News How to Heat a Maintenance Aircraft Hangar with Nor-Ray-Vac Energy Efficient Radiant Heating from AmbiRad

How to Heat a Maintenance Aircraft Hangar with Nor-Ray-Vac Energy Efficient Radiant Heating from AmbiRad

Appreciative to being open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on worldwide operations, RAF Brize Norton is as busy as ever and is home to the entire RAF’s Strategic and Tactical Air Transport (AT) and Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) forces. The heating and ventilation (HVAC) solution provided by Nortek Global HVAC created high levels of energy efficiency resultant in the vast cost savings desired. 

In the future, as has been the case in the past, RAF Brize Norton will continue to play its part on the world stage, providing support and relief wherever it is most needed. With RAF bases typically situated on exposed sites the rapid response to changing conditions when hangar doors are opened required heating system which was highly efficient, offered rapid heat recovery times and promised considerable cost savings over its life cycle was ideal; AmbiRads’ Nor-Ray-Vac system fits the challenging requirements of heating a hangar having being used extensively across many civilian and military hangars, including two previous installations at RAF Brize Norton – Air Tanker Hangar and C-130J Hangar.

The previous installation at Base Hangar was considered to be very in-efficient; seeing a cost of £327K on gas for its warm air units in 2004, rising to £400K by 2006 and to £800K by 2012. The unsustainable situation needed to be tackled as economy and effectiveness are the two key factors when selecting a heating system for an aircraft hangar.

An aircraft hangar environment is too hostile for some forms of heating. Warm air heating, for example, would not be an appropriate solution. The system would not only consume fuel attempting to heat the entire volume of air in the hangar, but the temperature stratification would be enormous. This volume of warm air would then only be replaced instantly with colder external air when the doors are open to allow aircraft movement in and out, bearing in mind that many aircraft maintenance operations occur at night.

Blanket heat coverage is therefore a prerequisite in aircraft hangars. The ideal heating system – one which answers the prime requirements for economy and effectiveness – will be capable of heating the complete hangar area, but it should also be capable of being zoned by design to heat specific areas for when and where necessary.

Radiant tube heating answers all these needs. It is one of the most energy efficient forms of space heating available; it burns fuel (natural gas or LPG) at the point of use so there is no loss of efficiency in distributing heat around the building. Most importantly in the case of aircraft hangars, the warmth from the radiant system felt by personnel is less affected by cold air influx through doors opening and closing, but also the ability of the heating system to rapidly respond to changing conditions is paramount.

Nortek worked closely with RAF Brize Norton, and SSE contracting who installed the HVAC solution, to achieve uniform blanket heat coverage minimising any cold spots, creating zoning capabilities throughout the hangar to achieve considerable fuel economies. Not only does the AmbiRad Nor-Ray Vac solution deliver real flexibility, it generates cost reductions reaching a potential 75% in savings over the previous warm air system.

“Following the installation of the new AmbiRad Nor-Ray-Vac radiant heating system into Base Hangar at RAF Brize Norton the complexion of the environment has changed significantly. The improved heating in conjunction with a program of refurbishment has transformed Base Hangar into a more welcoming and pleasant working environment for the different users of the facility. I am sure also that RAF Brize Norton will see a significant heat efficiency saving from Base Hangar which will not only see running costs reduced which is good for the taxpayer but also there will be benefits to the environment also." Chief Technician David Craven GCGI MinstLM, Base Hangar Operations Manager, RAF Brize Norton.

When designing a AmbiRad Nor-Ray-Vac system, Nortek Global HVAC considers the following criteria:

·         Heat loss of the building for the required thermal environment

·         Local climate conditions

·         The type of activity conducted within the building

·         Specific architectural features relating to the structure

Installation Summary:

·         AmbiRad Nor-Ray-Vac continuous radiant tube system

·         Uniform blanket heat coverage

·         Highly efficient with rapid heat recovery times

·         Zoning capabilities

·         Operative temperatures 20˚C

·         Potential savings of 75% equivalent to 2,170 metric tonnes of CO²

Technical Summary:

·         Product: AmbiRad Nor-Ray-Vac system installed at 15.5m above finished floor level.

·         Heaters: 102 x 46LR Nor-Ray-Vac burners in 24 Zones and 12 Discharge Fans


Project start date May 2014

Project End date May 2015

Related Files

AmbiRad Nor-Ray-Vac Sales Brochure
AmbiRad Nor-Ray-Vac Sales Brochure
AmbiRad Nor-Ray-Vac Technical Manual
AmbiRad Nor-Ray-Vac Technical Manual
RAF Brize Norton - Base Hangar
A Nor-Ray-Vac installation at RAF Brize Norton - Base Hangar to improve on its energy efficiency.

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