The sustainable energy revolution is defined by its potential to change Britain’s homes and businesses for the better – but its effects aren’t necessarily restricted to boosting heating efficiency and trimming bills. With this in mind, we were delighted to carry out work recently with a local Dundee company: the award-winning McIntyres Hairdressing, on a project showcasing the wide variety of positive effects energy-efficient changes create in business and retail environments.
The McIntyres project was about maximising heat efficiency and offering the company a greater degree of control over the temperature of their salons. After a short period of assessment, it became apparent the best way to achieve both of these goals was through infrared heating. One of infrared technology’s greatest strengths is its flexibility: slim IR heating panels are quick and easy to install, fit snugly on almost any wall space and can be printed with designs that match the surrounding decor. The latter point is a crucial factor for brand-conscious retail organisations – especially those, like McIntyres, in the hair and beauty industries.
Does My Salon Look Good in This?
The project posed a variety of interesting and specific challenges. As three-time winners of Scottish Hairdresser of the Year, McIntyres’ standards of customer care and comfort were of paramount importance – and work had to be carried out in a way that minimised disruption to daily business. There was McIntyres’ commercial and public image to consider – the efficiency measures we took needed to ‘fit’ their style and hairdressing philosophy – and be a seamless transition for customers.
Beyond these aesthetic and operational challenges, the salon’s constantly fluctuating heat levels were also a high priority concern: people were entering and exiting the salon frequently and high-power hair dryers were being turned on and off throughout the day. We needed to create an unobtrusive, efficient heating solution that could react quickly to changes in temperature – as and when members of McIntyres’ staff needed it.
Getting Some Work Done
Infrared heat suited McIntyres needs best thanks to its special properties: rather than heating the air by convection, infrared waves raise the temperature of objects in their path. This radiating effect warms swiftly, safely and directly – and is ideal for small and medium-sized retail spaces.
In consultation with McIntyres, we recommended a series of infrared heating measures be installed, over two days, in the company’s two salons:
- Above each of the salons’ hair stations, we installed White Glass Heaters. Set into a previously unused space just below the ceiling, the subtle, sleek infrared panels were angled down, towards seated customers, to provide a direct heat source during hairstyling sessions.
- At locations all around the salons, we fitted customised Redwell heating panels. Redwell panels provide direct infrared heat but can also be printed with customised artwork. McIntyres panels were printed with striking designs showcasing models and hairstyles.
- Above the salon entrances, we installed a Ceramicx Comfort Infrared Heater – directed to create a ‘curtain’ effect: a wall of heat that displaces cold air and keeps it out of the salon.
Once the IR panels and heaters were installed, we needed to provide the salons with a way to control temperature quickly and easily. This was achieved through a number of wall-mounted Salus wireless thermostats – offering McIntyres staff an unprecedented level of convenient, remote control over heat levels in every part of their working environment.
Admiring the Energy Make-over
The new efficiency measures had an immediate effect and staff were delighted by the added comfort and control they had over their workspace. It’s easy to think only of the bottom line when installing energy efficient technology but the McIntyres project underlines just how important a role heating can play in a business: a hair salon is a relaxing therapeutic environment – and even the tiniest draft can affect customers – and business – adversely.
The project was also a perfect example of how it is possible for energy efficiency measures to blend seamlessly with the commercial identity of a business. The sleek, subtle IR panels and their printed designs actually contributed to customers’ time in the salons – by providing talking points and reinforcing McIntyres’ reputation for style and character. The subtle physical presence of IR heating systems delivered a further benefit: free from clunky, space-hogging radiators, the salons had significant extra wall space – which could be used to display products for sale, advertisements and hair accessories.
With technological innovation driving the energy revolution, projects like this demonstrate how businesses can enhance their commercial and popular reputation in ways that go beyond the general improvements to heating efficiency. For McIntyres Hairdressing, the move towards energy efficiency was about growing as a business: continuing to provide their customers with the same superb service while transforming their premises for the 21st century.
For the full story, click over to the McIntyres Salons Case Study.