Guru Pinpoint reduced heat network losses by 53% at Network Homes’ Stockwell Park site and helped resolve inefficiencies that resulted in an energy saving of more than 1,700 kWh per annum across the site.
“The accuracy of the data provided by Guru Pinpoint is outstanding and the efficiency improvements so noticeable. We can even see the exact hour any improvements have been made and their impact on the performance of our network.”
Gas Contracts Manager, Network Homes
Network Homes has been leading the transformation of the Stockwell Park Estate near Brixton since 2005. It has invested more than £100 million so far on refurbishment, new-build and community enhancement and a further £75 million is earmarked for completion of the programme in 2018.
Working in partnership with the community Network Homes has delivered over 900 homes to date, including 473 new build and 457 refurbished homes. A further 800 are in the pipeline making a total of 1,694.
The social housing properties on the estate are connected to a heat network, which supplies residents with heating and hot water.
This network is owned and managed by Network Homes.
As both the landlord and energy supplier, Network Homes had previously charged its residents a flat rate for the energy it supplied as it was unable to monitor energy consumption in individual properties across the network.
This is not unusual. In most cases landlords will set tariffs based on the expected performance of the system, which means that if initial assumptions are inaccurate the landlord could lose money every time a tenant turns on the heating.
The purpose of this project was to improve the performance of the heat network for both tenants and Network Homes by trialling the use of the web-based Guru Pinpoint platform. This formed part of a wider project funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) now the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Before the project started, Guru Systems installed its smart metering and monitoring technology at the point of generation and across the network in individual properties. This gave Network Homes real-time data on how its network was functioning for the first time.
The system allows the network operator to calculate exactly how much to charge for the energy it sells, as well as displaying up-to-the-minute data on energy use to residents through a pay-as-you-go monitor in their homes.
The challenges were significant. Data collected by the monitoring system uncovered network losses of 3,350kWh per dwelling per year (roughly equivalent to the total annual useful heat requirement), while Guru Pinpoint also diagnosed issues with the network’s Heat Interface Units (HIUs).
HIUs act as the interface between the heat network and the heating and hot water systems of the individual apartments. In this case, the components had not been commissioned properly and were performing poorly, with resulting high return temperatures.
As well as issues with key components, the data and site investigations also found missing insulation on pipework into dwellings. Without insulation, these pipes were acting like radiators, constantly losing heat to the hallways and communal spaces.
Guru Pinpoint uses powerful machine-learning algorithms to learn from data collected by heat meters installed throughout a network and identifies where and how the network could be improved.
Thanks to Guru Pinpoint, Guru Systems and its contractors were able to focus in on the root causes of the network losses.
Following further trials, a schedule for upgrading all of the HIUs was implemented – faulty valves were replaced, the pipework within dwellings and the HIUs were insulated and all of the HIUs were recommissioned.
The analytics and diagnostics delivered by Guru Pinpoint provided the information required to implement improvements to the Stockwell Park network. These changes resulted in:
• 53% reduction in network heat losses
• 47% reduction in terminal run temperatures vs. ambient for dwellings with interventions
• 60% reduction in terminal run losses for dwellings with interventions, saving more than 1,700kWh per annum across the site
Together these have resulted in significant savings for residents. Over the course of the project, residents’ heat consumption reduced by 20-30%, saving £140 per household per year.
Tenants now have control over how much heat energy they use and Network Homes has greater visibility of the overall heat network, more accurate billing and a mechanism for monitoring tenants at risk from fuel poverty.
Patrick Flynn, Gas Contracts Manager at Network Homes, concluded: “I was very pleased with the accuracy of the results generated by Guru Pinpoint. It has highlighted the importance of getting the right advice and support on network set-up and performance.Now we need to consider how improvements can be made to our legacy networks and Guru Pinpoint can help us to understand where we can get the maximum return.”