The Cupboard HIU

From Heatweb Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Frame and Six Modules with Blue Chrome finish
Frame and Six Modules, plan view
Basic Frame and Modules
Basic Frame and Modules with covers removed

The use of pre-fabricated plumbing rigs for new-build applications is nothing new, starting with framed cold water tanks with a hot water cylinder and optional gas boiler back in the 1970's. Combination boilers and unvented cylinders made these mostly obsolete, however the range of building services to be provided in a modern dwelling call for a fresh look at the advantages that can be gained from taking pre-fabrication to the extreme, and our CUPBOARD HIU is the result.


Services are provided in a modular form using the same technology as modern HIUs (Heat / Hydraulic Interface Units). Indeed the initials HIU may soon be more commonly known as a Home Interface Unit.

The modules provided include:

  • Air handling unit (Ventaxia Kinetic B)
  • Consumer unit
  • HIU interface to district heating using the latest electronic technology
  • with either a single plate interface for use with a hot water cylinder
  • or a twin plate system providing domestic hot water
  • Energy metering and pre-pay isolation
  • Central heating controls including underfloor heating manifold
  • Utility control centre
  • Power switches and low voltage supplies
  • Industrial Ethernet switch
  • Central heating controls
  • HIU controller
  • Linux web server
  • User Interface centre
  • Plug sockets
  • Telephone sockets
  • Space for internet router
  • Audio interface
  • Water services
  • Waste traps and discharge points for unvented cylinders or washing machine
  • Mains water connections for washing machine, hot and cold
  • Heat storage (additional dimensions may apply)
  • Unvented hot water cylinder
  • Thermal store, using our patented HEATBANK(TM) systems
  • Solar thermal module, for connection of local solar thermal panels (requires storage)
  • Biomass module
  • Versions for connection of local biomass boiler
  • Versions for connection of local wood burner (requires thermal storage)

Custom modules on request.


3D Models

Cupboard2 by heatweb on Sketchfab

Cupboard X6 by heatweb on Sketchfab


The modules are standardised square blocks of 665mm square by 310mm deep, with modules typically assembled within an EPP insulating enclosure.

The modules are installed into aluminium framework, typically three high, and arranged to form a square cupboard space that will accept a standard washing machine (that feeds into the waste trap module). The module spaces are 666mm square and 355mm deep.

The framework is fitted with pipework for incoming services, along with isolation and a first fix kit where required. Any electrical interconnections between modules are made using standardised Molex connectors that can allow the frame to be installed with modules missing, to be plugged in later. Plumbing connections will typically have union connections allowing a similar approach, so the entire system can act as a first fix kit.

The advanced aluminium frame system we use future proofs for modification, while providing a strong lightweight structure that allows the entire system to be delivered completed for rapid connection. Overall frame dimensions can be adjusted to match void spaces for each contract, with 3D CAD files provided upon request.

Modules can be swapped on site, allowing building services to be upgraded easily.


The EPP covers to the modules can be finished with a choice of materials, including anodized aluminium, to finish the entire system with a very slick and modern look to match its performance.



Although HIUs are capable of driving services in most instances, the requirement to drive multiple bathrooms side by side in modern luxury priced dwellings demands local hot water storage to meet expectations. The 'cupboard draw depth' of 355mm allows the space of two modules to be used for 90 litres of storage, based on 300mm diameter cylinders. Insulation levels on the cylinder are significantly increased by filling remaining void space with insulation, and when partnered with heat exchanger recovery it becomes possible to deliver exceptional loads without the need to oversize the heat network distribution to meet peak DHW demand.

That said, any type, size or make of hot water cylinder can be incorporated into the layout.

The HEATBANK Pandora Thermal Store

As used by most of the big new-builders over the years, the patented Pandora (previously Stowaway), provides mains pressure hot water from an unpressurised store that requires no annual maintenance. The additional benefit that it requires no discharge pipework from the property - for either hot water or central heating - can be most useful.

The Pandora also has the ability to drive central heating, using the backup electric element if need be, improving resilience of the system to plant or distribution failure, and ironing out peaks in load resulting from central heating warm up first thing in the morning.

Decoupling the heating load from the primary load has the advantage of been able to hold off primary input until central heating returns have dropped to a suitable temperature.

The Utility Control Module

The brains of the system, the control module holds the electronics and switches required to run services and equipment.

An key addition to the usual array of equipment is the Linux web server. This takes advantage of the most popular open-source lightweight computing platform to enable the introduction of modern home automation systems, energy monitoring, and data storage. The server can be connected to the HIU controls, as well as to the air handling, heat, water and electricity meters, and any number of wireless devices, pulling them together to enable the next generation of intelligent building services.

An industrial grade Ethernet switch is supplied as standard to connect Ethernet enabled equipment within the Cupboard. The occupant simply has to connect a cable to their internet router to connect the entire system to the internet.

Underfloor Heating Module

The standard module for underfloor heating caters for eight zones, and is based on Danfoss equipment.

Typically the module is provided with cutouts in the base of the enclosure for pipe entry and support.

Ufhpod1 by heatweb on Sketchfab

Single Plate HIUs

We can supply a range of single plate HIUs for a variety of loads, with options for zone valves and other controls.

The UtilityMaster5 Cupboard Module is a standard domestic system, typically used in partnership with a domestic hot water cylinder.

UtilityMaster5 by heatweb on Sketchfab

The Hiflow Cupboard Module caters for flow rates up to 50 litres per minute and can be used to drive central heating for multiple properties.

Hiflowm1 by heatweb on Sketchfab

See Also

The Amazon District Framed System

Amazon District Indirect Storage HIU