My reflections after two years since launching Fresh Heat Networks.
Is it like a real job?
Any business owner that says that running their own business is not like a ‘real’ job may be being slightly economical with the truth. I’m an ‘early bird’ and I get up at 5AM every day and I’m ‘on it’ at 6AM regardless of the workload, what changes based on my work load is my finish time. So, it is a real job, with one major difference.
The Difference – It’s all about being focused on the mission and the reason for doing this that makes this different and doing everything I can to achieve the best work / recreation balance.
Clarity – It’s about being able to have absolute clarity of purpose AND being able to do something about it.
The Purpose is straight forward, it is helping clients make sense of heat networks, putting them in the driving seat to get the heat network they and their tenants deserve rather than what they are given. Providing low carbon low OPEX heating solutions that enable people to be able to afford to heat their homes.
Independent Advice and values – We cherish and protect our independence. We are doing our very best to live by our core values of honesty, integrity, and professionalism. This enables us to be independent and give you the client the very best advice.
Before I started Fresh, I thought that clients and their tenants sometimes got a raw deal when it came to installing, maintaining, and operating heat networks. It became a simple choice; I could stand by and watch this happen or I could do something about it and really help drive change.
I have been ‘lucky’ to work with some great clients over the last two years. The clients I ‘choose’ to work with tend to share the same purpose and values. If our value set clashes then I respectfully decline to work with them, it really is that simple.
The Mission – how are you performing?
After two years of running ‘Fresh’ I really do believe that I am making a real difference. There have been some major frustrations mainly around how quickly clients act on our proposals and the (very) frequent requests for free work when ‘you’re in the area’ gets a little wearing at times.
Thank you for reading this far, I’ll lightly touch on July’s workload.
Mentoring – I have really loved helping the next generation of engineers this month. It’s not about offering advice, it’s about providing an independent and strictly confidential ‘ear’, listening to their hopes and concerns. I am definitely getting older and I’m at that point where mentoring engineers is about leaving a legacy and giving something back to the industry. I do this through structured mentoring processes like the Heat Exchanger scheme and more usually through LinkedIn messenger and on the mobile. I want to do more of this going forward and to be absolutely clear, it’s the only service that I provide for free!
We provided in depth CP1 2020 training for a client which included outlining the process to conduct heat network optimisation surveys. Lots of intelligent questions from the client around BMS controls and buffer vessel integration.
We have quite a few surveys on the go and It’s that time of year where my mind moves to the topic of how we conduct surveys. Most of our surveys fall into the following categories:
• Energy meter system fitness for purpose and pre-handover checks.
• Boiler dilapidation.
• Plant Room including BMS review and providing an asset register.
• Heat Network Optimisation
• Heat Network decarbonisation (stand-alone heat pumps or hybrid).
• Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES).
• Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS).
We are always looking for ways to up our game when it comes to conducting surveys. To this end I have listed the whole systematic step by step process to producing the above surveys and these are being uploaded to Google Forms. We are also looking a 3D plant room scans with data tags on the main components. This will ensure we can offer the same quality to clients while scaling up our survey operation.
We’ve been successful in securing the following new assignments this month:
• Boiler dilapidation surveys for a new housing provider client in the Midlands.
• IRMA Report for a large mine water scheme in the North East.
• Plant Room optimization surveys for a new client in London.
• Decarbonisation surveys for a new client in North London.
• Grant support decarbonization surveys across the UK.
Lots of report writing this month based on the surveys we completed last month. Moving to Google forms will help the process.
That’s it for now, come back in a month to see what we’ve been up to in August.