Howard Chapman, Buildingtalk Editor. Buildingtalk visits the new Zehnder Customer Experience Centre to catch-up with the revolution in indoor comfort for home and workplace – and find out how Swiss motorbikes developed into world-class designer radiators.
Last week I visited the new Zehnder Customer Experience Centre at their UK headquarters in Camberley, Surrey. Besides the welcome hospitality, it proved to be a great briefing on the development of a healthy, comfortable and energy-efficient indoor climate. The Centre uses the building itself to showcase the company’s complete indoor climate for the commercial, domestic and industrial sectors. It also the opportunity to see many products in situ including decorative radiators, radiant heating and cooling ceiling systems, passive house heat recovery ventilation and clean air solutions.
Zehnder’s Swiss roots are in the development early motor bikes – there is a splendid example of their tubular steel frame model in the showroom. It was the market leader when it raced across the Europe in 1922. But then the British indulged their passion for motorbikes, building brands like Brough Superior, Norton and Triumph, with heroes like TE Lawrence embracing the love of fast, daring and sometimes reckless motorbike riding.
Zehnder couldn’t compete but used their expertise in tubular steel to create the world’s first tubular steel radiator. The Centre reveals the story and development of indoor climate solutions in the past from Europe’s first steel radiator in 1930 and the ladder-style towel radiator in the 1980s, as well as looking at
the present (Zehnder invented the first plastic radiator in 2015) and towards the future in modern energy efficient buildings.
Zehnder have also constructed, within the Customer Experience Centre, their ‘Flat 51’, a complete innovative, new, a purpose-built 55m² apartment fitted with the ultimate comfortable indoor climate system for the modern home. For the first time, heating, cooling, ventilation and humidity levels are all managed by one convenient user control. All that is needed is to set the control to the desired comfort temperature; whatever the climatic conditions outside, the system will take care of everything to deliver comfort.
This ground-breaking new approach to achieving a comfortable indoor climate is ideal for modern, airtight buildings and where overheating may now be an issue. The system brings together key building services that currently do not work in synchronicity because they are controlled independently. Zehnder’s new solution ends the traditional conflict between a building’s control systems and occupants over heating and cooling systems and fresh air. No more radiators set on high while the windows are open!
A family of four, living in this typical apartment, can create up to 24 pints of moisture in this home. But in Flat 51, Zehner demonstrate the power of effective humidity control – because in reality it is not possible to be truly comfortable unless atmospheric moisture is controlled. By integrating the latest heating, ventilation and de/humidification technology, Zehnder has found the solution to comfort throughout the year.
Tony Twohig, Managing Director of Zehnder Group UK: “We look forward to welcoming visitors to our new Customer Experience Centre to see our award-winning range of indoor climate solutions and to feel the difference in our innovative new ‘Flat 51’ apartment. Though, of course, the first thing you notice about being comfortable is that you don’t notice anything at all!”
I can recommend a visit to the Zehnder Customer Experience Centre – it’s a ‘cool’ place full of style and invention – and you can experience the quiet comfortable future of energy-efficient indoor climate.
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