UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into optimal personal heater : radiant panel Li, Hui Yang (Sunny); Alexandre, Mariane Hans; Qiu, Steve


This report provides an in-depth analysis on the selection of an optimal radiant panel office space heater to serve as a replacement for the current heaters that are used by the UBC staff. Available models in Great Vancouver were investigated using the triple bottom line analysis. UBC is planning on creating a trade-in program where employees can trade in their current heater for a more energy-efficient model for free, and the cost can be recouped from money saved from electricity bills. The preferred payback period to recoup these costs is under 2 years with the maximum limit at 5 years, as indicated by the project stakeholder, Lillian Zaremba (Climate & Energy Engineer, UBC Campus Sustainability). The methods of investigation for this project consisted of gathering both primary and secondary data. Primary data consists of a survey distributed to 24 participants and testing feedback form from three UBC staff who were selected for testing. The survey participants rated their interest in using a radiant panel at a score of 2.17 out of 4. Secondary sources include peer-reviewed journal articles and online articles. Within the economic aspect of the triple bottom line, the purchase cost, payback period and energy cost savings were evaluated with the assumption that the heater was used for 600 hours per year. This analysis determined that the Cozy Legs (150W) was the best economical choice. The environmental aspect compared energy savings and CO2 emissions, where the two Cozy Legs models provided the most energy and carbon emission. For the social aspect, survey results show that the most important factors in heater selection are safety, low noise, quality, and comfort. The Cozy Legs heaters are safe, silent, and good quality. Testing feedback addresses the comfort level, with one tester providing positive feedback and two testers disliking it. These two testers have very cold offices and only warming their legs and feet was not enough. They require office heaters to heat up the entire room. The final recommendation for UBC is to only offer the Cozy Legs heater to those who require a little warmth in their offices. It is not recommended with people with large, cold offices. UBC can also consider extending its payback period limitation to over 5 years and test the Dayton (650W) model which can offer more heat, or consider other types such as convective heaters, which are designed to output more power. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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