Electro Plastics Inc.
For Electro Plastics Inc., Missouri-based maker of what is now one of the most efficient electric radiant floor heating systems on the market: STEP Warmfloor, success has been a long time coming. Finally, after 20 years of hard work and step-by-step development, STEP Warmfloor is getting the recognition it deserves, drawing attention around the world.
The self-regulating properties of Step Warmfloor’s patented radiant technology, combined with the benefits of heating a room from below, contribute to serious energy savings. In addition, the system’s LEED compliant, low voltage AC/DC heating elements easily connect directly to solar panels to harness additional energy.
“We are now beginning to get recognized by the industry and we have even been invited to help write the codes and standards,” says Monica Irgens, president of Electro Plastics. “We have vast knowledge of ways to be more efficient, but of course, we also get to keep learning and that’s exciting.”
From the ground up
As the industry invites and more readily demands energy efficient methods, STEP Warmfloor has positioned itself as the application of the future. However, this has taken time, according to Irgens.
For the last 30 years the company has been committed to providing sustainable, safe, energy efficient radiant heating solutions with patented heating elements through continuous innovation. Electro Plastics developed the STEP Warmfloor technology in the early 1980s, originating with Stephan Irgens.
“We needed a bigger market, so we moved into the U.S. in 1994,” recounts Irgens. “We now make the entire system from the heating elements to the power supply and controls. We have researched and designed our own manufacturing process right down to individual machines. The product itself is made up of 90 percent recycled material and our manufacturing process is certified green and almost entirely optimized.”
Today, millions of square feet of STEP Warmfloor have been installed throughout the world. The unique polymer heating elements deliver safe, economical heating solutions for a variety of applications, from preventing ice buildup on tug boats in the coldest Alaskan water to keeping electronics running for research in Antarctica to residential homes, commercial buildings and institutions.
“Ultimately, we are the application of the future,” assures Irgens. “We’ve learned that even though you think you have the best product, you must be patient, and now the time we’ve been waiting for has come.”
Today, Electro Plastics is growing on a worldwide scale from France to Italy, Spain to England, Turkey, Brazil, Chile, Australia and all 50 U.S. states. However, the company’s greatest example of STEP Warmfloor at work is right at home in St. Louis.
“Our Electro Plastics headquarters features a LEED registered 35,000-square-foot building as a living laboratory, as proof of the comfort and energy efficiency of STEP Warmfloor,” reveals Irgens. “The entire building is heated only utilizing our radiant floor system.”
STEP Warmfloor is ideal for new buildings looking to be energy efficient and all-around more comfortable, but Irgens points to the product’s unique retrofit capabilities. “STEP Warmfloor is actually quite ideal for renovation projects, because the material is only 1.2 millimeters thin,” she says.
The heating system can be used as the primary heat source of the building, or just for areas with cold floors, such as tile or stone bathrooms and kitchens. It can also be installed when additions are made or the existing heating system is insufficient.
“The heating elements come in a roll and can be cut to the desired length on-site,” explains Irgens. “Because of STEP Warmfloor’s self-regulating properties, the elements can be installed under most floor coverings, including wood, laminate, tile, stone and carpet.”
STEP Warmfloor comes in different sizes and conductivities and the wattage per square foot is calculated according to the element type, spacing between the element strips and voltage. “We have done a range of residential and commercial projects,” says Irgens. “We work with architects and designers to specific the type of STEP Warmfloor for the application.”
STEP Warmfloor was displayed to a massive industry audience at the 2014 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (Greenbuild) in New Orleans where the system was featured in the convention’s net zero designated zone. “We have attended Greenbuild since its inception,” notes Irgens.
The conference has been going strong for 12 years now. “People going to Greenbuild are looking for new products and this has been extremely helpful to our growth in the U.S. and building an audience here,” she adds. “We see it as our opportunity to educate the marketplace. We do total energy cost calculations for customers using electricity produced by solar panels to really show off what we can do.”
Now that the market calls for it, STEP Warmfloor is stepping in and making its mark. Electro Plastics Inc. is looking forward to continued expansion meeting the demands for durable, safe, efficient and more comfortable radiant heating options.
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