About Chirpy Heat
Chirpy Heat brings sector leading knowledge and experience
Chirpy came in to being from our direct experience of trying to tackle communal heating from inside housing providers. Between us we have over 50 years experience of coming up with the solutions to make communal scheme deliver on their promises and to create heating systems that are financially viable, deliver great service and provide affordable and reliable heat for customers.
This means we understand the opportunities and the limitations that exist for housing providers – the financial constraints, the challenges of getting internal buy in and delivery, and of course meeting the needs of customers and the wider corporate objectives.
Above all we come from the perspective of the housing provider and ensure that our approach and solutions reflect the needs of the client. The Chirpy team includes experts on the technical issues, schemes and asset management, procurement, scheme finances and staff and customer engagement.
Meet the Team
Will has worked in Social Housing sustainability for 10 years, most recently as Head of Sustainability at Southern Housing Group.
During this time was responsible for overseeing their Heat Network portfolio from plant room to Board room, including internal management, contract management and customer service, helping to resolve many of the growing pains of becoming a heat network operator.
He served 3 years as Chair of the London Environment Group (LEG) of Housing Associations (2013-2016), 3 years as Treasurer and Advisory Board member of Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership and in 2018 co-founded ‘The Heat Network’ (formerly CHIRP) a best-practice sharing group for Communal & District Heating in Housing Associations.
Lisa joined the Chirpy Heat team in 2021. A multi-linguist and Economics graduate, Lisa has strong experience in the energy sector having previously worked for both E.ON and Robin Hood Energy. She brings an analytical and methodical approach to our heat network consultancy.
Alistair is a CIBSE Certified Heat Network Consultant and has worked in the heating industry for the last fifteen years.
He is passionate about creating fit for purpose low carbon energy efficient heat networks that help reduce fuel poverty.
His involvement encompasses the whole heat network process with a particular focus on correct design, installation, commissioning, and operation of heat networks.
Alistair also sits on the CIBSE West Midlands committee with an emphasis on training.
Rachael has worked in the sustainability sector for over twenty-five years. She co-founded SE2 in 2004, a small consultancy that brings together stakeholders to develop policies, strategies, guidance and practices to transform and decarbonise our energy system.
Through 2016-2019, Rachael worked within the Sustainability Team at Southern Housing, specifically focused on improving their new and existing communal heating schemes and processes, including efficiency analysis, tariff setting, customer communications and internal stakeholder liaison.
For a number of years, Rachael has also been closely linked into the heating sector through her work with the Association for Decentralised Energy (for whom she is also a Non-Exec Director), HNDU, HNIP, and various local authority networks.
Josh has heat network experience under his fingernails having worked at One Manchester as their first focussed heat network employee. Not only did he grapple with their metering and billing, but also helped the organisation take a strategic view to their portfolio, including repairs, maintenance and procurement.
Chris has many years experience in the energy and housing sectors, having previously managed all aspects of communal utilities and heat networks for Southern Housing Group. This included tariffs, budgeting and procurement strategies. Chris is a Prince2 qualified project manager and taken numerous projects to completion. He is passionate about sustainability and the role that Heat Networks have in this industry.
Nicholas has worked for local authorities and housing associations for over thirty years. Previously he was a Project Director at Places for People, one of the UK’s largest property management and development companies and a non-executive Director of Viridian Solar, the National Communities Resource Centre and is currently a Non-Executive Director of the London Small Business Centre.
During this time he has been responsible for a wide range of housing, energy and environmental initiatives nationally and internationally that includes new developments, existing communities, corporate action and national research. He developed one of the UK’s first successful energy performance contracts for heat networks that has now been rolled out across the UK. He has worked with a wide range of providers on all elements of their heat networks, as well as delivering training on heat networks.
Sarah is a passionately customer-focused heat network specialist with practical experience of delivery and operations. Sarah helped to set up the London Borough of Enfield’s own heat business Energetik and led the company’s communications and engagement functions.
Working both as a consultant and an employee for a range of organisations from social housing providers, local authorities and in regulated energy supply, Sarah’s focus has always been on consumer engagement and communications, quality of service and tackling fuel poverty. As a member of the Heat Trust’s stakeholder committee, the governing body of the heat network industry’s customer service and protection scheme, Sarah is at the forefront of policy and regulation development for heat customers
Metering and billing review
Faced with a lack of resource, Home Group approached Chirpy Heat to become their heat network consultant partner. Our work with Home Group has so far included:
- Ensuring regulatory compliance by completing their heat network notification to BEIS.
