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Archive for the ‘smart metering’ Category

NestThe internet is abuzz with a smart home backlash, spearheaded by Lloyd Alter of Treehugger, who made a splash when he recently wrote in the Guardian that a smart thermostat would be “bored stupid” in a Passive House.

So is it true that a smart home “throws technology and electricity at a problem that is better solved by design?”

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Octavia_Elizabeth_House_WembleyWe’re using our Guru smart metering and control platform to do real-time monitoring of district heating at Octavia’s flagship site in NW London. Our aim is to eliminate the two biggest risks that DH operators face: bad debt and hidden inefficiencies. Here’s an article summarising what we’re up to.

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badwolfblow

The EED: genuinely dangerous or just misunderstood?

Inside Housing published an article last week about the “significant costs” that will be imposed on heat network operators (HNOs) as they are forced to install heat meters under new regulations that come into force next month.

Designed to grab the attention of housing associations, the article focuses on the costs of complying with the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) – and it completely ignores the key benefits: huge improvements in energy efficiency, cost savings for DH customers and greater transparency in how these networks are performing.

While I think the Inside Housing article completely lacked balance, I agree that a wakeup call is overdue. A few organisations are planning for the EED but most don’t even know it’s coming. People need to get informed, and fast – because the implications for operators and consumers of district heat are huge.

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This is number 7 in a series on district heating. Here’s where to find  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Your district heating network might be perfectly designed, but if it’s not installed and commissioned right it is doomed to fail, potentially costing you and your tenants a huge amount of money. In this post, we’ll talk about how to get DH install and commissioning right.

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This is the fifth post in a series on district heating. Here’s where to find  1, 2, 3 and 4.

So far we’ve looked at how poor design, installation or commissioning can doom a DH network to poor efficiency. In this post, I’ll briefly outline why it’s important to monitor and look after a DH network throughout its life, and what can go wrong if you don’t.

Most DH systems are commissioned and then ignored. It may be many months or even several years before anyone revisits the scheme to look closely at how it’s operating, usually prompted by something going badly wrong. The first casualty of network neglect is efficiency.

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Last year the Energy Technologies Institute launched the £100m  Smart System and Heat Programme, which “aims to design a first of its kind Smart Energy System in the UK.” As part of this programme, they’re doing a £3m piece of research into consumer behaviour on heat networks.

A member of the research team got in touch this week to ask if she could come in for a chat about what behaviour trends we’re seeing at Insite, our metering and billing company that looks after around 7k customers on community heating schemes. She was really nice about it and we began to talk about potential dates for the meeting.

Then, as we talked on the phone, some other details began to emerge. Would ETI agree to show us interim results? No, interim results are typically only reported internally to ETI. What about final results? Well, maybe, it depends on whether the ETI members choose to release the results to the public – but there’s a good chance the results will not be released.

I was stunned. For clarity ETI is 50% funded with public money from BIS, DECC, TSB and EPSRC.

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I tweeted Tuesday that 1/2 of us don’t take basic actions to save electricity in our homes (citing Greenwise) and wondered whether all that wasted electricity might be equivalent to a nuclear power station. When I got home I took a stab at the numbers.

The verdict? There’s more than just one nuclear power station lurking in that wastage.

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