Natalia Riga, Chirpy Heat
Six months ago, I embarked on a journey with Chirpy Heat, delving into the dynamic sector of heat networks. A sector entirely new to me at the time. In my quest to understand and contribute to this specialised field, I eagerly sought opportunities to expand my knowledge. One such opportunity arose when the prospect of a site visit emerged, offering a firsthand look into the intricacies of a heat network optimisation study for a social housing provider in the Midlands.
Many of our clients find that their heat networks are not delivering on their promise of low carbon, low cost and reliable heating but are now working to change this with our help. A well-run heat network will reduce costs for housing providers and customers and also deliver better service and reduce the risk of complaints. In the time since I have joined the team, I have come to understand the full range of services that we provide – from the board room to the plant room that includes management, finance, tariff setting, customer services and of course regulation and compliance. This site visit was an opportunity to learn more about what actually happens on site and the impact it has.
The experience not only fuelled my curiosity but also reinforced my commitment to making a positive impact in the field. From the first step on site, I met our Technical Consultant team and the day unfolded as a journey of exploration and problem-solving.
Our mission was clear: conduct a comprehensive optimisation study to enhance the efficiency of the heat network. The responsibility was significant, but so was the potential to make a meaningful impact to ensure optimal living conditions for the residents while minimising their energy costs. The excitement of this challenge delved us into the intricacies of the heat network.
In the plant room, where the heart of the heat network beats, we worked together to analyse the data we had collected. The heat and temperature readings weren’t just figures; they were clues guiding us to the root causes of inefficiency. This collaborative analysis was a testament to the power of teamwork, where each team member’s contribution, no matter how small, was acknowledged and valued.
The pipework, like veins running through the building, guided us as we meticulously examined heat, flow temperature, return temperature, and the delta temperature across the scheme. Each data point was like a piece of the puzzle, and our determination fuelled our progress. This wasn’t just about numbers; it was about understanding real-time operations, risks, and helped to determine the effectiveness of heat delivery for that scheme.
One of the day’s challenges was the problematic Heat Interface Units (HIUs) in certain flats: these HIUs were causing supply disruptions and inefficiencies that demanded a blend of technical know-how and problem-solving skills. The Optimisation Study isn’t just about gathering data and spotting issues; it is about understanding the temperature differentials and identifying areas where heat was lost or wasted, and how we counter these problems with resolutions. These insights are crucial for leading us into sustainable and efficient future.
As a Junior Consultant, the experience of working closely with experienced professionals in such a dynamic environment was both enriching and empowering. The expertise of my colleagues provided invaluable insights, guiding me through the complexities of the optimisation study. Questions were encouraged, fostering an environment of continuous learning.
Our efforts weren’t just about solving technical problems; they were about making a tangible difference in the lives of the social housing residents. The realisation that our work directly impacts the comfort and well-being of others added a sense of purpose to our endeavours.
My take aways
Reflecting on the day, the true enjoyment emerged not only from the technical aspects of the job but also from the synergy of the team. The collaborative spirit and the satisfaction of overcoming challenges together made the experience truly rewarding.
In the life of a Junior Heat Network Consultant, each day unfolds as a new chapter in the journey of professional growth with a drive to a greener future. The commitment to making a positive impact on social housing remains at the forefront of what Chirpy Heat does every day.