Achieving sustainability with flame technology to enhances human comfort

According to recent research, the main challenge for architects and designers today is reducing costs (64%). This is unsurprising in today’s economic climate, but other challenges also include keeping up with innovations (48%), health and safety (41%) and improving building efficiencies (38%).  And many of these challenges drive behaviour, with 79% of respondents avoiding using flame in their projects for these reasons.

However, these same architects and designers also place aesthetics as their highest priority when designing a building. They acknowledge that flame installations can help to achieve this by creating a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere (58%), and helping to achieve aspirational spaces (46%). Indeed, this is sentiment is echoed by research scientists in Japan who have proved that watching flame movements enhances levels of human comfort and satisfaction.

These are convincing arguments in favour of flame. Especially for architects and designers creating spaces in the hospitality sector where the desired outcome is to make guests feel welcome, comfortable, and encourage them to linger as long as possible. The question is how to achieve this and overcome the challenges around safety and efficiencies, as well as sustainability.

Meeting the challenges

Flame technology is extremely flexible in terms of where it can be located. Because electric fires don’t need a working chimney or flu, they can be installed anywhere within a room and without the need for expensive modifications.

Additionally, while placing a real fire in the middle of a room, especially in a public space, leads to safety concerns, flame technology negates this. Because electric fires don’t produce a real flame, there is no chance of injury or of starting a fire unintentionally.

Electric fires also have low running costs and are 100% efficient at the point of use. Therefore, when the low amounts of electricity required to run them come from renewables, sustainability targets around net zero carbon emissions and nearly zero energy buildings (nZEB) are met.

Achieving sustainability with flame technology to enhances human comfort

And, the advancement in flame technology means that opting for an electric flame installation doesn’t mean a compromise on design when compared to real flame.

Creating authentic spaces

Three-dimensional flame technology is much more realistic than a two-dimensional effect as it uses mirrors which gives the perception that logs within the fire bed are behind the flames. A smoke effect can also be created with a transducer which agitates water to create a mist. This can be done by using a cassette or plumbing directly into the building’s water supply.

The amount of mist, type of flame, type of fuel bed and heating outputs can be adjusted to requirements. And, if required, audio can be added to give a crackling effect — all of which adds to the illusion of a real fire without the challenges.

Sustainable design without compromise

The built environment is currently undergoing changes, many of which relate to government sustainability targets around reduced CO2 emissions. While these will have a dramatic effect on how buildings are constructed and used in the future, aesthetics and ‘creature comforts’ will still be important in creating both residential and commercial spaces.

Electric flame technology has the ability to address these requirements safely, efficiently and sustainably.

Achieving sustainability with flame technology to enhances human comfort


By Jonathan Smith, product marketing manager flame technology, Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation