Technology that could reduce heating bills by up to 20% wins innovation competition

Clare Saxon Ghauri
24 September 2013

NEW YORK: It’s a very simple idea – but it could reduce heating bills by 20%. Radfan, a UK-based start-up, has developed the winning design in the inaugural EarthHack, an online crowdsourcing competition that asked competitors to reimagine existing technology for a more sustainable home and save 1 million tons of CO2 per annum by 2020.

Energy saving

The Radfan is a low power fan unit that attaches to any standard central heating radiator and redirects the warm air straight out into the room. This makes the room warmer and more comfortable as it stops the warm air collecting at the ceiling or escaping out of the window.

Testing has shown that the Radfan can increase the temperature at sofa height by up to 2 degrees C without having to turn the thermostat up. The Radfan costs about US$3 per year to run and could save up to 20% on the average domestic heating bill by putting the warmth where the homeowner wants it.

Green entrepreneur

Simon Barker, co-founder of Radfan was presented with the award at the Low Carbon Innovators Forum, a Climate Week NYC event that brought together leading corporate innovators from companies such as Facebook, Nike, IKEA and Ecovative. He commented: "We're thrilled to have won the Marblar EarthHack competition; it's fantastic to have the opportunity to showcase the Radfan at a prestigious event like Climate Week NYC. We're really excited to demonstrate how the Radfan can help home owners to feel warmer and save energy around the world."

Launched in May 2013, the first EarthHack, powered by the Marblar platform in partnership with The Climate Group and the support of IKEA and Philips, asked competitors to reimagine existing technology for a more sustainable home today and save 1 million tons of CO2 per annum by 2020. The online, open innovation competition had 952 participants from over 80 countries; 249 ideas that started out in Brainstorm, while 25 were taken forward to the second stage.

Commenting on the competition, Robert Trezona, EarthHack judge, cleantech venture capitalist said: “This has been a great process, attracting a large number of ideas. Some of the concepts were entirely new to me, and this shows the power of a global platform like Marblar. The winning entry is a great piece of innovation and really achieves the objectives of significant carbon impact combined with rapid scalability.”

The panel of the competition included former Director General of CERN, current Director of Energy Research at Oxford University, Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith and the Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge University, Sir Richard Friend along with representatives from IKEA, Philips and other cleantech experts. We hosted a Google+ Hangout with the judges in May, which you can watch here

“One of the very special things about this competition is the way that the Marblar community comes around to support and build upon each other’s ideas. This is great: no one will ever have all the bright ideas and answers all by themselves, so if we are tackle the big problems of our age like climate change, it’s got to be through everyone working together, like with the Marblar process,” said Dave Raval, EarthHack judge, Cleantech entrepreneur, and former Head of the UK Government cleantech incubation service at Carbon Trust.

Read more:

EarthHack competition: One week in, 72 ideas submitted

Interview: Dan Perez, Founder and CEO of Marblar

Watch the full or edited video of the live Google+ Hangout

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