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Issue Background

The Radiant Professionals Alliance

As an association, we regularly work with legislators and policymakers to ensure that the hydronic industry's voice is heard on issues impacting stakeholders in our industry.

The Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA) is a 20-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to the use, promotion, education, codification and certification of water-based hydronic heating and cooling equipment systems. It is comprised of equipment manufacturers, plumbing contractors, mechanical contractors, manufacturers’ representatives, wholesale outlets and code enforcement officials throughout North America. 

What is a radiant or hydronic system?

A hydronic system consists of a boiler or water heater and a delivery system comprised of pipes and fittings, valves, pumps, and a water-to-air heat exchanger. The boiler generates heat by fuel combustion, electrical resistance or through the use of a heat pump.  The steam or hot water is piped to heat exchangers such as baseboard convectors, radiators or fan coil units located in the conditioned space. Hydronic cooling works in essentially the same way as the heating system except that it uses a chiller to remove heat from the water.

Radiant systems circulate hot water through tubes embedded in the floor, from which heat radiates up into the occupied space, similar to the way you feel warmth from the sun on a summer day.

These systems bring tremendous value to home and building owners and operators by improving occupant comfort, environmental health and energy efficiency. Hydronic systems differ from conventional or forced-air systems. A forced-air system distributes the heat produced by the furnace or the coolness produced by a central air conditioner through an electrically powered fan, called a blower, which forces the air through a system of metal ducts to the rooms in your home.

Two thousand years worth of technology

On average, 90 percent of our time is spent indoors.  To enable humans to spend this much time inside, mechanical equipment is necessary to provide space conditioning to control the temperature (heating and cooling), ventilation, humidity and indoor air quality. The Romans built the earliest forms of radiant heating systems more than 2,000 years ago as an effective way to heat their structures. Evidence also suggests that, around the same time, the Turks were cooling their dwellings by tapping cold river water and circulating it through spaces in walls or floors. 

The Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA) is a 20-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to the use, promotion, education, codification and certification of water-based hydronic heating and cooling equipment systems. It is comprised of equipment manufacturers, plumbing contractors, mechanical contractors, manufacturers’ representatives, wholesale outlets and code enforcement officials throughout North America. 

The views and opinions expressed in the news articles below are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Radiant Panel Association or the IAPMO Group.