Renewable energy is decentralizing the electric grid. Now the Warming Surfaces Co., a spinout from VTT, Finland’s technology skunkworks, has decentralized heat—specifically, the heat inside your home.

The start-up has created a pliable sheet of material, thinner than the cardboard in a cereal box, that radiates heat on demand.

The material can be layered into walls and under flooring or carpets, even put into seat cushions, and turned on and off with the flip of a switch. An app can set the degree of heat needed.

Currently, most space heating is done either by baseboard electricity, which is expensive, or by burning fossil fuels in a furnace or boiler, then piping hot air or hot water to various rooms. In both, fuel and heat are wasted along the way.

With the Warming Surfaces approach, heat can be flipped on and off like lights when you enter or leave a room, not only saving fuel and heat but also slashing the expense of both: 63 percent of the energy burned by European households goes to heating, VTT says, and turning down a home’s temperature by a single degree Celsius saves 5 percent on a monthly energy bill, according to the thinktank.

That kind of savings is no less important to businesses.  

For example, imagine a hotel that wouldn’t need to heat entire floors of empty rooms but, instead, the desk clerk could flip a switch when a guest checks in and the guest’s room would be getting toasty by the time the key card swipes through the door slot.

The Warming Surfaces heating sheets can be retrofitted into existing buildings, a fortunate happenstance now that the European Union estimates that 35 million structures across the continent need to be upgraded to save energy.

The technology is cost-effective because the sheets can be produced in rolls at high speeds. 

The developers have created a team to start installing their invention.

TRENDPOST: Personalized heat is another step in the ongoing trend of personalizing everything, from medical care to clothing made to measure by computer and delivered to your door by a drone.

The Warming Surface Company’s flexible heating material.

Photo: The Warming Surfaces Co.
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