Are electric Far Infrared panels better than wet radiators?

By: Alasdair Woodbridge

Managing Director at Genius Hub

Today I visited the beautiful Avenue Baptist Church in Southend-on-Sea. This is a church providing vital services to the local community, from playgroups for young families, to football clubs for the youth, to meals for the vulnerable and elderly, Avenue Baptist Church cater for all in the local community. 

The church have the environment in their sights as well, and feel passionately about reducing their carbon footprint, improving their environmental credentials and reducing energy costs, allowing them to channel the money saved into front line services.

With an antiquated and expensive to run gas heating system connected to wet radiators heating tall rooms, this meant that the cost of keeping the church warm for the various activities was mounting up. Using traditional radiators was not right for the tall rooms where all of the heat (hot air) would rise up to the top of the building leaving those using the rooms cold and the cost of heating astronomically high.

The solution was to swap to Far Infrared panels from Whytelight Solutions. These heating panels being Infrared mean that they heat the people and the objects in the room and not the air. Because they don’t heat the air this saves a lot of energy as in tall buildings the hot air simply rises up into the high ceilings and is no use to anyone up there!

The environmental credentials of these Far Infrared heating panels comes from the upwards of 50% reduction in energy required to heat the building to the same comfort levels, and purchasing the electricity from a green and renewable electricity tariff. Also, they now have little in the way of maintenance costs for the church for at least the next 15 years. Some similar sites also offset some of the electricity used for the heating by installing solar PV, and feeding it back into the grid in the summer months making the site as a whole carbon neutral.


Genius Hub are providing the control of these new electric heating panels. We not only offer zoned control of each room from an app, but also occupancy detection, so any zone can easily be set up so it only comes on when people are using the room. This is done with a little occupancy sensor in the room and this automatically turns the heating off when the room is left, giving peace of mind to the Deacons (management) of the church that energy will not be wasted heating empty rooms and saving the church a lot of money.

After the installation I interviewed Dr. Terence Lewis (project manager), proprietor of Energyst Consulting and also a member of the congregation, about why he went down the Far Infrared route and why he chose smart controls. This is what he had to say:

'Having used smart heating controls previously it was clearly the only way forward. I believe it is the future, offering maximum savings for minimum cost.

We chose Genius Hub because they came highly recommended by Whytelight, the specifiers of the Far Infrared panels. I was not concerned about this "new" technology because I did a lot of research before I started. There is a lot of information and proof now that this sort of technology is both reliable and future proof.

Designing the new heating system was easy, I designed it in partnership with Peter Whyte from Whytelight who did a thorough design of the lighting and also the heating. From what I’ve seen so far, my first impressions of Genius Hub have impressed me, especially with its ease of use and flexibility. It can control the church's new electric heating and we may be able to expand it to control the underfloor and radiators in the rest of the church if budgets allow.

We’re aiming for in excess of 45% savings on the energy bills because we are combining the Far Infrared technology with the better control and LED lighting. We know that Genius Hub alone can save upwards of 30% so that, with swapping the old wet radiators to Far Infrared heaters the savings will all stack up quickly. Another important consideration is we are very motivated to look after God's planet, reducing the toxic emissions from the old gas boilers is all part of looking after the planet, as well as the cost savings being a benefit.

We were pleased that the installation has been done by local contractors (Green Energy Electrical) who we knew, they have worked very well considering access challenges on the site within a busy occupied building.

One of the things that we particularly liked about the Far Infrared is the air in the building will be healthier, we suffer from terrible over heating issues in the church, and it can often feel stuffy and too hot, because Far Infrared does not heat the air it heats the people and the objects in the room this will no longer be an issue, it is going to be much easier to control it all with the Genius Hub too.

I'm also looking forward to integrating the Genius Hub into the online church booking management system using IFTTT, as I've heard that's what other churches that have the system do, thereby enabling the right heat in the right place at the right time - all automatically.

In conclusion, really, I'm already looking forward to next winter when we can give the system a really good trial and demonstrate the predicted savings and reduced carbon footprint!'

Genius Hub control both wet and electric heating in a number of churches around the UK. If this is of interest then please don't hesitate to get in touch with me directly or contact the office on: or 0121 667 8000.

Newsletter Signup

Each month we share with you hints & tips, offers and energy saving advice.

come join us

Genius Hub Logo White

Genius Hub Copyright 2024 © All rights Reserved.