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Studholme Road Residence

Heating Type: Radiators, Wood Fire
Heat Source: Wetback, Solar Thermal
Other: Rotex, 3.5kw Solar PV


With sustainable and environmentally-friendly design the brief for this gorgeous new build, it was no surprise when our sole resident client, an architectural designer, reached out with a specific vision. We provided our Total Package service, including heating, plumbing and drainage, and the client requested that a wood range/boiler in the kitchen be a functional part of the heating system. We were able to design an impressive integrated system according to the requested specifications for the brand new 160sq/m home, and we’re excited to showcase the results.


The central heating and domestic hot water system revolves around a 500L thermal store which collects the energy from various sources and disperses the heated water to the central heating (radiators) and domestic hot water. The system energy sources are;

• A wetback from the kitchen wood range
• Solar heating
• An electric element

The kitchen wood fire/boiler produces hot water when the fire is on via the wetback. It contributes considerably towards the heating of the thermal store.

The radiators act as a ‘heat dump’ for the thermal store, so if the fire is on and the thermal store tank gets above 70°c and the hot water is not being used for domestic purposes, the central heating pump will pump water to the radiators, which will come on. The radiators are controlled individually, by the thermostatic radiator valves (TRV’s) located on each radiator. The radiators are adjusted in temperature or turned off completely by the valves. If the radiators are turned off completely (e.g. throughout summer months), the central heating pump circulates the hot water for the central heating system through the bypass, rather than to the radiators.

The solar panels also contribute to the heating of the thermal store during sunlight hours. The solar thermal panels work by collecting heat directly from the thermal panels and transferring it to the hot water cylinder through a flow and return. As the solar thermal panels may bring the thermal
store over 70°c during sunnier months, the radiators will need to be turned off at the individual thermostats to ensure they don’t come on.

The thermal store also has an electric heating element which draws energy from the solar or from the grid to heat water for tank if the other heat sources have not generated enough heat to bring it up to 60°c. If the thermal store is already at the required temperature, any excess power generated by the solar panels will be exported back to the grid and show as a credit on the clients power bill.


To keep the system running at its best, it is important to maintain it well. The maintenance of this system simply requires an annual service by a certified technician and occasional client maintenance.

• Technician maintenance – this is a very low maintenance system, however we recommend a technician checks the overall system operation pre-winter, this costs approximately $200 + GST and includes topping up inhibitor, balancing radiators and checking system pressure. Solar Thermal panels need virtually no maintenance (a glycol check every 5 years is recommended) and Solar PV requires no maintenance.

• Client maintenance – the pressure in the system needs to be kept topped up for the system to operate. Occasionally, this may drop and need to be topped up. This is a 10-minute task, and we provide our clients with a manual specific to their system with instructions on how to do this.


If you’re interested in any of the systems described in this case study, reach out and we can discuss options to help you heat your own home!


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