Virtual Heat Network Manager

Lead Participant: SE2 LIMITED


**Our project is for Virtual Heat Network Manager (VHNM) service for social housing providers.**

There are currently 14,000 heat networks in the UK, providing heating and hot water to over 450,000 homes. Social housing providers (Housing Associations and Local Authorities) are estimated to manage over 50% of these heat networks on a not-for-profit basis. All Committee on Climate Change scenarios for the UK's 2050 net zero carbon target require an increase in heat networks from 2% to at least 17% of all homes - that's over 4 million customers.

In order for heat networks to deliver on their low cost, low carbon potential, they must be effectively managed: an efficient heat network uses less energy and emits less carbon. However, heat networks can be complex: without careful and detailed management they frequently run at less than 50% efficiency. For social housing providers, heat networks comprise only a very small part of their wider organisational delivery. The data needed to run efficient heat networks is available but social housing providers simply do not have the resource to absorb and analyse it, meaning opportunities to improve schemes and to support customers are missed.

Inefficient heat networks also cost more to run. This increases running costs for customers, many of whom are on low incomes and at risk of fuel poverty or self-disconnection. Customers can't switch suppliers and so are more likely to suffer detriment than typical energy consumers: it's important to get heat networks working for them now.

Covid-19 has exacerbated problems for many customers, who are now facing lower incomes at the same time as they are having to be at home more. Housing association staff are even more stretched than usual and routine site visits to maintain the plant have had to be delayed.

Data without analysis and action does not lead to change. The VHNM will provide the data analysis service for social housing providers that they are under-resourced to deliver themselves. We will remotely monitor heat network data to assess and analyse heat networks for the early identification of scheme issues before systems fail, to identify scheme trends and support vulnerable customers, to assess costs and efficiency, to carry out annual reviews including tariff assessments, and to deliver improved scheme efficiency. This will help to ensure schemes are delivering the lowest cost and lowest carbon emissions. The VHNM can use data sources from any heat network and can be replicated across the UK.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

SE2 LIMITED £81,584 £ 65,267


ALCEDO RIPPLE LTD £18,124 £ 14,499
ADECOE LIMITED £18,124 £ 14,498
OCTAVIA HOUSING £8,157 £ 6,526


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