Could electric wallpaper be part of the future of heating?


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I recently stumbled upon an intriguing new way to heat a building without burning gas: electric wallpaper. It can be powered by 100% green electricity and you can integrate it with our Agile API to automatically run at the cheapest, greenest times of day.

Electric wallpaper is far more efficient than using regular radiators with a gas boiler. It can’t beat our all-time favourite green heating solution, the heat pump (heat pumps magically produce 4 units of heat for every one unit of power you put in) — but this solution could be a real winner for spaces without radiators.

Introducing NexGen Heating

A few weeks ago, Clive Osborne - the CEO at NexGen Heating, sent me a couple of rolls of strange grey wallpaper to try out. Despite hundreds of weird and wonderful guesses, it took a full day before anyone at Octopus could work out what I’d sellotaped to the wall in our kitchen.

As it happens, I’d stuck up an extremely efficient, graphene nano-tech electric radiator - and it had only taken me 5 minutes.

An image of Nexgen wallpaper

My wallpaper is my heating system

Could traditional radiators be a thing of the past?

Traditional radiators always seem to be in the wrong place - whether that’s under a window (meaning your nice long curtains trap the heat, sending it straight back out that window) or stuck behind a sofa.

NexGen, on the other hand, have printed graphene nano-technology onto what is essentially a sheet of toughened wallpaper with a strip of copper running down each edge. This allows the graphene sheet to radiate infra-red heating into the room. A transformer means the wallpaper is only running at 24 volts and is completely safe to touch (yes I’ve checked).

As opposed to my impromptu sellotape method, the system can be stuck wherever is most suitable, and then either painted, wallpapered or plastered over. It can even be stuck on the ceiling or under the floor - but you should check the specs, because it won’t work as well if it’s covered up by too dense a layer. It’s only 0.4mm thick and installing it is just like putting up wallpaper. As long as you don’t cut through the copper strips, the material can also be cut out to fit around sockets, wall switches or light fittings. Each strip comes with connectors which are best positioned behind the skirting board - it’s easy to install, but the wiring ought to be done by an electrician.

An image of nexgen on the floor of a room

A load of hot air

Many people will tell you heat rises, but that’s not strictly true. Hot air rises - becomes lighter when heated. This means that traditional heating warms the area above you before it warms you up. This also means that when the heating stops, the warmth tends to disappear soon afterwards (depending on a building’s insulation).

With its infra-red nanotechnology, NexGen warms mass, not air, directly heating objects around your home. Furniture, walls, and ceilings hold on to that heat, becoming 360 degree radiators themselves, so that even when your NexGen heating is off, those objects continue to radiate heat into the room. For this reason NexGen heating is far less prone to losing heat from draughts and gaps in insulation.

Another tool in our arsenal in the fight against fossil fuel heating

One of the most exciting things about NexGen heating is its potential to help homes move away from their reliance on carbon-intensive gas powered heating in a convenient, painless way. Electric heating has the potential to be much greener, especially when there’s a high proportion of renewables in the grid.

Smart wallpaper?

Because NexGen is simply turned on and off, the system can be used with any off-the-shelf thermostat. You can even hook Nexgen up to a smart thermostat, and have it run in sync with our variable Agile Tariff (thanks to our public Agile API). I’ve hooked my NexGen up to a Tado smart thermostat for exactly this reason! This way, you can heat you home whenever energy is at its cheapest and greenest - saving you tonnes of money, and preventing tonnes of carbon emissions too. Combining smart electric tech with our Agile pricing takes you one giant leap towards a greener, decarbonised home.

Advantages of using Nexgen Infrared heating film. Efficient: Up to twice as efficient as other heating systems. Eco: Almost zero energy wastage and emission-free a great partner for solar. Easy to install: No pipes, radiators or boiler. Simple to install. No service contracts. Invisible Heat: on walls - paint, tile, or plaster over the film. Also suitable for ceilings and floors under carpet tiles, vinyl and other materials. Instant heat: infrared heating acts very quickly. Zero maintenance: minimal parts. Why is using Nexgen infrared heating more efficient? 1/3 more energy is required to heat a room using convection head. Nexgen infrared film can provide the same comfort levels at lower temperatures than convection heat. Convection heating is subject to higher heat loss caused by droughts than infrared heating. Convection heat is a far less efficient source of heat transfer than infrared heating. When compared to infrared heating convection heating takes 6% more energy to raise the temperature by 1C.

How much does it cost to run?

A burning question is how the cost of running a Nexgen system compares to a gas boiler. Customer feedback shows NexGen compares well with gas central heating, and it can become extremely cheap when used in combination with solar PV, batteries and our smart tariffs!

NexGen has already installed 70,000 square-meters of their heating so far, in homes, schools and offices up and down the country. I know it feels strange to talk about cold winter nights in the middle of summer, but if you’re thinking about trying out NexGen in a few rooms, or you're rebuilding and thinking about alternative heating, we have an exclusive 15% off offer for you, valid until the end of August. To register, just email Nexgen at with Octopus in the subject line! Or, alternatively:

Published on 7th July 2020 by:

image of Phil Steele

Phil Steele

Future Technologies Evangelist

Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!