Innovation That Matters

Old cast-iron radiators, transformed for electric heat

Property & Construction

It’s increasingly common to see reclaimed goods transformed for other purposes—sailing dhows into furniture, for example, or banners into bags. What’s less frequently seen are efforts that preserve the essential functionality of the original goods. British Specialbike is one such instance, and now Canadian EcoRad provides another by transforming old cast-iron radiators into eco-minded electric heat systems. Cast iron radiators are often seen as remnants of outdated hot-water or steam-based heating systems, and so are frequently scrapped by homeowners updating their homes. Radiators’ heavy thermal mass, however, makes them ideal conductors of electric radiant heat, a much more energy-efficient alternative. EcoRad uses an environmentally friendly process to restore and preserve the beauty of old radiators while converting them for use with electric radiant heat. A specially manufactured internally installed electric element replaces the extensive water piping system needed for a central furnace; in addition, each radiator is connected to a programmable thermostat that allows the temperature of each room to be controlled individually for additional efficiency. The company’s process uses 99 percent recycled materials, and by recycling old radiators rather than melting them down, 44kg of greenhouse gases are kept out of the atmosphere for every 100kg of melted cast iron. The resulting unit is used much like an electric baseboard heater, EcoRad says. An assortment of finishes are available, and conversion takes four to eight weeks. EcoRad’s pricing begins at CAD 475 for transforming an old radiator; alternatively, it also offers a line of already-refurbished ones, featuring styles dating back to 1850, starting at CAD 695. Offering myriad eco-benefits along with a way to preserve old homes’ architectural heritage, EcoRad is an excellent example of green-minded innovation. One to partner with or emulate in other chilly parts of the world…? (Related: Community-focused deconstruction & salvage.) Spotted by: R.P.



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