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Date published: 04 July 2024

Laura How moved into her home at Mendip View in Axbridge, Somerset in August 2022 following a ‘traumatic’ housing journey. The family described their previous home as ‘very cold and horrendously expensive to heat’.

But thanks to the Wondrwall system at her Stonewater property, the family have been able to track their daily energy spend and cut down on their bills. It has even inspired her son, who has grown up with the technology. 

Wondrwall is one of the new forms of intelligent technology being installed in several of our new developments. A self-learning system that can adapt a home’s lighting, heating, hot water and security based on routines and living habits, the benefits are vast.

The system removes traditional radiators and instead uses infrared heating panels which heat the objects in the room rather than the air. These panels are also mounted on the ceiling to maximise space in the homes.

Laura, who lives with her husband and 12-year-old son, said: “We're in an incredibly good position now and we can see exactly how much we are spending day by day, and over the year we’re definitely not spending as much.”

Since moving to Mendip View, Laura and her family have made the most of the Wondrwall technology, which allows them to control the homes’ features via simple devices and a connected phone app.

“Wondrwall is an amazing system. I’m not that into tech, but it’s simple to use and I can see so many benefits. I love the heating panels and the fact there aren’t any radiators on the walls. During the winter, when the ceiling heating panels were on, it felt like I was sunbathing. It’s really inspired my son too.

"Not only does he play pranks on us by setting alarms and flashing lights, but I think that as he has grown up with this technology, it is something that will be important to him as he looks for his own home in the future.”

Wondrwall hot water system

Combined with Wondrwall technology, solar panels on the roof, a smart hot water tank and radiator panels in the ceiling, Laura’s home, along with her neighbours’ homes at Mendip View, is modern, warm and energy efficient. 

This integrated approach to new homes is something Stonewater is very conscious to replicate in as many new developments as possible, ensuring that customers' bills are kept low, while living standards are increased. 

“The Wondrwall technology works well for our customers, but it needs to be part of a larger, well-thought-out system” says Rhys Bevan, Stonewater’s Environmental Sustainability Business Partner. “We have Wondrwall in a couple of developments now, and combined with other energy-efficient measures, the positive impact for our customers and for bringing down carbon emissions can be vast.”

The removal of gas heating in all new homes also contributes to Stonewater’s vision of carbon-free developments, reducing the impact of construction and social housing on the environment which forms part of the organisation’s sustainability plans to be ‘net zero’ by 2050.

“We’re always looking for the best technologies and systems to integrate into our new homes. Technology doesn’t stand still, and sustainability continues to be one of our main drivers as a business, so it’s vital we keep up with advancements and look at ways we can get the most from them. The opportunities are endless, and we’ve got a lot of ideas about how we can use these technologies even further for the benefit of our customers and the planet,” says Rhys.

“We must remember that this is all new to a lot of our customers, and it’s crucial for them to understand and engage with it to maximise its benefits. With that in mind, we’re looking to develop a resource hub of visual guides. But customers tend to like Wondrwall and the other technology we use as it’s keeping their energy usage down and providing them with a warm, smart home - more important than ever in the current ongoing energy crisis.”

Customers can trust the smart AI system to control their lighting, heating, hot water and security, where it will adapt to their living patterns and behaviour, or they can choose to have more control, or even switch back to a more traditional on-off system. But occupant behaviour hugely effects carbon emissions and energy use, with those allowing the system to work intelligently seeing the biggest reductions. 

Laura uses the technology to her advantage, setting the heating to come on in her studio office only on the days she works from home - and only in the room she uses. She also enjoys being able to switch lights on and off from another room or when she is away from the home and the fact that her son can light the way ahead of him on his way upstairs, which she says has increased his independence.

The family can track their energy usage through a simple app, and bills have been kept lower than they would have been in a house without these features, with the family paying nothing for their energy use in the summer months.

Laura added: “The ability to see and track everything on my phone brings our energy use as a family to the forefront of our minds. It makes us conscious of the energy that we’re using, and the cost savings are really noticeable, especially in such difficult times.”

Overall, the Axbridge site has seen carbon emissions and running costs more than halved compared to a traditional site, with the best performing home generating almost 80% of the energy it consumed.

However, Laura says it’s about much more than lower bills. “The impact this home has had on our family just can’t be overstated. Our general happiness, wellbeing and health has improved so much. We feel lucky every day to be living here.”