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Wallpaper that heats homes among innovative projects trialled in Wales to tackle climate change

31 May 2022 3 minutes Read
David Leabeater from NexGen, and Julie James, Minister for Climate Change

A social housing development in Wales is being heated by wallpaper as part of a trial exploring affordable alternatives to radiators and heat pumps to keep residents warm.

The graphene heat system, which looks and feels just like traditional wallpaper, can be plugged into a domestic socket, and is packaged with solar panels and a smart battery, meaning it cuts emissions while vastly lowering fuel costs.

Installed on walls, ceilings or under floors, the technology is invisible to residents and provides an innovative method to warm individual rooms much more quickly, offering them the chance to manage their energy budgets more effectively.

NexGen’s Graphene Infrared Heating is one of a number of innovate trials being carried out by housing association Melin Homes thanks to funding through the Welsh Government’s Optimised RetroFit Programme.

On a visit to the project in Tredegar, Climate Change Minister Julie James said that th decarbonisation of homes would play a big part in Wales’ journey to a Net Zero by 2050.

“At a time when costs are rising, improving the energy efficiency of homes will not only help us to deal with the climate emergency but also help families through the cost of living crisis,” she said.

“Just a little over a year ago, the First Minister put the environment and climate change at the heart of the Welsh Government’s priorities and, as we work to build a stronger, greener and fairer Wales, I’m really excited by the prospect innovative products like these could offer in helping us achieve our ambition.”

‘Cheaper’

The system, which uses a combination of far infrared and convection heat takes just two to three days to install and is much more cost-effective when compared with a heat pump.

Melin Homes has collaborated with Swansea University who verified the performance of the technology. It is now in discussions with a range of other registered social landlords, and local authorities who have shown an interest in the trial of the radiant heat system.

The Welsh Government Department for Economy is also working with Torfaen County Borough Council and NexGen to explore opportunities for the firm to establish a manufacturing centre in the local area.

Julie James, Minister for Climate Change, and Paula Kennedy, Chief Executive Melin Homes

Paula Kennedy, Chief Executive of Melin Homes said: “Our residents are already feeling the impact of the cost of living crisis and climate emergency that’s why we have set an ambitious target to become a NetZero organisation before 2050.

“We know we have to act now, so we have teamed up with Nexgen and our housing association peers in a bid to find alternatives to heating our homes that will be greener and cheaper for people to use.

“We will continue to work with them and trial new technologies that will help our residents, and residents throughout Wales. We are also pleased to be a part of the inward investment in setting up a factory and look forward to seeing the opportunities that will bring to Wales.”


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Erisian
Erisian
1 month ago

I’d love someone to explain how a simple resistive heater can be more efficient than a heat-pump. It sounds improbable (i.e. spun).

BobSnail
BobSnail
1 month ago
Reply to  Erisian

Maybe because the pump uses energy which isn’t converted into useable heat whereas with a resistive source all the energy is converted into heat – no mechanical lumps to move not light output.

BobSnail
BobSnail
1 month ago

The concept sounds OK at a quick read but what happens if a nail is banged into the wall to hang up a picture or holes drilled to put up a shelf?
Would not that be dangerous?

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago

This sounds far too good to be true. The article is more interesting for what it doesn’t mention – decent insulation. Retrofitting properties with heat pumps, heated wallpaper or any other form of heating system won’t reduce the heating demands unless the properties are also retrofitted with decent insulation, otherwise heat is wasted through the roof, walls, floor and windows. Even if it is heated with green energy this still matters as we are building more wind turbines, installing more solar panels etc. than we would otherwise need. Insulate Britain are essentially right in their aims (although their methods are… Read more »

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