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Heat Networks

In June 2019 the UK became the first economy in the world to pass laws designed to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. To realise this objective, the government pledged to ban gas boilers in all new builds from 2025, which are to be replaced by low-carbon technologies such as heat networks. The Committee on Climate Change estimates that heat networks could provide as much as 20% of the UK’s heating requirements by 2050.

We’re proud to be playing a key role in the UK’s transition to net zero, having launched our own heat network solution for managing agents and housing associations.

What is a heat network?

Heat networks (also known as communal or district heating schemes) are the solution of choice for supplying heat (and/or cooling) efficiently to large apartment blocks currently being constructed. By generating energy in a centralised plant room and distributing it for space heating and hot water to more than one final customer, these schemes are widely regarded as providing stronger efficiencies, lower energy costs and reduced carbon emissions than the traditional approach of localised gas boilers.

These low-carbon systems offer a wealth of financial, social and environmental benefits, allowing residents unlimited access to heat and hot water whenever they need it, at an affordable price.

It’s estimated that Heat Networks

Reduce carbon dioxide by

tonnes a year

Save customers

pounds a year on energy bills

Could serve

million customers by 2030

Could provide

%

of UK heating needs by 2050

Billing solutions

Many heat network owners, typically the Freeholder or Housing Association, do not realise they represent the de facto ‘Heat Supplier’ under the Heat Network Regulations.

By law, the Heat Supplier must accurately and regularly bill residents for the heat, cooling and water they extract from the system. We take on this responsibility on behalf of the Heat Supplier, providing tariff setting, bill generation and recovering payments where necessary. Our dedicated multi-lingual customer service team is easily accessible and on hand to take billing queries and explain tariffs, so you don’t have to.

With three decades of experience, we understand the need for complete transparency and providing a customer service that is second to none. Residents can pay their bills through a variety of methods, such as by phone, direct debit and online through our customer portal. We also offer payment plans to those who might be struggling.

Our customer portal allows residents to manage their energy usage, make payments, provide meter reads and notify us when moving in or out of their home. Residents can also find handy information on how their heating system works, energy saving advice and frequently asked questions.

Managing

metering points

Recording

meter reads a day

Pre-payment solutions

Prepayment meters are becoming increasing popular as they provide residents with complete control over budgeting and managing energy consumption.

A collaboration of PAYG technology and risk management, iKnoWatt is a prepayment unit designed to work specifically with heat networks, providing two-way communication between the resident and Heat Supplier.

Acting as a hub within the home, iKnoWatt gives residents complete control and the ability to only pay for what they use – no estimated reads, no unexpected bills.

Incorporating PAYG technology maximises the environmental benefits of heat networks. We’ve found that providing consumption visibility encourages residents to make informed decisions towards reducing their energy usage, avoiding waste.

Residents can easily top up through a variety of methods, such as online, by phone and at retail outlets facilitating PayPoint.

Operation and optimisation

It’s our priority to ensure heat networks run efficiently and meet expectations of all stakeholders. We offer a range of operation and maintenance services which can be tailored to suit specific requirements and portfolios.

Adopting a complete system approach or hybrid solution through our Full ESCo or ESCo Lite offerings, we operate and maintain systems on behalf of the Managing Agent or Housing Association, ensuring optimum efficiency.

Our skilled force of CIBSE qualified engineers can investigate and remedy any issues found onsite, identifying improvements and delivering a solution to you straight out in the field.

The Heat Network Life Cycle

With new developments, we prefer to get involved during the initial planning phase to ensure optimum project delivery. Early involvement allows us to offer guidance and expertise throughout the process, to ensure a seamless handover and network operation thereafter.

We believe in six vital steps to create the ideal heat network: