Innovation Birmingham Campus-based Heat Genius has launched the UK’s first heating control system that learns the typical occupancy patterns of each room in a home. This data can then be used alongside personal preferences to create the most cost and energy efficient heating programme.
The heating control system takes the place of a traditional boiler programmer and radiator valves. By fitting wireless occupancy sensors and combining these with wireless radiator valves, the system can learn when rooms are used and automatically adjust the heating accordingly. Following trials conducted in 15 test houses, Heat Genius has invested in first phase manufacturing facilities, which will enable 300 orders per month to be fulfilled. The cost of the system is £860 for a typical three-bedroom house.
Heat Genius is one of 11 start-ups on Innovation Birmingham’s Low Carbon Incubator Programme, which is part of the European-wide Climate KIC (Knowledge Innovation Community).
Alasdair Woodbridge, co-founder of Heat Genius Ltd said: “Independent studies – including those carried out by Microsoft and Cambridge University – have shown that the annual cost of heating a domestic home can be reduced by up to 25 per cent through the use of zoned programming. What we’ve developed is an ‘intelligent’ system that learns typical occupancy patterns and will work in the vast majority of UK homes that have broadband internet and central heating. The Heat Genius system can generate a £200 a year saving on energy bills for a typical three-bedroom semi-detached home, and across all types of houses the return on investment is three to four years, which is half the time of investing in a more efficient boiler.
“A zoned heating system is an ideal way of creating energy efficiencies in homes that are hard to treat with insulation, such as older period properties. It also addresses the fact people in the UK now run their homes at significantly higher temperatures in the winter than they did 40 years ago. Zoned heating means a boiler can heat up the radiators in rooms that are being used far quicker – and to a hotter temperature – than if it was working to heat the whole house.”
Heat Genius has also developed a smartphone app to enable the temperature of each room that has its wireless radiator valves fitted to be set independently. The data collected from the wireless occupancy sensors will indicate the times each room is typically in use, guiding the home owner on when to set the heating to be on. To achieve the greatest cost and energy efficiencies, the Heat Genius system can programme itself automatically, based on the data collected from the room occupancy sensors.
A list of qualified installers, who can install the system, as well as carry out boiler servicing, has already been established across the West Midlands. With the system now launched to the market, Heat Genius is seeking to work with many more installers, especially those based within the Midlands, however, the system is also safe to be installed by unqualified DIY enthusiasts.
Henriette Lyttle-Breukelaar, Head of Projects at Innovation Birmingham said: “Heat Genius is a very exciting start-up that has developed an innovative product for the low carbon sector, with a vast potential customer base. To think that you could enjoy the comfort of the rooms that you use most in the house being even warmer when you’re actually using them, without heating other rooms unnecessarily – and therefore saving money – is a concept that has very broad appeal. The system is also straightforward for DIY enthusiasts to install, keeping costs as low as possible.
“Heat Genius is one of 11 low carbon products and concepts that are currently being developed at the Innovation Birmingham Campus. This autumn, they will be entered into the European Venture Competition, which is being held in Wroclaw, Poland. The Competition will enable the start-ups to significantly raise their profile, and the event also provides excellent opportunities to network with entrepreneurs and decision makers from the other participating RIC regions; Valencia (Spain); Emilia Romagna (Italy); Hessen (Germany); Lower Silesia (Poland) and Central Hungary. Furthermore, the most successful low carbon start-ups can apply for grants of up to €20,000 to assist with launching their products to the market.”
Further details of the zoned heating programmer can be obtained from www.heatgenius.co.uk