Factory heating presents many challenges when it comes to finding an energy efficient solution as the buildings are often poorly insulated. The wide range of activities undertaken also require different types of heating to achieve the appropriate levels of thermal comfort for the staff.

In this case, the building had been divided into two offices, a main production area and a staff room. The offices and staff room were heated by wall mounted 2 kW electric convector heaters supplemented with temporary plug-in electric heaters under the desks. The main factory area used a 23 year old 146.6kW oil boiler and hot air blower with a short air ducting system which left many ‘cold-spots’. There was also a significant heat loss through the corrugated sheet roof as the warm air quickly rose to the ceiling without benefiting the staff.

The existing factory heating system was proving to be ineffective and becoming increasingly costly to maintain and run as the boiler’s efficiency (less than 60%) decreased with age.

Factory heating requirements

Due to the poor building fabric and the different activities undertaken across the site, the new factory heating system had to directly heat the occupants (rather than the air) and allow for different heating requirements in each area. For example, in the factory, individual heating zones were required over the work benches to directly warm the staff without wasting valuable energy attempting to heat the unoccupied areas. The dispatch desk (located by the large factory door) was used for short periods and only required heating when occupied. In the offices and staff room, an energy efficient ambient heating solution was required to improve the staff’s thermal comfort and maximise floor space which was needed for desks and filing cabinets.

Effectively controlling the factory heating was an important consideration to optimise the thermal comfort and to ensure as little energy as possible was consumed during its use. This was also a pre-requisite to obtain grant funding (33% of total project cost) from the European Regional Development Fund, specifically allocated by Low Carbon Workspaces to enable small and medium sized businesses to improve the energy efficiency of their premises.

An efficient factory heating solution

By using a range of ETHERMA’s ingenious infrared products, each with a different infrared wavelength, the various factory heating requirements could be accommodated.

In the factory area, Wireless Heated Infrared Zones (WHIZs) with suspended ETHERMA EZ-2000 medium-wave infrared heaters were used to directly heat the operatives at the work stations. The WHIZ systems were controlled by a manual on/off switches and motion sensors to avoid them being left on by mistake.

Over the Dispatch Desk a Solamagic short-wave infrared heater was used to provide immediate spot heating, controlled by a manually activated timer so it was only on when the desk was in use.

In the Purchasing Office a wall mounted LAVA Basic 1000DM long-wave infrared panel was used, whilst in the Sales Office ETHERMA TC-300 long-wave infrared panels were slotted into the suspended ceiling grid. Installing the infrared heating within the ceiling grid provided a discrete installation and ensured the optimum distribution of heating throughout the space, avoiding cold spots and keeping the walls and floor space free.

Efficient heating controls

Precise control of a heating system is crucial to ensure occupancy comfort, save operating costs and avoid wasting energy. Consequently, the Purchasing Office heating was controlled by a wireless programmable thermostat which simplified the installation process and the sales office heating by an eTOUCH-eco wall mounted programmable thermostat.

Carbon Saving Certificate

In the staff room, the wall mounted LAVA Basic DM infrared panel was controlled by a plug-in programmable thermostat.

Overall a total 158.6 kW of convection heating was replaced with 15.45 kW of infrared heating. This 90% reduction in the heating load reduced the weekly heating cost by £332 and the business’s annual carbon footprint by 13.17 tonnes (included LED lighting). The WHIZ systems delivered an 80% reduction in heating costs in the factory area.

Our new infrared heating has gone down very well with our staff and in particular the accounts department!

Louise Banks, Director, AJB Foams

Factory heating solution in detail

Over the work stations in the factory, the six WHIZ systems used ETHERMA EZ-2000 double panel infrared heaters suspended from the steel purlins at a height of 3.5m to create localised heat zones. The Dispatch Desk utilised a SOLAMAGIC Low Glare ECO+ 2000 heater. This short-wave infrared heater is designed for commercial use and converts the maximum amount of energy to heat whilst simultaneously reducing the light emission by over 90 % compared to conventional heating tubes. The heater was controlled by a timer switch, rather than a thermostat, as they are used to provide spot-heating not ambient heating.

In the Purchasing Office one LAVA Basic 1000DM infrared panel was controlled by wireless ET-14A programmable thermostat. Whilst in the Sales Office, the infrared heating system comprised of 9 ETHERMA Thermocassette TC-300W infrared panels (2.7kW) evenly distributed across the 40m2 suspended ceiling. The panels were directly controlled by a hard-wired eTOUCH-eco programmable thermostat which can switch up to 16 Amps or 3.8 kW of heating.

ETHERMA EZ infrared heaters

ETHERMA EZ 2000 Infrared Heater

The EZ model is intended for total and supplementary heating as well as protection against cold draughts from windows in environments such as, department stores, assembly halls, industrial premises etc. The infrared heaters give a soft, pleasant heat and individual comfort can be created with spot and zone heating, ideal for heating areas with high ceilings. They also provide excellent protection against cold draughts from windows. No moving parts mean a maintenance-free, silent system that does not cause air movements and created a hygienic indoor climate where the spread of dust, bacteria or odours is reduced.

