Our increasing concerns over climate change has meant there is more research than ever being done on ways we can reduce our energy usage, especially in our homes. We all know about solar panels, heat-pumps and wind turbines, but what else is there out there? We take a look at some of the latest innovations coming our way.



This is a smart, app controlled hot water tank that only heats what you need, making it both quicker and more efficient than a conventional hot water tank. It can be used with most existing systems, including gas, electric or solar. The manufacturers claim it delivers hot water up to 5x faster and will save you 5%-20% on your hot water bills. As an added bonus, it will also tell you if there’s enough hot water left for a shower!




Thermocill is an innovative new product that helps reduce heat loss through windows. It replaces any existing window sills that are located above radiators and directs the warm air towards the glazing.  This reduces both the amount of cold air coming into your house and the amount of warm air leaking out. It’s claimed you’ll use 14% less energy to heat a up a room and it will happen 19% faster. It should also substantially reduce condensation.




If you’ve got one of the  estimated 8 million homes in the UK that have suspended wooden floors, then you could seriously improve your house’s thermal performance by using a Q-bot. A Q-bot is a robot that can be dropped under the floor where it will spray insulation onto the underside of the floor. Not only will it reduce your heating bill by up to 16%, it will also cut down on those unpleasant draughts.



Magnetocaloric Refrigerators

Coming soon, this revolution in fridge technology uses magnets rather than the standard gas compression for cooling and will reduce your fridge’s energy consumption by over 25%. It also does away with fluorinated gas, which is used in most conventional cooling systems and is a powerful greenhouse gas. The same technology could be used for air conditioning, which consumes huge amounts of energy – approximately 10% of all global electricity.


Pee Power

Believe it or not, you can generate power from urine. It’s not some future concept, it’s available now and is already being used at Glastonbury. Here’s how it works – urine is passed through a series of Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs). The microbes then feed on it, releasing electrons and generating electricity. No, I don’t understand it either, but before long, it might be coming to a toilet near you.



Generating electricity from thin air

 Although this seems an even more unlikely source of electricity than urine, it’s generating a great deal of excitement. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a device that uses a natural protein to create electricity from moisture in the air. The technology, they say, could have significant implications for the future of renewable energy. Unlike solar power, Air-gen does not need either sunlight or wind and can even work indoors. Watch this space.




For those who consider solar panels unsightly, there’s now a far less visually intrusive option – Thermoslate. Thermoslate uses the properties of natural slate to help convert the sun’s energy into hot water. The outer layer of the solar panels is made of natural slate, so it will blend perfectly with many of the UK’s traditional buildings.



Battery technology

One of the main disadvantages of both wind and solar power is the unreliability of supply and the lack of decent storage solutions. Currently, most systems use lithium batteries, but their ability to store energy over prolonged periods is limited. There are, however, lots of new battery types being developed that could provide uninterrupted power from the wind and the sun.


Bladeless wind turbines

Vortex Bladeless may look uncomfortably phallic, but they are at the forefront of harnessing the power of the wind. Instead of using spinning blades to generate electricity, they vibrate. It means they are more-or-less silent, pose no threat to birds and wildlife and take up considerably less space. They may, however generate some smirks from your neighbours, as their odd shape has already led to them being dubbed ‘skybrators’.