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The Future of Heating: Highlights from Grand Designs Live 2018

It’s an uncertain time for the future of home heating in the UK. Currently, the vast majority of us are heating our homes with fossil fuels like natural gas and oil, but we know now better than ever that we need to drastically lower our carbon emissions for the sake of our planet.

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So if you’re a homeowner looking to install a more energy efficient heating system, what are your options today? We visited the Grand Designs Live show at the NEC in Birmingham to see what the industry is offering by way of alternative heating. Here are our top 3 highlights…

Radiana Climate Control Panel

The Radiana panel is an alternative cooling and heating system and has been designed to emulate the human body’s own temperature regulation with a combination of radiation, convection and evaporation. It can be installed on a wall or ceiling instead of traditional wall or ceiling panels to where it acts as a hidden heating system.

What is the Radiana Panel?

It is a prefabricated sandwich panel which is 50mm thick including 37.5mm of pre-formed EPS board bonded with a layer of plasterboard. It can be cut to size to fit a range of different installations as easily as cutting traditional plasterboard. Between the layers, aluminium heat transfer plates are laid down with specially shaped channels for water pipes.

Using radiant cooling technology, fluid is passed through the water pipes so the the panel is made cooler than the rest of the room; it will then absorb heat from other surfaces and objects in the room. This unique radiant fluid technology can provide both cooling and heating for a property. There are no fans or moving parts so there is no noise and it doesn’t collect or circulate dust as a traditional air conditioner or convection heater would.

Benefits for You

  • Silent running with no fan needed
  • Less maintenance than any air conditioning system with no ducts or filters to change
  • Improve air quality without the need to pass air through a filter and coil; it does not move dust or spread bacteria
  • Lower running costs than traditional air circulation systems
  • Radiant cooling is quick to respond due to the speed of radiation and low water volume
  • Draughtless, odourless cooling ensures maximum comfort
  • Easy to control with the Radiana app from anywhere in the world
  • The panel can be cut to size: in half, lengthwise and widthwise so should suit most homes
  • Patented push fit connectors are guaranteed for 10 years
  • 75mm gaps are included between the capillary pipes enable you to fit spotlights, speakers, sprinklers etc. The face of the panel is laser etched to show exactly where each pipe is so you
  • can avoid damaging pipes when creating holes and fixing accessories to the ceiling.

About the Company

The Radiana panel has been brought to the UK market by underfloor heating specialists, WMS Underfloor Heating. The company has over 15 years of expertise in the supply and manufacture of underfloor heating and cooling systems in the UK. Their products can be incorporated into new builds or renovation projects as they work with developers, architects, consultants and local authorities.

Mixergy Hot Water Tanks

When switched on, the standard hot water tank will heats all the water inside to the desired temperature. This all or nothing approach means we are regularly using unnecessary energy to heat water we aren’t using. In addition, we have no way of monitoring how much hot water is already in the tank before we switch it on again.

The intelligent Mixergy hot water tank has been developed to help homeowners take greater control over their hot water supply and reduce our nation’s carbon emissions “one tank at a time”.

What is the Mixergy Hot Water Tank?

In a normal hot water tank, cold water comes enters and mixes in with any hot already present. The overall temperature of the water drops and the heat exchanger needs to work to heat the water again.

The Mixergy tank uses a special inlet diffuser to keep the cold and hot water separate. This means that hot water can ‘float’ on top of cold and grow the volume as required inside the tank. The result is reduced heat losses significantly and a far quicker reheat time of up to 5X faster. When fully heated, up to 30% more hot water can be distributed through your home before the temperature drops below a useable level.

The tank also features a unique sensing technology and a computer to measure the volume of hot water in the tank and adjust its energy use accordingly. The Mixergy tank is connected to the internet enabling you to monitor and control it from a smartphone or mobile device. It can also work alongside a smart meter to adjust the tank’s energy usage to a cheaper or renewable source when available.

Benefits for You

  • Intelligent hot water tank that only heats the amount of water you need reducing energy wastage.
  • Recovers to a usable temperature 5X faster than standard hot water tanks
  • Tank will measure and optimise its own energy usage heating up when energy is cheapest or using surplus renewable energy when it is available.
  • Can be powered with a surplus energy renewable source such as solar or wind power to lessen energy bills and carbon emissions even further.
  • Automatically runs a fortnightly sterilisation routing to ensure the very bottom of the tank attains a heat above the sterilising threshold for harmful bacteria such as Legionella.
  • Control from your smartphone or mobile device from anywhere in the world with the Mixergy App which shows:
    • The amount of hot water in your tank
    • The energy consumption of your hot water tank
    • Detailed graphs of your hot water levels and water temperatures
    • When the tank is heating up your water
    • Electricity cost estimation

The Mixergy app also enables you to boost the hot water in the tank, set an automatic heating schedule, stop your tank from heating while you are away and set your tank to use electricity or gas at different times of day.

About the Company

Pete Armstrong and Ren Kang met while studying for PhDs with the University of Oxford’s Energy and Power Group (EPG). They joined forces and entered a venture competition Climate-KiC and won a 95,000 euro prize which enabled them to begin their Mixergy journey in 2014.

Mirrorstone Infrared Heating Panels

Infrared panel heaters are an alternative to traditional electric convection heaters as, rather than heating the air in a room, they heat the objects within it. This is a more energy efficient and effective way of heating a space and can apparently save homeowners up to 60% on their energy bills. In addition to the savings on energy bills, these panels can also free up more physical space in a room and improve the air quality in a room.

What are Infrared Heating Panels by Mirrorstone?

Infrared panels use the same type of electromagnetic (EM) waves as the sun without the UV rays which can harm our skin. These waves are emitted from the panel and heat the objects (and people) in the room. It is quicker and more cost effective to heat objects than air as they have a lower molecular mass than air so it takes energy units to heat them.

Once the temperature in the room has reached the desired temperature the panel can be switched off either manually or by a thermostat as the objects will retain their temperature. With traditional convection heaters, they need to be kept on to keep the air heated.

Benefits for You

  • Infrared panels use electromagnetic waves just like those from the sun. This has some reported health benefits including helping the circulatory system and muscles.
  • Standard convection heaters cause air to rise as it is heated and fall again once cooled. This process produces moisture, condensation and mould if not monitored. Infrared panels use dry heat which prevents the growth of mould.
  • Although the panels will feel hot to touch the PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) surface won’t harm the skin if it’s accidentally touched, thanks to its efficient method of dissipating heat energy.
  • Infrared panels can be installed quickly and easily without specialist training – a competent DIY’er should be able to handle the job with ease.
  • At just 22mm thick, the panels are streamlined, providing an almost invisible heater which could be mistaken as a picture or mirror.
  • The panels are simple in design to minimise the components. This means easy maintenance and a long life span of 25-30 years.
  • Mirrorstone’s IR panels are manufactured from 100% recyclable materials.

The panel heaters are available in a range of shapes and sizes from Custom Printed models to Classic White IR Panels that can be disguised as a regular ceiling tile. Mirrored IR Panels are perfect for bathrooms as they don’t steam up, while sleek black and white Glass IR Panels are perfect for contemporary homes.

About the Company

Mirrorstone is a Leicester based company which has been manufacturing and supplying energy-efficient infrared heating products since 2010. To find out more about infrared heating by Mirrorstone take a look at their guest article for Home Heating Guide here.

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