- Undertaking a review of their heat network management and metering and billing approach to enable them to develop a strategic approach.
- Procuring a metering and billing provider through a competitive tender
- Advising on a flagship district heating scheme
- Implementing their strategic approach through the creation of action plans, specifications, scopes of works and job descriptions.
Policy and tariff review
We have been working with Optivo since 2019, starting by helping them to develop a strategic approach across their heat network portfolio. Since then, we have been supporting them to implement our recommendations, with work including a tariff review, a regulation readiness review, a repairs and maintenance review, and the development of a customer service policy.
Options appraisal & training
Notting Hill Genesis
Additional capacity support
With over 8000 customers living on their own heat networks, Notting Hill Genesis is one of the larger heat network operators within the social housing sector. They approached us with three very specific projects that they needed additional capacity to deliver, and we were only too happy to help:
- Pre-market engagement ahead of their metering and billing contract procurement
- Income recovery strategies and procedures
- Improving customer communication
Heat Network Review
Our partnership with One Housing began when they asked us to review heat network proposals for a newbuild s106 scheme. Following this, One Housing issued a competitive tender to take a strategic approach across their heat network portfolio, which we won in collaboration with FairHeat and Lux Nova Partners. The project encompasses general operating principles, data and soft-market testing, affordability, procurement, customer communication, technical and legal work packages
Southern Housing Group
Expert Heat Network Partner
Southern Housing Group have recently appointed Chirpy Heat as their expert heat network partner to provide the following support:
- Strategic review of their existing metering and billing contracts and arrangements
- Heat network compliance review
- Training of internal teams of heat network management on topics including regulation, technical, tariffs and customer communication.
- Review of existing schemes for technical and efficiency improvements
Strategic Network Metering Review
Peabody has commissioned Chirpy Heat to undertake a strategic heat network metering and management review to consolidate their large number of existing heat networks. This comes on the back of Chirpy Heat undertaking an in-depth heat tariff review on an externally managed scheme with high levels of customer dissatisfaction and local councillor and MP complaints. This included liaison with managing agents, metering and billing providers as well as internal stakeholders.
Hyde Housing wanted to develop a strategic approach to the management of their heat networks. Chirpy Heat undertook a detailed market assessment, giving Hyde a clear understanding of the key issues, costs and options with recommendations for a phased transition. Following this, Hyde also asked Chirpy Heat for a review and update of their heat network tariffs, which we provided alongside estimated running costs and benchmarking for each scheme.
Cotman Housing Association, part of the Places for People Group, had a network that was failing to deliver a reliable service on a scheme in Norwich. This was particularly important because the scheme housed vulnerable clients. We assessed the scheme and came up with a range of low cost measures that enabled Cotman to address the issues and deliver the reliable service needed and avoid spending over £100,000 on new plant and pipework.
‘Really good to work with you…we appreciate the support and assistance’
Property and Compliance Manager
Expert Heat Network Partner
Origin Housing wanted to ensure that their new metering and billing provider would deliver the best service to them and their clients. Chirpy helped them with the production of an effective and challenging Invitation to Tender, market analysis and wider procurement support.
‘Everyone was very complementary about the work you did, so thank you very much’
Senior Project Manager
Walsall Housing Group
Walsall Housing Group (WHG) has a portfolio of heat networks that include medium and highrise flats and uses a range of technologies including Heat Pumps, Biomass, Gas and Solar. WHG asked us to undertake a review of a number of their schemes to help improve efficiency and ensure schemes were financially viable.
We were able to outline a range of low-cost measures that would significantly improve efficiency and reduce running costs.
Regulation Readiness Review
One Manchester approached Chirpy Heat to undertake a ‘Regulation Readiness Review’ and develop a strategic approach to metering and billing, including implementing transferrable protocol meters and consolidation of multiple contractors to one metering and billing partner.
Great Places knew they had a problem with four of their heat networks – one general needs and three extra care. The metering and billing service they were receiving was very poor and leading to lots of customer complaints. After forming an internal working group, they approached Chirpy Heat to help them untangle the problems and make recommendations on how to improve the current situation. Chirpy Heat also undertook a full compliance review and regulation readiness assessment for Great Places for their full heat network portfolio.