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Comparative study of the profitability of different residential heating methods: Heat4all infrared #1

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Scope of the study

The study was conducted in May 2019 by the Austrian engineering company GENIO BAUPHYSIK gmbhwww.genio.gmbh (Gebäude – Energie – Innovation).

This company specialises in independent studies of thermal engineering that make particular use of dynamic numerical simulations, at the forefront of current technologies. The study follows the efficiency evaluation request of Heat4all infrared heaters made by the European construction giant STRABAG.

The study focuses on the analysis of a block of 6 residential apartments located in the south of Austria.

Objectives of the study: thermal + economical

The objective of this study is to compare the energy efficiency and the economic profitability of the main heating systems of the housing currently on the market.

The heating methods compared are:

  • Heat4All infrared heating (Austrian leading manufacturer of infrared heaters in Europe). Wall installation.
  • Air/water heat pump + hydraulic underfloor heating. Wall installation.
  • Low temperature water radiators. Wall installation.
  • Water radiators (fan coil unit). Wall installation.

Assumptions (summary) of the material used are as follows:

  • Heat4all Infrared Heaters having, inter alia, the leading radiation rate on the European market (71% of radiation). Data from the scientific study conducted by the University ITW (institut für thermodynamik und wärmetechnikde) of Stuttgart (Germany) in 2016. Since then, the Heat4all heaters have become even more effective. To know more: www.heat4all.com
  • Water/air Heat Pump of latest generation with a real basic COP of 3.62 corresponding to a well calibrated high quality equipment.
  • Water Underfloor Heating.
  • Low Temperature Water Radiators. The energy to heat the water being supplied by a heating system (district heating).
  • Fan coil water convector heaters (fan coil). The energy to heat the water being supplied by a heating system (district heating). The unit has its own heat exchanger, filter, fan and controller.
  • Heating with wood does not take part of the scope of the study.

Calculation Assumptions

The building features are:

  • Location: Austrian typical weather conditions (minimum -15°C in winter)
  • 3 bedroom apartment (4 occupants) of 90 m2.
  • Latest standards (2019) in terms of thermal and acoustic insulation (materials and glazings) – OIB-RL-6/2015.
simulation dynamique chauffage infrarouge

Thermal results (flow) calculated by the dynamic simulation is based on the following data:

  • Technical features of the building (geometry, insulation, construction materials, characteristics of glazings, orientation, shading, air ventilation, etc.).
  • Climate data (outside temperature, wind intensity and penetration into the building, solar gain according to the orientation, etc.).
  • Energy data related to heating equipments used (radiant and convective characteristics, taking into account the operative temperature, etc.).
  • Occupants data (variable occupancy rate based on the daytime, comfort temperature according to the standards, energy inputs related to the occupation and activity, clothing-related parameters).

These data provide a baseline of parameters that is varied day and night throughout the heating season (15/10-15/04) in order to collect the equivalent consumption of heat emitters.

Thermal Balance

simulation dynamique chauffage infrarouge heat4all

The Heat4all heater features are as follows:

  • Living room: 1000W
  • Master bedroom: 600W
  • Bedroom 1: 600W
  • Bedroom 2: 600W
  • Bathroom: 350W

The fan coil features with district heating:

  • Living room: 1120W
  • Master bedroom: 695W
  • Bedroom 1: 695W
  • Bedroom 2: 695W
  • Bathroom: 695W
ventilo-convecteur à eau de reseau de chaleur

The water radiators features (+ district heating) are as follows:

  • Living room: 1200W
  • Master bedroom: 600W
  • Bedroom 1: 600W
  • Bedroom 2: 600W
  • Bathroom: 535W
radiateur eau reseau de chaleur
chauffage sol + pompe à chaleur

The underfloor heating coupled with a heat pump features are as follows:

  • Living room: 1126W
  • Master bedroom: 528W
  • Bedroom 1: 505W
  • Bedroom 2: 492W
  • Bathroom: 189W
bilan énergétique multi énergies

Results of independent comparative study of multi-heating solutions

The economic comparison calculations between different heating solutions are based on the following financial calculation standards:

  • ONORM M 7140
  • Present value method
  • Gross cost

Cost of Kwh of electricity 0.165€

Cost of Kwh of district heating energy: 0.09€

methode de calcul simulation financiere

Results of independent comparative study of multi-heating solutions 2019

heat4all cheapest economic heating solution

Click on the image to see the details


  • The heating solution by electric infrared heaters is not the most economical solution if one takes into account only the cost of energy. In that case it is the heat pump which takes the lead.
  • However, if we take into account the global costs (initial capital investment, operating costs, maintenance costs, etc.) the HEAT4ALL electric heating by infrared is the most economic solution (-8%) of all the solutions studied (representative of the current market).
  • Of course, the result is directly related to the intrinsic performances of the heaters of the Austrian manufacturer, leader in Europe. Infrared heaters of lower quality cannot in any case provide such results.

Clarification on the calculation assumptions:

  • The room thermostat taken into account in the heating solution by infrared has basic technical characteristics. More efficient thermostats could improve the results of the infrared by few %.
  • Heat pump: The COP (Coefficient of performance) used for the heat pump corresponds to a high-end material early in life. The equipment depreciation costs were calculated on the basis of a block of 6 apartments. Also, in the case of a single apartment equipped by the heat pump alone, the costs would have been higher.