Ceiling mounting or suspending the infrared heaters gets the heat exactly where it is needed, increases safety and leaves the walls free for shelving etc. They give instant heat and the room temperature can be reduced with maintained comfort.

  • Voltage: 230, 400V
  • Output: 800 – 3600W
  • Max. element temp.: 340ºC
  • Colour: Traffic white, RAL 9016; EZ-3600 galv. steel panel
  • Mounting height: 2.5m – 9m
  • Protection rating: IP 44
  • Permanent connection
  • Approval: SEMKO, CE compliant

SOLAMAGIC ECO+ Low Glare infrared heaters

Solamagic ECO+ Low Glare 2000W 

The Solamagic ECO+ low glare short-wave infrared heater is designed for commercial use. It is distinguished by the simplest installation and a highly efficient reflector (ECO+), which optimizes the illuminated surface. The body is made of premium quality aluminium and is available in three colours.

The innovative Solastar heating system converts the energy used in a maximum of heat around, with simultaneous reduction the light emission by over 90% compared to conventional Heating tubes, which is perceived as particularly pleasant.

  • Power: 2000 W
  • Nominal voltage: 230V, 50/60 Hz
  • Heating tube: Infrared halogen lamp
  • Colour options: White, titanium, nano-anthracite
  • Connection: Connector cable 180cm
  • Assembly: Ceiling, wall, tripod
  • Heated area: Up to 16m²
  • Protection class: IP 24
  • Certification: TÜV Nord

ETHERMA Thermocassette


Suitable for ceiling heights up to 3.5m, the ETHERMA TC-300 provides a discreet heating solution where suspended ceilings have been installed. The panels are ideal for either full or spot heating solutions and the mounting system means they form an integral part of the ceiling grid.

Far infrared heaters give a soft, pleasant heat and provide excellent protection against cold draughts from windows and doors. No moving parts mean a silent system which is perfect for offices and the reduced convection currents create a stable indoor environment where the spread of dust, bacteria or odours is reduced.

The TC heaters require a minimum of maintenance. Ceiling mounting leaves the walls and floors free and increases safety. They give instant heat and directly warm the occupants which means the room temperature can be reduced whilst maintaining the desired comfort level.

  • Very high proportion of radiation
  • Large infrared emitting surface
  • Lightweight design for easy ceiling mounting
  • Pleasant room climate thanks to comfortable infrared radiant heat
  • Magnetic field & maintenance free
  • In-ceiling mounting

LAVA Basic DM panels

LAVA Basic DM Infrared Panel

The LAVA Basic DM is suitable for heating from the wall or ceiling. Ceiling mounting allows for discreet heating in offices, bathrooms, dance studios, schools, etc. The panel is a 22 mm flat infrared radiant heater characterised by its uniform infrared heat and aesthetics.

Mounted on the ceiling the heaters are ideally suited for full heating or zone heating. Ceiling mounting allows optimal use of the area and avoids any wear and tear to the panels.

  • Lightweight design – Easy ceiling mounting
  • Large infrared emitting surface
  • Maintenance free and magnetic field free
  • High proportion of infrared radiation
  • 350, 750 and 1500 W suitable for suspended ceilings
  • Also suitable for wall mounting

Wireless Programmable Thermostat (ET-14A)

Wireless Controls simplify the installation process

Radio-controlled thermostats avoid complex elevation and plaster work for cable routing and allow easy installation of heaters.

The receivers are controlled with the ET-14A radio thermostat, which can control up to 10 ET-111A radio receivers. The ET-14A has a programmable week program, frost protection function, manual mode and On/OFF function.

  • Large, illuminated LCD display
  • 5 Operating modes (Comfort, reduction, frost protection, AUTO, OFF)
  • Week and day programming
  • Battery level indicator
  • Open window detection (in combination with ET-14A-FK)
  • Ecodesign guidelines compliant
  • Adaptive start-up control

eTOUCH-eco wireless programmable thermostat

eTOUCH-eco Programmable Thermostat
  • Easy menu navigation
  • 4 programmes: Home, office, timer and heating
  • Self-learning function
  • Energy consumption indicator
  • Switching from summer to winter time is completely automatic
  • Switchable between output control, underfloor, room or combi thermostat
  • Temperature drop detection
  • Eco-design guidelines compliant

Download case study

  • Project Type: Factory heating
  • Client: AJB Foams
  • Location: Birmingham
  • Products Installed: ETHERMA EZ2000, LAVA Basic-DM infrared panels, Thermocassette Infrared panels, Solamagic ECO+ Low Glare, ET-14A, eTOUCH-eco