S2E25 - Ben Carter, New Business Development Manager at Minibems

Ben Carter is the New Business Development Manager at Minibems. Minibems is a demand management system for complex heating systems that enables improved efficiency and fuel cost savings thanks to intelligent control and monitoring technology, paired with integrated billing.

Highlights:

  • How the Minibems idea was born
  • Difference between a communal heat network and a district heating network
  • Brief history of district heating in the UK
  • Why housing associations and councils are interested in using Minibems
  • How Minibems is helping reduce callout rates 
  • Condensing gas boilers
  • Checking the return temperature is less than 55
  • Problem of gas boilers that are mis sold to be condensing and hence more efficient than claimed
  • Minibems work by optimising between flow rates and water temperature.
  • Why everyone should get a room-by-room heat loss assessment
Useful links:

Minibems

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Transcript

Intro: (00:08)

Welcome back to the Green Element Podcast where we feature business leaders and innovators transforming their operations to be more environmentally and socially sustainable. I’m your host will Richardson and I can’t wait to meet our guest today and help you on your journey of sustainability.

Will: (00:27)

Ben, welcome to the Green Element Podcast. Thank you so much for joining today. Ben, you’re from a company called Minibems and you work with heating and optimizing heating controls and making sure district heating is more efficient. Can you tell us a bit more about your business and what your purpose and who you work with please?

 

Ben: (00:48)

Very much so. Thanks very much Will. It’s very good to be here on the Green Element Podcast. Yes. So Minibems stands for mini building energy management system and we work in the heating space specifically, within heating networks. And we came from a renewable energy background, a lot of biomass, small district heating systems. So because all of those systems were getting metered and measured as part of a thing called the Renewable Heat Incentive, we were sticking these system thinking they were going to be quite efficient and we found because we were able to measure how much fuel was going in and exactly how much energy was coming out. In fact, there was a big disparity between energy and actual effective energy use at the point of use, so there’s a big inefficiency problem and about four or five years ago, the penny dropped with our CEO Finian Parrick and he started looking at it quite seriously and Minibems was born out of this idea of how can we get the energy management right?

 

Ben: (02:05)

How can we figure out how to use that fuel that we’re putting into the boilers with district and communal heating and really turn into the maximum amount of energy used. What that’s turned into is an on one level very specific technical solution, which I can, I can tell you about, but essentially it’s captured by the idea of flow rate optimization, but that, that needs a little bit of unpacking. But, um, what we found when we started looking at this is that we found that incumbent technology is based around big beautiful boxes of hardware in plant rooms that are generally very expensive very big and essentially very focused specifically on the boiler and not on the heat network itself. So it’s like turning the Titanic that kind of thing. A very big, not very granular, not very agile pieces of technology. Minibems is essentially try and take that big box and turning into tiny small box that we put at every single point of use broker system, so within every single flat, for example, on a heat network. So when we’ve say Minibems, we’re talking about moving the big hardware technology out of the plant room and putting that same level of sophistication, but at every single point of energy use through the heat network.

 

Will: (03:34)

Okay. Brilliant. Brilliant. We will go into more detail and how it all fits together. Um, what sort of customers do you end up with them? Who do you end up working with?

 

Ben: (03:46)

Yeah, like all startups. We are a startup, going to go for about officially, you know, this is our entering our fourth year. Um, we, uh, we thought our market was born and uh, slowly but surely we discovered it was another, we started off thinking it was all about the plant room as well. And actually we found that the people really like working with us, our housing associations, local authorities and also private residential developers because they own systems that include the heat provision to lots of end users.

 

Will: (04:22)

And do they pay for energy at the end of it or,

 

Ben: (04:26)

So we sell our system to the client for us, our housing associations socializing in their private residence with developers and the end user. So the person who lives in the flat in the tower block say they pay for their heat thye pay specific for the heat from the owner of the heat networks. So that would generally be the housing association.

 

Will: (04:50)

And what are the reasons why they would use you? I mean what, um, other than less energy, what are the reasons?

 

Ben: (05:00)

Yeah. Okay. So when you look at, just to clarify what a heat network is, you’ve got two types of heat network. You’ve got a communal network and a district heating network. Commonly network is, is simply any singular specific building with some kind of boiler or heat generating plant inside it and heating up all the different offices, flat species within that building. So classically that would be a tower block. The residential teller block may be in a city center and we would be feeding the water through that and heating up all the different flats. Within that, a district heating network is where you’ve got multiple buildings on the same heating networks. You’ve still got centralized source of energy and then feeding in different ones. Okay. Those are the two different types of common on district. The reason why housing association or council would be interested in working with us is because they have a responsibility to provide the heat and to ensure that he is delivered reliably.

 

Ben: (06:13)

And generally because they’re in the social housing sector, they needed to be affordable. And particularly given where we are these days, there’s ever more emphasis on making sure it’s low carbon. So you’ll have housing association X put up a new tower block for a hundred homes, a hundred flights and they have got a long term commitment to the end user to the resident. And they need to make sure that over the course of the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years, anyone who’s living in any one of those flats is, you know, is not getting put into fuel poverty is able to, you know reach comfort at a price that they can afford is not experiencing breakdowns too often. And so that’s sort of the very first existential pieces. It’s, how can we help, you know, the question, the hosting associations asking themselves how can we ensure that these, these people that we, that we, you know, we have a responsibility to look after, can do it reliably.

 

Ben: (07:15)

And the reason why they speak to Minybems is because over the past say 10,15 years or 20 years, there has been a slow increase in the deployment of heat networks within housing associations and like lots of new technologies when a new generation of people, of engineers, et cetera are breaking this technology on. There’s a lot of mistakes that are made. So we find that heat networks don’t work reliably. We find that heating networks use a lot of primary fuel. We find, and this is a key part, we find the heating networks, we don’t have the data for any given heat network to understand why it’s working the way it’s working, how it can be improved and whether in fact it’s doing what it’s meant to be doing. So there is this idea of you stick the heat in,u stick the plant and you provide the heat as long as no one calls you up and says, you know, I’ve got a problem, then it must be working fine. And that’s kind of where we are in many of the 14,000 works in the UK. So yeah, I mean that’s kind of where we start from that existential can we provide useful heat, affordable and reliable.

 

Will: (08:28)

It’s funny isn’t it, that you’ve said that we’re starting to see more and more of them. There were a huge amount of them but a hundred years ago also, with district heating. Um, I remember reading a long time ago about Westminster and how they’ve got district heating in Westminster. And then you’ve got, has Southampton got quite a big um, central heating district because it runs on thermal energy that’s got its own district heatting. I know Woking has uses district heating through their swimming pool and that was set up a long time ago. So yeah. And then of course, Sweden has been using closed loop heating with factories and houses and using excess energy for a very long time. And quite frankly, why we haven’t done that. I have no idea. But I do find it funny that we’re kind of going back into what happened before. It’s like, seriously, we have to learn again.

 

Ben: (09:29)

Listen, that is a spot on. I think you’re spot on there and say, I mean there’s nothing specific he knew about this idea of saying, huh, you know, we’ve got a core power plant over here. It’s got a lot of waste heat. Let’s chuck it into the local leisure center. Let’s put it into the local buildings. I mean, that’s essentially why heating networks existed before actually rather than build another boiler plant , why don’t we just take some cheap waste heat from the guy next door kind of thing. So you’re spot on that. At Southampton, that’s I think the biggest district heating network in the UK, and that’s been there in the s. I have stayed in a flat in Pimlico, uh, in, in, it’s a big estate with maybe, I don’t know, two, 3000 flats on it. I was one of the people, I think it might be, I think we could, we’ll get is right on the banks, the river Thames there and eh, you know, it is, you know, right in a century. But the big gas boiler, and it is the perfect example of how bad the heat network can be. Don’t get me wrong, but I’ve stayed in that flat and I’ve stayed in summer and literally it on six months off, six months.

 

Will: (10:49)

I actually think, I know which flats, it’s not the people who stay. And there’s some friends who are in the same flats and he complains a lot about how he has to literally have his windows open the whole time because it’s such a hot flat.

 

Ben: (11:02)

Exactly. So you’ve got your six months when it’s on or eight months, whenever it is, and then, you know, there’s absolutely zero control. There’s zero, um, detail on the, you know, as a function of the demand from it for each flight. So there will be times in the, you know, autumn where everyone’s windows are open. That’s the only way they can get rid of the heat to make sure they got some air. So I mean that’s how bad it can be. And of course we’ll, that’s a great opportunity for improvement as well. Yeah. But no, certainly it is a totally, it’s a well understood basic technology. You’re right, there was then this, I think it was maybe in the seventies and eighties when maybe we moved to electric, you know the oil price rise. They were a number of different factors, but we sort of kind of forgot about it.

 

Ben: (11:52)

And then it was the nineties and noughties that we started sort of seeing this idea I think partly because of the green, you know, and the low carbon movement it was, Oh wait a second. Well options do exist out there. So maybe more forward thinking housing associations, councils thought, ahh let’s that’s an idea. But then as you say, a whole generation that had missed the learnings. So it was, there’s a lot of heat networks out there that aren’t running properly, but we can get into what sort of design and space and specific to that. But that’s what we see. You know, what we see is one heat network after another that is failing to deliver on the promise of efficiency.

 

Will: (12:33)

It’s such a great concept and it’s a great way to reuse heat and use heat really efficiently.

 

Ben: (12:43)

Yeah. So, no, no, I was just going to say it’s interesting because, so you’ve got, you know, you can have a boiler, right? You can have a heat network with a boiler that I would choose. Okay. Okay, great. It’s one boiler so you don’t have to stick a hundred boilers and it’s just one big boiler getting them all up. And once again, the basic law of returns to scale, right? It should be giving you some efficiencies and all the rest of it. But it gets really exciting when you, and I’m gonna say something that might be slightly controversial now because not everyone believes that we should be putting up energy from waste supplies, but certainly as an interim technology energy from waste seems to be a good idea, right? Getting energy out of our rubbish. Until we can figure out a way of getting rid of waste completely out of the supply chain, we still need to get rid of the rubbish rather than landfill and the reality is that a lot of energy from waste plants are getting built in the UK.

 

Ben: (13:36)

If we bring energy from waste alongside wasted energy, i.e. exhaust heat. That comes out of factories that comes in and buildings and comes out of, you know, anything that’s creating excess heat. You suddenly had this fantastic essentially low cost, generally very available source of heat that you can then bring into heat network. So you don’t actually, the point being is wouldn’t it be cool if most heat networks didn’t even need to put in a gas boiler or any other type of heat generated equipment? At first, you’re just like a tentacle grabbing whatever heat is around the place and then just sticking it in. And that’s, that’s where you got a million interesting opportunities.

 

Will: (14:19)

Yeah, it makes me think of Puddle Town in Dorchester. It was Prince Charles kind of town, the Dorset Cereals are based there, and I used to audit them and they’ve kind of, the towns almost grown up around them now. So there’s actually quite a lot of stuff around them and they, I don’t think they produce that much heat, so it wouldn’t be pertinent to them. But the concept of having a large distribution place within a town, and if that was a, I don’t know, something that did produce a lot of heat, then it could help that. And you’ll getting Swedish and mentality on it.

 

Ben: (15:07)

Exactly. I mean, I think one of the reasons why heat network is a good long term bet is that once you got the pipes in the ground and you’ve got the pipes transferring, this hot water to the flats and the offices, et cetera, you’re not committed to any specific technology that generates the heat at source. Yeah. So, you know, Puddle Town, you know, Dorset Cereals, maybe Dorset Cereals moved away and you know what else can come and all, but you’re able to grab heat from the local river or whatever it happens to be. It’s, you’ve got that flexability of what is the next best way of bringing heat into the system.

 

Will: (15:47)

Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. Going into Minibems and the way that you run as a business, I’m assuming that you are a sustainable and ethical business.

 

Ben: (16:03)

I shouldn’t laugh. Of course we are. You know what they say about assuming? Of course. So I just step back just, you know, I, my personal professional ambition and you have a personal professional. I think my, my personal and professional ambition is to, you know, walk the talk. Right and try and live and work in a way that really does align with the values of environmental sustainability, you know, um, reducing my and humanity’s impacts on the environment, leaving the world a better place, you know, all that good stuff. That to be honest with you, I’d be surprised if any human doesn’t agree with those things, but it’s how you get there and Minibems is born very much of that, you know, it is born out of a genuine desire to make energy systems as sustainable as possible. Um, no, you know, so that’s, that’s our goal. That’s our DNA. It’s how can we do this now and, yeah, so it’s, you know, uh, I think I’m starting because I don’t know if there’s any specific definition of, of sustainable gear that you’re looking for you.

 

Will: (17:26)

No, I don’t think there is. I think it’s more just understanding your ethos behind the company. I mean, you’re obviously clearly driven as an organization to help, you know, help with lower the cost of th at pricing, poverty alleviation, um, helping organizations reduce their environmental impact, but just wondering how you do it internally. So when it comes to reducing your environmental impact in carbon footprints of humans, what would you say your single biggest challenges are or frustrations?

 

Ben: (18:02)

Right. Yeah, so I think to be honest with you it’s, but it’s probably transport. So we are essentially a software based heating solution these days. So off the top of my head I would say transport and potentially that sort of weird and wonderful piece about how, what is the, what is the carbon footprint of our data, the storage of our data and the storage of our data going forward as we aspire to bring on many thousands of people onto the Minibem platform. But I think on a day to day basis, it’s the amount of travel that we have to do as a company and how do we avoid flying basically, which is just not easy.

 

Will: (18:46)

Right. One of the things that your business, I remember when we first chatted, I was, and it goes into this transport that you’ve just been talking about, is lots of companies that are in the maintenance go to sites because that’s what they have to do. But what you can do that is different is you’re able to review the site from…

 

Ben: (19:12)

Yeah, from our dashboard on our computer. It did tell you what it is kind of funny. I think we’re getting into eh technology of absurdity sometimes. So to give you an example, I was in a taxi last night, it’s just come to my head, but it’s been a taxi last night with my girlfriend and she did not tell the taxi driver where we were going on her online taxi service and said, have you received it? And he said yes. And so you know, everything has to happen by the dashboard these days and to the same extent when we go on site. Yes, I’m sorry. So we can see things remotely. Of course we do. But sometimes when we’re commissioning we look at our unit and of course the unit does. We can’t tell anything about our unit anymore unless we have our computer next to us actually see what’s going on inside.

 

Ben: (20:06)

And sorry, that’s not quite your point. Sorry. It’s just this is quite absurd. Sometimes you think, wow, I can look at the thing. But of course it doesn’t tell me anything unless I’ve got my screen next to me. That’s where the flip side is. That of that of course is that you could be in Timbuktu and you could, you could lead into the the glide school network scenario with Minibem and figure out exactly what’s going on and you’re spot on when it comes to unplanned maintenance, both for your boiler room and for any heat system in the world. Certainly in the UK today, generally it’s, remember how I talked about it at the beginning. We know it’s working when we don’t have so much shouting at us, it’s not working. Yeah. The business as usual protocol if no one’s calling up its great, but if someone calls up, well, we better get to say quickly and figure out and let’s see if we can figure it out in the first, second or third trip. So there’s a lot of ongoing that is potentially be our biggest environmental impact, reducing all that transport visits, but to and from site.

 

Will: (21:06)

Yeah. Have you ever done a case study on that and looked at it?

 

Ben: (21:11)

Listen, I’m on my list of to do’s. There’s case studies, I think I must’ve written it down on my to do list about a hundred times. We are getting close to the state, which includes the stage, you know where we have enough white sites going for enough time to be able to start tabulating these things. Well I can tell you, you believe that the average callout ratio, so that’s the number of callout for every 10 flats for you in the social housing sector. Unplanned ones. It’s eight callout for every 10th flat for you. Wow. That’s quite long. And that’s, that’s quite low because when people call up and say it’s not working, they’ve got, you know the, the person on the other end of the line just goes, I’ll send an engineer. You have no way of being able to diagnose remotely like we can. What else would they do?

 

Ben: (22:07)

Cause they want a, they want the, they don’t want to have another angry phone call and be, yeah, they want to resolve it so that they can move on to the next thing. Yeah. So the second engineer, never guess what? Sometimes they send an electrician when a plumber’s required, sometimes they send a plumber when an electrician’s required so that, you know, these are the sorts of simple mistakes. Hmm. That get made and all the time. So we have found, and this is not to confirm for final data, but we have looked at a section, uh, one specific client and our, our callout ratio dropped two out of 10 from eight of 10. So, you know, that’s, that begins to tell a story. That’s that that’s all part probably that’s probably not the whole story and you need to drill that a little bit more into that, see exactly what that’s talking about. But this is the stuff we’re getting. Yeah, that’s pretty good.

 

Will: (23:08)

Um, you’ve talked about the business, what you do. Is there anything else you want to add to, um, to yeah, to what it is that you, you do? Um, because we did talk about condensing boilers and et cetera. I think, um, it was interesting, I think, I think probably most of our listeners would be quite interested to know what you talked when you talked about the condensing boilers. Um, you said to me because I was about, Oh wow, I didn’t realize that.

 

Ben: (23:41)

Yeah. Okay, good. I think the condensing boiler example is, is a good example of what we’re dealing with heat network systems generally. Our core, you know, if we look at the physics of what we’re doing with the energy, and I’m not an engineer, so I will keep it as, as simple as I can and we are slowing down the movement of water around the system. Don’t have to understand why the, generally what happens is the water in your, in your, at your home or an on a heat network is getting thrown around very, very quickly. And if you imagine that radiators, you don’t have to imagine it. Radiators are designed to take heat out of the water. That’s what they’re designed to do. They’re designed to be very good at cooling, then the water and then heating up your room. Uh, if the water’s going really quickly through that radiator, it doesn’t have much chance to heat in the room. Does that make sense? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean that’s basically what we talk about is the optimization of flow rates, which is basically making sure we slow down the water to just the right amount so that we’re hitting desired temperature versus the temperature going into the radiator. Now if you do that really well, you start matching on for every unit of fuel that goes into your boiler at home, you get nearer and nearer to one, you know a boiler, sorry, one unit of energy going into your room, right? Okay. Today most heat networks

 

Ben: (25:41)

are maybe three units of energy to one unit of heat to three units going into the boiler, one unit going into your home. Most boilers at home will be something like maybe two units, one or two units of energy going in to one actually being used. There’s a lot of reasons for that. Since 2004, all gas boiler in the UK, domestic gas boilers getting fitted should have been condensing gas boilers. What that basically means is heats up the water, push it out to your radiators, and when it comes back, any residual heat gets put back into the water that’s about to go to the radiators. So you’re recovering some of the heat that hasn’t been put in the room so that, um, otherwise essentially it gets lost and gets turned into steam or hot air exhausts and thrown into the air. So that’s heat and energy going out the way boilers are meant to work is that they’re meant to create hot water at say 60 or 70 degrees, go to the radiators and come back at a temperature lower than 55 degrees, preferably as low as 30 degrees. So 70 degrees, that’s your radiators and you’re coming back in an ideal world, 30 degrees. Why is that? Because the water does not condense and then put that excess heat back into your, you’re heating water. If it’s, if it’s above 55 degrees to the water, needs to be 55 degrees or lower for to take that excess wouldn’t be wasted heat and put it back into the water, goes to your radiators again. Tat’s the theme and that is what is tested in every single lab for every single approved boiler getting fitted in the UK today there are 25 million supposedly condensing gas boilers in the UK. 25 million. Many, how much we’ll get to that bit, so 25 million. All of them go through the tests at lab and if I don’t get certified saying, fantastic, you’re a brilliant condensing gas boiler, but these are lab conditions and they are all signed off under these pockets. Set conditions, you’re going out to 70 or 60 and coming back to 13 you are a brilliantly condensing the gas boiler. Thank you very much. Now I challenge every single one of your listeners who has a gas boiler to go to their gas boiler and its its a condesing one. You can check what temperature your flow is, so the heat going out your repeaters and what temperature returning coming back from your radiators. It would be an amazing little bit of a survey to find that. How many of them have got a return temperature of less than 55.

 

Will: (28:53)

Why don’t you email me and let me know and I’ll pass it on to then.

 

Ben: (29:02)

That would be fascinating. It would be great to hear that because if it’s above 55 it is not condensing. It is not condensing. All the supposed gains are not being or not being, not being accessed and here’s the government has legislated, right, for all these condensing gas boilers to be put in. As a matter of regulation, and I suspect, I don’t know this for certain, but I suspect that when this gets signed off and gets fed into their carbon emissions figures, it is assuming every single one of these gas boilers is condensing perfectly .

 

Will: (29:38)

So they’re less environmental because not working so efficiently.

 

Ben: (29:43)

And if those numbers are getting fed into our carbon budgets, it’s assuming that 25 million gas boilers are condensing. When I would confidently predict that a fraction of them actually are, which means where, you know, they’re assuming that a a much greater carbon reduction that then exists.

 

Will: (30:00)

So I’ve got two questions on that. What do you think the percentage difference would be? Um, are we talking 20% 10% 5% 30% roughly? Obviously you’re not, you’ve said that you’re not an engineer, so I’m not holding you to figures, but, um, yeah,

 

Ben: (30:17)

There’s a, there’s, I mean this is, this is called common sense. It’s not common knowledge.

 

Will: (30:24)

It is in your circles.

 

Ben: (30:26)

Probably depends on your, so it’s commonly accessible information and there’s a graph that I can actually share with you. Condensing will take it to, I think it’s 92% plus, right? Efficiency and non-condensing we’ll, we’ll, we’ll go down anywhere from, you know, we’ll basically be below that. So it could be, I don’t know, in total anywhere from five to maybe 10 or 15 percentage points of your total heat.

 

Will: (30:55)

Okay. So that would attribute that would account for ten five to 10% of the missions being wrong by the government.

 

Ben: (31:02)

Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.

 

Will: (31:05)

And the other question I’ve got is, is it possible to rectify that? So say someone emails us and contacts us and says, this is our temperature. Is there a way that they can make that enable that boiler to be more efficient?

 

Ben: (31:23)

Yes. So the reason why it generally is not set up like that is because most guys, gosh installers are a lot of them, excuse me. Um, they fit the boiler and they did and for some reason I don’t know why they don’t go as far as commissioning it to ensure or that are difference between the flow temperature and the return temperature. If you’ve got a good, um, you know, professional gas engineer, they will be able to set up your boiler to ensure that the flow is going out at one temperature and the return is coming at 55 degrees or lower when heating. So it’s a question of just changing the set things and getting that right.

 

Will: (32:07)

Right. Okay. So you don’t even need to add any information or you know, you don’t even need to add anything. You literally, you’ll have an onsite,

 

Ben: (32:16)

Exactly. I mean, here’s the thing. This is how those gas boilers would be sold.

 

Ben: (32:23)

They have been tested in the lab and they’d been told yet, you’re good to go so challenge your gas fitter, gas installer and the corresponding gas boiling manufacturer to install it. Commissioning to ensure that it is, it’s in those, those parameters us, but it is a condensing gas boiler and if it can’t then you’d been missoled. And if our 25 25 million missed sold gas boilers out there, that’s big deal. Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense.

 

Will: (32:54)

I’ve got another question which you may not be able to answer, but what suddenly we’ve talked about in the office recently was, um, and actually I’ve been trying to remember the name of it, but they kind of weather optimization. So, and it’s something that you can add to a boiler and it’s a sensor that sits outside and looks at the temperature outside and then regulates your boiler to the weather, you know, to the temperature. And I looked at mine and we’ve got a pretty standard boiler, I can’t remember. It’s called now. I was to boiler and it was 23 quid for this device. And I was a bit like, Oh wow, I cannot believe that it’s so cheap and I’m just about to try and look into how if I can fit it or if I can get someone else to fit it really easily because that made complete sense. And one of the, cause, one of the things that my other half and said is Oh wow, look how cold it is outside. Um, it does feel cold or in the house and it’s probably because the boiler is running with the temperature outside at 15 degrees but actually outside is minus five.

 

Ben: (34:02)

Yeah. So that’s called weather compensation cause the one where the compensation is totally an optimization and strategy of a heating system. You’ve got two strategies. One is, so whether whether compensation is increasing or decreasing the temperature of the water going to the radiators from boiler to radiators as a function of how warm or cold it is outside. So the warmer is outside the lower the temperature of the water going to your radiators. The cooler is outside the warmer the water go into your radiators. So it’s about that balance. Energy efficiency measures. Definitely. And so if you combined

 

Ben: (34:48)

varying the flow temperature with the speed, which is what Minibems do, there’s flow rate. That’s what we call true optimization where you’re really, you’re, you’re, you’re managing temperature and speed of water through the system, but your spots on weather compensation, once again, that should be, I would, I would argue that flow rates, flow temperature and flow ratio probably deregulate as standard. It is. Yeah. Right. They should be part of a sensible heating system.

 

Will: (35:20)

Yeah. Well I was just, I think we’re a bit surprised and we actually came across a really good video that describes it and I can share that at the bottom podcast for anyone that’s interested. I can’t remember who wrote it or whatever, but it’s on YouTube and it’s a three minute that says exactly how it all works and fits together.

