In recent years many types of radiant systems have been installed in buildings. Meanwhile, practitioners debate on which thermal inertia of radiant systems fit better and which control strategies should be better in buildings, depending on the insulation level and thermal inertia of the structures. In particular, in new and retrofitted buildings, where the envelope presents high levels of insulation, it is argued if it is better to have low or high inertia radiant systems for controlling the indoor operative temperature and avoid overheating, especially in mid-seasons when the outdoor temperature is mild and solar radiation is high. For this purpose a room with three types of insulation level has been analysed combining different types of structures (masonry, and light and timber walls) and three types of radiant systems (classic wet floor, dry floor, and ceiling). Two operation modes have been simulated: fixed supply temperature and variable temperature according to the outdoor temperature. The results looked at the embedded and control efficiency, the energy performance in case of coupling with a water to water heat pump and the long-term possible overheating analysis. The embedded and control efficiency in dynamic conditions has been evaluated and compared with different possible definitions, in particular with steady state conditions, former EN15316-2-2007, and current EN15316-2-2017. New values for the current standard are suggested based on the results of this work, since the former and existing values overestimate the seasonal losses of floor and radiant systems in heating conditions. The paper shows that working at variable temperature according to the outdoor air temperature leads to longer operation time. The temperature, on average, lowers, and coupling the radiant system with a water to water heat pump leads to lower consumptions in the case of variable supply temperature compared to fixed supply temperature over the season. The seasonal coefficient of performance of the whole system, i.e. the heat pump and auxiliary pumps, leads to overall lower energy consumption in the case of variable supply temperature. The simulations did not show any relevant problem of discomfort from December to February. Overtemperature effects in terms of operative temperatures over the dead band of the control systems are not especially due to the radiant system, but they also occur in any case with ideal convective systems. The paper demonstrates that in general the radiant floor systems perform better than radiant ceilings in heating conditions and there is no evidence that dry floor systems perform better than wet screed systems in all the types of buildings regardless of the level of insulation and thermal inertia.
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