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Sector leading knowledge and experience of heat networks

We are the champions!

Dec 15, 2021

We are very proud to reveal that this year Rachael Mills (SE2 and Chirpy Heat) and Billy Cliffen (Octavia) have been crowned winners of the 2021 Unlock Net Zero Climate Change Champions Powerlist for their exceptional work towards achieving net zero and their collaborative success trialling our new Heat Manager service.

And here’s why they were nominated …

Rachael Mills – Director SE2 & Chirpy Heat

Rachael is passionate about helping householders, communities and organisations find real solutions for a sustainable future.

She has worked in environmental sustainability for over 25 years, starting her career with National Energy Services and the Energy Saving Trust. In 2004, she co-founded SE2, helping individuals, communities and organisations build their capacity to tackle climate change. She has led research, policy development and stakeholder engagement projects for Government, local authorities, universities and housing providers.

She led stakeholder engagement work on energy supplier obligations between 2006 and 2015, creating the space for conversations between industry, campaigners and policymakers. The consensus she built led to an energy efficiency revolution in the nation’s housing stock through key programmes including CERT, CESP and ECO.

After a period as Acting Head of Sustainability for Southern Housing Group, she has focused on supporting the social housing sector to tackle the climate challenge, including:

  • Co-founding The Heat Network, a best practice sharing forum for heat networks in social housing that represents over 87,000 homes on more than 2100 networks – 15% of all households on heat networks
  • Serving as a Board Member for the Association of Decentralised Energy
  • Setting up District Heating Divas, a thriving networking group for women working in heat networks
  • Establishing Chirpy Heat, which helps social housing providers to deliver and manage low-carbon, low-cost heat networks. Since forming in 2019, Chirpy Heat has assisted 30 social housing providers, with over 3,000 heat networks.

Billy Cliffen – Sustainability and Energy Manager, Octavia

Billy Cliffen is a passionate and articulate advocate for tackling housing’s climate challenge. He has worked in the housing sustainability field for ten years, assisting housing associations to improve their environmental performance and reduce their carbon emissions both as an internal driving force and as an external expert consultant.

His current role combines a combination of strategic and operational responsibilities across a broad sustainability profile, including:

  • Heat networks: implementing best practice into design, managing metering contracts, ensuring good maintenance, and ultimately the resident experience of living on a heat network. His latest success was accessing Innovate UK funding in partnership with Chirpy Heat. This funding was used to investigate the use of heat network data to improve management – by detecting and rectifying inefficiencies, proactively spotting repair issues, identifying and supporting vulnerable residents as well as using real time data to reduce annual carbon emissions.
  • Net zero carbon: managing a programme of deep retrofit and accessing funding to deliver carbon reduction measures, ensuring Octavia’s workplaces improve their energy consumption and supporting residents to consume less energy.
  • Improving the environmental performance on Octavia’s properties including increasing biodiversity, reducing air pollution, improved waste management, reducing water consumption, and increasing building resilience to climate change.

Previous roles have included:

  • Energy consultant: supporting delivery on the Mayor of London’s successful Re:new programme delivering domestic retrofit across London
  • Graduate Sustainability Officer: at Peabody where he learnt about the sector through management of Solar PV and Utilities contracts.

You can read more about all the champions here: