For many UK consumers, rising energy prices are placing a significant strain on their household budget. At the same time, consumers are becoming more and more concerned about the environmental impact of their energy use, and are looking for alternatives that reduce their carbon footprint. Unfortunately, these are often competing goals – energy from renewable resources is often more expensive, creating a real dilemma for consumers who care about both their wallets and the environment.
That’s why an innovative approach from Flow Energy is so intriguing. While the company doesn’t bill itself as a green energy company per se, it aims to turn UK consumers into electricity generators. At the heart of their strategy is the Flow boiler, which generates electricity while it is heating water. The company claims that this will reduce electricity bills for the average household by about £200 a year – that’s a 20% reduction on a £1000 electricity bill.
As with other advanced boilers, the Flow boiler is highly efficient. Since it is A-rated, 92% of the energy in the gas it burns is turned into heat. This reduces the amount of gas that is used, resulting in further cost savings. Overall, Flow Energy says that the combination of efficiency and electricity generation will reduce household carbon emissions by around 20%. That saving is equivalent to the carbon emitted by driving a car 4000 miles every year.
Extrapolating this out, the company says that if 20 million Flow boilers were installed in the UK, consumers would save $4 billion every year on their energy bills, and CO2 emissions would go down by 20 billion kilograms every year. That’s the same as the emissions from 5.5 million cars – or from 40 large coal fired power stations.
To be clear, Flow Energy isn’t just a boiler manufacturer. It is an electricity supplier as well, and offers competitive tariffs. So, customers aren’t paying a premium for electricity in order to get the new boiler.
However, there is a minor snag. The company is planning on launching the flow boiler in 2015, and until then it is not taking on any new electricity customers. Existing customers still maintain their existing tariffs, but if you are not with the company today, you’ll have to wait until they launch their new boiler before you switch. However, you can register your interest in the Flow boiler on the company’s site, and they will contact you to see if the new boiler is right for you.