With around 150 heat networks covering more than 4,500 homes across the country, heat has become an increasingly important part of The Guinness Partnership’s offer.
“The detailed, diagnostic information provided by real-time network performance data was critical to identifying technical irregularities and the causes of inefficiency. It was vital that these issues were spotted at a time when our contractors were on site.”
Head of Sustainablility, The Guinness Project
The Guinness Partnership has been working with Guru Systems to transform the way that it provides heat to its customers, with a renewed focus on customer satisfaction that has been driven by a desire to dramatically improve network performance.
Victoria Keen is Head of Sustainability at The Guinness Partnership. She explained: “Over the past three years, we’ve made significant changes and a big investment in the way that
we provide heat to our customers and run our heat networks.
“We needed to make sure we were procuring the right equipment and advice and clearly setting levels of performance we wanted to achieve for our residents, so that networks were built and performed to the required levels from day one.”
A CATALYST FOR CHANGE
Guinness began working with Guru Systems in 2015 as part of a pilot project funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (formerly the Department of Energy and Climate Change) looking at a single block at its Stead Street development in London.
Stead Street, a new build, 140-unit residential Development in Elephant and Castle, presented an opportunity for The Guinness Partnership to pilot a new approach to monitoring heat network performance.
The award-winning Guru Pinpoint uses powerful algorithms to analyse data from the Guru Hubs.
It spots likely problems on heat networks and diagnoses the root cause, providing operators with a platform to see a range of technical data to resolve issues immediately.
Installation of Guru Systems’ smart meters and access to big data from Guru Pinpoint Meant that the team from The Guinness Partnership could see for the first time how well the network at Stead Street was operating when compared with predicted performance levels.
This offered a unique opportunity for The Guinness Partnership and its contractor to identify any technical issues before properties were handed over to customers.
As part of its commissioning support, FairHeat carried out acceptance testing before the dwellings were occupied by customers. FairHeat’s Managing Director, Gareth Jones, said: “The objective was to identify the causes of performance issues. In the short-term, risks arise from costly revisits, while, over the longer term, operators are exposed to financial losses from expensive running costs or subsidising higher than expected bills.”
“When looking at the data from Guru Pinpoint it became clear that the commissioning phase, between installation and occupation, is a critical period for performance testing, allowing issues to be identified early on so they’re easier and cheaper to fix,” said Victoria Keen.
Data from Guru Pinpoint identified a number of key risk areas for The Guinness Partnership:
- Resident comfort: Heat networks can impact on resident comfort in four primary ways; time to deliver domestic hot water (DHW); temperature of DHW; quality of space heating; and overheating due to incidental gains due to heat network losses.
- Low efficiency: Network efficiency is directly linked to the £/kWh cost of delivering heat. Directly impacting costs for The Guinness Partnership and residents.
- Post occupancy cost: Any rework that is required post-occupation is expensive (direct cost) and typically requires significant time investment from The Guinness Partnership’s staff (indirect cost).
The issues identified would have been impossible to spot and rectify without real-time data on performance from Guru Systems.
By working in partnership with the contractor, The Guinness Partnership was able to prescribe changes to the Stead Street network that resulted in:
- 30% cost reduction for residents
- Average return temperatures dropping by 22°C
- A reduction in losses from the return pipework of around 75%
- An estimated saving to The Guinness Partnership of £2,000 per block per‑annum, equating to customer savings of £65 per home
Victoria Keen added: “It was immediately clear that the detailed, diagnostic information provided by real-time network performance data was critical to identifying technical irregularities and the causes of inefficiency. It was vital that these issues were spotted at a time when our contractors were onsite.”