 

Ben: (35:41)

Yup. Yeah. No, listen, it’s, it’s, it’s fairly straightforward once, you know, but it’s, it takes a bit of time just to sort of get a feel for it. Um, but yeah, no, I would invite all your, all your listeners in switching subscribers to yeah, just check what the flow temperature is, what the return temperature is and if the return temperatures above 55 degrees, you know, speak to the guy who fitted it and say, can you please get it below 55?

 

Will: (36:06)

Yeah. Yeah. Brilliant. What a great piece of advice. Well, I leaving on um, advices or anything else that you can share with anyone listening to our podcast?

 

Ben: (36:20)

Ooh, I’m trying to think about witty remark there. Nothing’s come to mind straight away. You know what actually, um, whenever you’re looking at your heating system, I think that, you know, looking, you know, speaking, finding out about the flow rate full temperature, I returned to just, sorry on your gasp was one thing. The other thing that I’m a big fan and it doesn’t happen enough, um, and it’s probably more applicable to businesses, but it could definitely apply to your house as well, is you know the next time if you’re thinking about putting a new heating system or if indeed you want to just audit your system to find out whether it’s actually matching what you need with the size of the system or size and boiler you bought. If you can bring in a company to do a heat loss assessment.

 

Ben: (37:26)

And what that is it’s a called a room by room heat loss assessment many firms will do for you free as part of their sales process and they go to every room. They measure up the dimensions, they take a note of the fabric of the wall and the type of window and they can calculate actually at minus seven degrees outside or minus two degrees outside. What size of heating system you actually need to keep your house warm to 21 or 22 degrees. Does that make sense? Yeah, poor time of the year. How much power do you need to get to this nice, comfortable piece? And traditionally, no one’s bothered doing it because it’s extra time and energy, right? So what happens is that time and time again, boilers or heating systems get oversized. Oversized. That’s what, that’s for. Our next podcast, we can talk about impact of the oversizing of systems because that’s another big source of inefficiency.

 

Will: (38:26)

Oh yeah, I am. I’ve got experience with it. We had an electric heater in our old flat and I decided to put in one heater, the guy that put it in insisted that we should have to, and I was, my gut feeling was, no, I don’t think we do cause it’s a bedroom and you don’t need your bedroom really, really hot anyway. Um, and we didn’t need to. And I was talking to someone about it and they said it’s because they were fitting it and they did not want you to be cold. They felt they had to say it. And you can understand that. That’s just empathy, isn’t it? But that empathy and that wanting to help would have cost us a huge amount more money.

 

Ben: (39:13)

In terms of fitting and, and then then the usage and it’s all because there’s not the tradition, the discipline of let’s measure the heat loss requirement in the first place.

 

Will: (39:23)

Yeah. Yeah. Brilliant. Brilliant. Well thank you so much for being on the podcast today. It’s been really, really interesting talking to you and learning about Minibems and what it is that you’re doing. Um, do keep in touch with all your stuff. Yeah, we should get you on in a year or two and find out where you are and what more projects you’ve been working on and what wall you’ve learned about something that we all use and take for granted and that’s heating. So thank you.

 

Ben: (39:53)

Be very happy to, well I really appreciate the chance to chat and share. So yeah, good on you.

 

Will: (40:00)

Today. We had Ben Carter on from Minibems and it is a brilliant podcast. I learned a lot and I hope you will learn a lot too their company works on district heating, but he goes into details of how your gas boiler and how your heating can be optimized at a very low to no cost and you could be able to gain 5 to 10% plus possibly more on your system for not very much input. We ask you to contact us, use all the normal channels or [email protected] Dot. UK. Thank you very much and I hope you enjoy the show.

 

Outro: (40:47)

Thank you so much for listening to the end of this episode. The green element book calls. Do take a moment and share this with your friends and colleagues and rate and review the podcast, whatever you get your podcasts. I’d love to know what has been your biggest takeaway from this conversation. What are you going to do differently? Please share your thoughts across social media and tag us so we can see them too at GE underscore podcast, the links and show notes for this episode. Visit our website, Green Element.co.uk/podcast. Thank you again. I hope you’ll join me on the next episode and together we can help create a better world.

 

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