The cost of installing pay-as-you-go (PAYG) heat meters is recognised as one of the main barriers to more widespread adoption of this technology by those operating heat networks. Complex equipment, the need for skilled staff and time spent on-site all add up to considerably high capital expenditure per property. And that’s before you factor in maintenance time and cost, and asset replacement. But there is a new solution that tackles this issue head on.
KURVE, the UK’s first app-based metering solution for heat networks, has a streamlined design which radically reduces the elements that need to be installed in the property, compared to similar PAYG products. Nothing extraordinary is required. It all starts with a standard M-Bus network but – and this is the crucial difference – the system arrives pre-wired and does not require an in-home display unit. This means there is less equipment at every touchpoint in its life cycle, from purchase and installation to maintenance and replacement due to faults or upgrades. This all translates into an estimated Capex saving of more than 60%.
Looked at in detail, it’s clear to see how SAV Systems and Insite Energy have used their extensive experience to address longstanding issues and develop KURVE as a low-cost solution.
The vast majority of the installation work is carried out at SAV’s dedicated, ISO 9001-certified facility, as opposed to on-site in a plant room or residential properties. This shift in effort not only reduces time spent on-site, but also removes the need for on-the-ground teams to receive high-level technical training. A win-win for a traditionally labour-intensive process.
There is no requirement to open the Heat Interface Unit (HIU); flying leads are provided for mains, thermostat and M-Bus connections.
The HIU contains an integral energy meter – referred to as ‘KURVE inside’ – prewired to control the pre-payment valves and pump.
The Kamstrup heat meter (model 403 or 603) is pre-wired and pre-calibrated, while the HIU is pre-checked to ensure it is ‘KURVE ready’ on delivery.
The KURVE cabinet itself has also been carefully designed to further reduce on-site labour requirements. Pre-assembled in SAV’s workshop, this protective and compact unit houses a Kamstrup Master, Moxa and 4G Router – all connected in advance. So, for the on-site team, it’s just a question of connecting to mains power, the ADSL and the M-Bus network.
Equally important to keeping KURVE’s capex costs down is the move to replace the familiar in-home display unit with a web-based app. While this undoubtedly equates to immediate savings by reducing purchasing outlay for equipment, it also has wider implications for the system’s overall carbon footprint which is much lower as a result.
By removing this complex piece of hardware, the associated manufacturing costs are no longer an issue. Nor is the combined environmental impact of the various elements such as the LED screen, hard plastic casing or lithium battery. Instead, the consumer is connected to a pre-existing smart device which they already own. And with over 90% of households in the UK either owning a mobile phone or having access to household internet, KURVE’s smart functionality is a much more convenient option.
Furthermore, as a digital smart meter with a virtual account management, billing and payment system, KURVE potentially cuts out the need for paper records and plastic cards – again, benefiting the bottom line by reducing administration costs.
With budgets coming under ever greater scrutiny, there has never been a better time to find out more about the cost saving opportunities offered by KURVE.
Douglas Norton, SAV Systems