Visualise performance data, not just kWh
Ofgem will begin regulating heat networks by 2025. Changes will require all heat networks to report on their energy performance. Guru Pinpoint gives you the visibility to identify and fix problems so that your heat networks meet standards to avoid being flagged as non-compliant with regulation.
For network operators, it will be important that the data you’re submitting to Ofgem shows a well performing network. Submitting evidence of a poorly performing network is likely to mean the submission will be flagged up as a higher risk by Ofgem, potentially resulting in an audit and an imposed requirement for remediation. The best thing you can do is to collect data long before you have to submit it to Ofgem; that way, you have time to fix performance issues.
Our industry will need to make use of all heat network data to meet these requirements. Guru Pinpoint captures data across six registers: flow temperature (°C), return temperature (°C), flow rate (m3/hour), volume (m3), instantaneous power (kW), and energy (kWh). All six registers are needed to analyse heat network performance, it’s not enough to rely on infrequent kWh readings alone.
Guru Pinpoint displays this performance data and analyses all six registers – including using kWh data for heat loss calculations. Users can view real-time readings and enhanced data including delta temperature and heat losses across a network.
Understand volume weighted average return temperature
Guru Pinpoint also shows volume weighted average return temperature (VWART) by HIU mode. VWART is the best metric for understanding dwelling-level performance as it goes beyond showing the return temperature at a point in time and instead indicates how much water is being returned at that temperature.
Guru Pinpoint uses machine learning algorithms to determine which of the three modes an HIU is currently operating in (space heating, domestic hot water, or standby). It then calculates the volume weighted average return temperature for each mode – helping you to better diagnose problems and target maintenance visits or make remote changes.
For example, on the below heat network, the VWARTs by mode is clearly shown, which allows us to then sort the dwellings to identify that in this block it’s only five dwellings of the dwellings that are underperforming. This helps with the heat network operator target maintenance work.
Understanding where and why problems occur helps maintenance visits to go more smoothly on the day. Real-time data can be used to verify repairs or changes immediately to reduce the need for future call-outs.
View heat losses and heat loss per dwelling
Guru Pinpoint displays total heat losses and heat loss per dwelling for the entire network, and in zones downstream of any bulk meters. Dashboards and colour-coded network maps help to identify where heat losses are, supporting targeted interventions. Heat network performance has the biggest influence on resident heating bills and so accurately monitoring your heat network is of great significance in reducing customer bills.
For Ogem, as well as reporting, new and existing sites will also have to meet minimum technical standards including regulations protecting customers. Average heat loss data is available over 1 day, 7 days, 1 month, 3 months or 6 months, helping you to prepare for existing and future reporting requirements. Use data displayed on Guru Pinpoint to verify that regulatory and site-specific requirements are being met, both ahead of handover and in operation.
Better performance means reduced costs
If we consider the big picture of heat network management ultimately we continue to return to one simple fact; better performance means reduced costs for both the operator and the customer. Capturing and monitoring your heat network data is not just about reporting requirements but is also about making real changes that improve the efficiency of your heat network.
Inefficiency on a heat network acts as a multiplier of the underlying input fuel cost, whether that is gas, electricity or other sources. In short, inefficient networks use more fuel to deliver the same amount of useful heat to customers, and so they cost more to run – and those costs are usually passed on to residents.
- On a well-performing heat network, if 20% of the heat supplied to a heat network is lost from the network as heat losses, then 80% of the heat energy leaving the plant room is ‘useful’. The cost per unit of heat at the point of generation is divided by 0.8 (or multiplied by 1.25) to arrive at the cost per unit of heat consumed by customers on the network.
- On a poorly performing network, if 70% of the heat supplied to a heat network is lost from the network as heat losses, then 30% of the heat energy leaving the plant room is ‘useful’. The cost per unit of heat at the point of generation is divided by 0.3 (or multiplied by 3.33) to arrive at the cost per unit of heat consumed by customers on the network.
While many heat networks do run well, especially those that are monitored using performance data, many do not perform anywhere near their intended efficiency. Work carried out by Guru Systems for DESNZ found that on average many only deliver 36% of input energy to dwellings as useful heat, against design efficiencies of more than 80%.
Data visibility drives good performance
As we have discussed throughout, even where networks are well-designed and properly commissioned before residents move in, heat networks are often left to drift, with performance degrading over time.
This is often not due to a fault in equipment but rather is due to the accumulation of many small changes in the system over time, for example, maintenance engineers changing one part of a heat network without regard to the effect on the whole.
Access to detailed data for site-wide diagnostics allows problems or inefficiencies to be identified, reducing total energy costs. It can also point maintenance engineers in the right direction, reducing the time spent investigating problems on-site.
Use Guru Pinpoint to monitor, analyse and report on your heat network data and begin to improve the efficiency and performance of your heat network to reduce costs, meet regulatory requirements and reduce carbon emissions through better management.
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