To make District Heating take off

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  • Establish a working model for networking heat networks, connecting HIUs, sensors and heat meters to the cloud, based on field trials.
  • Complete development on Embed database to serve as the centre for all data storage used by heat networks and modelling software. User data, and the enabled connections to it, would be managed by the user, enabling access to appointed utility companies, service engineers, or apps. Access to data is performed using standard secure internet protocols.
  • Make compliance to HIU and performance standards compulsory, making tests more accessible. The EST requires funding to safeguard the quality of the database services, and channels such as product testing ans reporting will assist.
  • Make data feed of anonymised operational data to Embed compulsory/highly desirable. Making everything work properly relies on data that systems can monitor for faults. The cost of hardware to make remote connections is now so low, and typically in place for billing purposes already, that it should provide no barrier.
  • Create open-source project for hosting software projects related to interconnection of services, combining with the existing Embed open-source project. The code will link into the Embed database, and will allow the collaborative development of network management software and user interfaces.
  • The primary open-source project is creating a modelling service to use sensor data and known installation parameters to predict installation and operating costs of planned developments. Establish key system performance indicators, and from sensor data provide online charts of the best systems in operation. Filters to be available along with means to compare performance of known systems in known conditions as well as costs.

This is a low cost approach to ensuring all heat networks that are installed have access to the most accurate design data, and also comply to performance requirements. It ensures that the best performing systems are highly visible - advances in technology that make a real difference will stand out in charts.

It is also aimed at simplifying the interaction with energy services by centralising user data and offering a single portal for all related services.

It is capable with a little effort to provide a free online service where you can geographically identify your development, answer some questions on the building design, and be presented with a report on how it could best be converted to a heat network. No sales person or optimist would have any say in selection. Only relevant data from what is already in operation somewhere would influence the selection.

The heat network transforms into something far more capable - a utility network, inter-connecting heat sources, heat loads, utilities, equipment, sensor data, historical data, financial services, and a collaboratively developed user interface. It is no longer a single isolated system, but rather a part of a much larger connected national energy network. The system has the potential to provide additional cloud-base services that may come out of a focused collaborative development process.

Everything required to achieve this is in place, and it is simply a matter of focusing on a common plan, and the willingness of the Energy Saving Trust to take on the mantle of custodians of our energy related data with a view to saving us all.