions

Manufacturers of radiators today may well adhere to the strict energy regulations that ensure they don’t waste heat, but there are still many buildings stuck with outdated systems. We’ve seen EcoRad embark on repurposing old cast-iron models for use with electric heat, and now Radiator Labs has created a retrofit for steam-based radiators that helps distribute heat more evenly around buildings, saving energy in the process.

Those living in older steam-heated buildings will know how inefficient the systems are, experiencing cold temperatures when the boiler is off and unbearably heat when it is on. Considering some apartment complexes have just one boiler controlling the whole system, that’s a lot of people having to put up with temperature swings. The Radiator Labs solution is an insulated cover that can be placed over the typical steam-heated radiator, which stops heat from immediately filling the room. A sensor fitted to the cover acts as a thermostat – when it detects that the room is too cold, the trapped heat is released via a fan located on the side of the cover. According to Marshall Cox, who created the device while studying for a PhD at Columbia University, the system would help reduce carbon emissions from steam-based radiators and save money for owners if implemented.

Cox’s former university has provided funds to help bring the radiator enclosure to market, and the company will be seeking further backing via crowdfunding once the prototype has been perfected in the fall. Are there other outmoded technologies that could be retrofitted to save throwing them on the scrapheap?


Spotted by: Tracy Chong

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