Radiant Cooling

Radiant Cooling in Asia: Real Solutions for Real Problems

Controlling thermal comfort and air quality is challenging, and in many situations is contingent on mitigating environmental factors.

Today, we’ll be talking about the general issues around climate control, specific challenges in Asia, and how one school took advantage of radiant cooling to create an ideal environment for learning.

If you’re struggling to decide what climate control option is best for your next project in Asia or any hot and humid climate, read on to learn more.

How Radiant Cooling Solves Temperature Control and IAQ Issues


Thermal comfort isn’t just about controlling temperature. Indeed, there are six variables that affect thermal comfort:

  1. Air Temperature
  2. Air Velocity
  3. Humidity
  4. Surface Temperature
  5. Activity Level
  6. Clothing Level

Radiant heating and cooling address most of these issues while occupants are responsible for the others, namely activity level and clothing level.

Radiant cooling and heating address some the failures of traditional HVAC systems: poor temperature regulation, poor humidity control and poor air filtration.

A radiant system makes building occupants feel cooler at warmer temperatures. This saves money and energy while addressing thermal comfort.

It’s the goal of designers to create an HVAC system that keeps occupants comfortable. It’s necessary to look at both the regional climate and the mechanisms that relate to human physiology.

Indoor Air Quality and Health

According to a recent study looking at indoor air pollution in South Asia, “mortality rates and incidences of respiratory and non-respiratory diseases were increasing with alarming rates, specifically in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The major cause might be the reliance of approximately 80% population on conventional biomass burning in the region.”

Indoor Air Quality and Health

Regardless of the reasons, there is a serious concern for indoor air quality in Asia. Traditional HVAC is clearly not the answer.

For instance, a radiant system coupled with a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) could prevent the recirculation of polluted indoor air.

So, how do population-dense regions of the world, such as Asia, combat the challenges of a hot, humid climate and poor indoor air quality due to outdated systems?

Let’s talk about the challenges facing Asian countries and what climate control options best address the issues.


Applying Radiant Techniques in Asia: Challenges and Solutions

In Hong Kong alone, a study from Baptist University found that indoor pollution levels were 1,250 percent higher indoors than outdoors.

That number is worse than air beside some Hong Kong’s busiest roads.

As we said before, IAQ is a huge issue that radiant and DOAS are able to address with proper filtration and ventilation.

Clearly, IAQ is an issue, but so is the ability to properly control climate.

Southeast Asia’s climate is tropical. Hot and humid weather all year round along with rainfall is common, and the climate poses a challenge to traditional HVAC systems.

Conventional systems are only able to monitor and regulate air temperature. This results in temperatures that are either too-cool or too-warm due to the inefficient regulation of humidity.

A radiant system, however, regulates sensible heat energy transfer. For that reason, occupants in a radiant cooled or heated space have better perceived thermal comfort.

Ceiling cooling panel radiant cooling

As technology and studies prove once and for all that radiant climate control systems are superior in many ways to an all-air HVAC system, Asia is becoming a leader in green building design.

On the whole, sustainable building practices are estimated to increase in growth by 33 percent per year.

In 2016, six Asian cities topped Solidiance’s white paper “The Top 10 Global Cities for Green Building.”

Why the increase in sustainable building practices in Asia?

There’s no one answer, but demand by consumers and energy savings are top motivators for many companies. In addition to that, becoming world leaders in environmental building practices puts Asia on the map as leaders in business and as stewards of the environment.

Today more than ever, builders and consumers are demanding better building designs that take into account the comfort and health of inhabitants. That’s why one school in Kuala Lumpur partnered with Uponor when building their new campus.


The International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The International School Of Kuala Lumpur

Credit: all images are rendering of ISKL Ampang Hilir Campus, use of images authorized by the International School of Kuala Lumpur.

The International School of Kuala Lumpur has constructed a new campus. Uponor Asia provided the campus with a radiant cooling solution (about 11000 m²).

The school is seated atop 26 acres of green, natural surroundings in the densely populated city.

As one of the world’s best international schools, the campus was designed to meet the needs of children of all ages.

A Prime Example of Green Building

The campus was designed to utilize passive solar design, projected to use 60 percent less energy than average schools in a similar climate.

Design of the buildings features traditional Malaysian architecture along with modern upgrades. Covered walkways are naturally ventilated and visible meters displaying real-time energy consumption serve as a teaching tool.

Uponor’s Radiant Cooling Solution

Uponor Contec PEX-a pipes

The cooled spaces in campus required Contec PEX-a pipes embedded in concrete ceilings and floors to thermally activate slabs in order to discharge cooling loads and night.

The full system functions close to ambient temperature and operates noiselessly.

Due to the discreet installation of the Uponor radiant cooling system, architectural integrity is maintained for unparalleled design freedom.

The school’s exemplary green design strives to obtain a platinum Green Building Index rating.

Uponor Contec System Benefits

Uponor Contec PEX-a pipes

Uponor’s Contec system works seamlessly within the school’s design vision. Here are some reasons builders decided the Contec system was the best solution for climate control:

  • High level of thermal comfort for occupants: Due to the thermally activated building system or, TABS, a silent operation was attainable. Uniform radiation provides a healthy environment for students to learn.
  • Low investment and optimal energy efficiency: The TABS and heat exchangers have a life expectancy of 50+ years with minimal maintenance.
  • Use of renewable energy: TABS works easily with renewable energy from the ground, seawater, sun or air. TABS large surface emitters are low cost and allow for free and extensive cooling.
  • No design restrictions: Due to Uponor’s system design, every product has a low profile that is easily integrated into the concrete of the building’s structure. Therefore, no space is needed as there is with ductwork in all-air systems.
  • Reliability and products you can trust: Uponor’s systems have been installed in over 1000 buildings since the late 1990s. Durable construction has led to its use in buildings worldwide.


Uponor Radiant Heating and Cooling Solutions

Uponor’s radiant heating and cooling solutions offer so much more than a climate control solutions.

For thermal comfort, Uponor’s system creates a silent, well-functioning solution that keeps occupants content.

In the last 35 years, over 4 billion meters of Uponor pipe has been installed in buildings and homes all over the world.

How’s that for reliability?

Lastly, for companies and homeowners seeking energy savings in both system cost and operation, Uponor’s radiant heating and cooling systems are ideal. Don’t forget, this efficiency can be further maximized with the integration of a renewable energy source.



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3 thoughts on “Radiant Cooling in Asia: Real Solutions for Real Problems”

  • Could you provide me an estimated breakdown cost to install hydronic radiant cooling for flooring or ceiling for Singapore public high rise concrete apartment? Like tubing, manifold, heat pump, storage tank, etc. My requirements is 1300 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 1 study room, 1 large open concept living/dining/kitchen, 2 bathrooms. Will there be a problem if there is a restriction of 2 inches for radiant flooring?

  • Marek Plaamus says:

    A good article! Having some projects and years experience I can say that using TABS you can also reduce cooling and heating plant, even up to 40%. Depends much on the configuration of the building and its inhabitants. Also it requires perfect timing of ventilation and cooling/heating.
    Uponor products are great to use, so keep on going 😉

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