In order to meet the UK’s net zero target for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the government have issued ambitious plans in their latest Future Homes Standard review, including a ban on gas heating in new homes by 2025.
Existing house-builders will now have to decide whether to go beyond the government’s standards to try to futureproof their investments, avoiding the need for costly retrofitting given that it seems inevitable that standards will only be set higher in the future.
Building the foundations for greener housing has some significant economic benefits to developers too, beyond meeting lower emission targets. By omitting the need for gas, complicated piping does not need to be laid which makes the building process cheaper and faster. Choosing an energy efficient electric heating and hot water solution over heat pumps can further reduce the need for complicated groundwork, as well as the complexities and costs of wet heating systems.
It has been well publicised that energy efficient homes powered by solar energy have a much broader market appeal, making these new homes easier to sell and let by highlighting the benefits of incredibly low household bills. The coveted nature of an eco-friendly home also means they’re likely to possess a higher resale value in the future, standing the test of time.
“We’re seeing a real shift in consciousness of people wanting to do something for the planet, so this is a crucial time for the future of new housing,” says Daniel Burton, Chief Executive and founder of home automation company, Wondrwall.
“Growing up in an eco-conscious society, those in their 20s and 30s who are buying houses today are asking developers whether solar is installed, how efficient their future home is and how much energy bills will be. The more developers know about green technology that’s on offer, the better they can assist customers in advising and assessing their needs. Green millennials are our future and we should be tapping into that demand, as well as us all taking responsibility to safeguard our environment from climate change.”
Burton’s company supplies intelligent electric heating and hot water solutions that can cut home energy use for heating and hot water by 50%, making a significant contribution to tackling the climate emergency by being completely gas-free. Cost-effective to install, it is an ideal solution for housebuilders, as well as landlords and homeowners looking for affordable, energy efficient and environmentally friendly heating solutions for their homes.
It works by combining whole-home smart technology that intuitively adapts to how occupants live and use the home, as well as its environmental performance to avoid wasting energy, with efficient infrared panel heating and an intelligent hot water cylinder all powered by solar panels.
Wondrwall’s solution is a light switch that houses 13 different sensors covering temperature, humidity, power, motion, luminosity and sound. Replacing standard light switches throughout the home with Wondrwall switches creates a network of over 100 sensors with predictive modelling and machine learning, automating habitational patterns, as well as the home’s overall efficiency and performance.
According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, smart thermostats like Wondrwall can reduce energy consumption and costs by up to 31% by not heating empty homes. Wondrwall takes this a step further by detecting when a room is empty, automatically reducing energy consumption and lowering the overall cost for heating by up to 50% without sacrificing comfort.
Wondrwall infrared heater panels are also more efficient as they heat the occupants and objects in the home such as carpets, ceilings and furniture. Every 1°C reduction in a home’s air temperature can save as much as 10% on its heating bills. Since the infrared panels heat the occupants and objects in the home rather than the air, they keep the occupants warm at a lower air temperature than standard heating.
Conventional hot water tanks heat all the water in the tank, regardless of how much is needed. The Wondrwall hot water cylinder monitors and learns how much hot water is used and only heats as much as needed, significantly reducing energy consumption.
Around 14% of UK greenhouse gas emissions come from our homes, and a ban on gas heating in new homes by 2025 has already been announced to help cut carbon emissions caused by traditional gas boilers.
Wondrwall now offers a smart alternative to both gas boilers and more expensive and less effective alternatives such as heat pumps. The Wondrwall solution costs the same to install in new homes as current gas heating and hot water solutions and considerably less than alternative electric heating solutions.
One of the worries about the government clamp-down on gas and other fossil-fuel boilers is that electric alternatives are generally more expensive to run. Research conducted on behalf of the National Infrastructure Commission estimated that the ban on gas heating would cost families up to £300 extra a year on energy bills. Wondrwall’s smart energy generating technology, however, ensures that the system is used optimally to provide a comfortable living environment, cut energy usage and keep bills down.
It’s not only new-build housing schemes that can benefit from the Wondrwall solution. The system can be retrofitted to a three-bedroom house from £4,990, bringing those same advantages within reach of every householder.
Burton has seen demand for his product increase tenfold in the past 18 months:
“The network of partners we are working with is expanding rapidly, our latest being Keepmoat, Sigma, Tailored Living Solutions, Sassy, McCulloch and Shanly Homes. By combining clean energy generation, storage and AI powered home automation in one unique streamlined system, they can create a USP for their buyers and it’s paying off.
“Our mission with our system has been to give the home a brain and the intelligence to control itself to help improve people’s lives. I never built this company to make a huge amount of money. I built it to make a difference to the world – to build homes that create their own energy, store it and use it.”
Craig Murphy, regional managing director of Keepmoat Homes, adds: “Climate change is a key challenge facing everyone and that’s why we’re not only proud to support a zero carbon future, but also help find practical solutions that tackle the rising energy costs of our customers.”
Robert Cox, recently purchased a Watkin Jones house in Macclesfield with his partner, that has Wondrwall technology installed throughout.
“When we purchased our new home and the sales advisor took us through Wondrwall, it really intrigued us,” said Cox. “We had Alexa before, and could instantly see the appeal. It helps save money on energy bills, but the real impact is just the ease of having everything on autopilot. We live busy lives and the time saving ability is huge. If I had two houses like for like, the Wondrwall system would be the deal maker.”