Stuart Duff caught up with Rob Berridge to talk about the ethos behind www.heat-engineer.com on the day the site went live.
Launching a website can be a pretty tense affair. Months, often years, of behind the scenes work perfecting algorithms and checking code all boils down to the moment when you press the figurative big red button and all your endeavours are laid bare in front of the world.
Probably the last thing you should do is invite us round to witness the launch, but it seems nobody told Rob Berridge that… which is how we ended up watching the birth of www.heat-engineer.com at close quarters.
Amid the flurry of activity, Rob somehow found the time to talk us through the whys and wherefores, as well as giving us a demo of both the app and web-based elements of the heat loss calculation program.
What is it?
Heat Engineer Software Ltd has created Heat Engineer to assist surveyors and engineers in the heating industry. The amount of work required to gather details of a property and complete a detailed heat loss calculation has been a constant source of frustration within the industry, and Heat Engineer believes the software currently available has neither addressed nor improved the situation.
Mobile and tablet applications are utilised to complete surveys. These surveys are then sent to the online Heat Engineer platform, which allows engineers and designers to access their heat loss surveys, process the calculations quickly, and produce a well presented report.
The methods used in the calculations are from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) The Domestic Heating Design Guide 2014 and EN 12831. The UK standards for MCS MIS 3005 and MIS 3004 have also been met, ensuring heat pump and biomass calculations can be presented.
A comparison feature has been created which displays the running costs from various fuels. This comparison could encourage companies and engineers who initially select their primary fuel source as a fossil fuel boiler to swap with a renewable heating solution– thereby helping new plumbers and heating engineers into the renewable sector.
Users who suffer from dyslexia can change the colour on the Heat Engineer website to help them read and navigate easier.
Heat loss calculations
For those who may be unfamiliar with heat loss calculations, before a heating system is installed (whether it’s a renewable or conventional fossil fuel boiler) it’s important that a plumber or heating engineer completes a detailed room by room heat loss calculation. The results from a heat loss calculation can then be used to determine each room’s emitter size (radiators, fan convectors, fan coil units and underfloor heating pipe centres) and the overall power output (kW) required for the heat pump, biomass or conventional fossil boiler. Other information can also be presented, such as:
- Estimation on running costs and heating and hot water energy consumption
- Comparison of different fuels against running cost
- Heat pump seasonal performance factor (SPF)
- Bivalent system
- Current radiator outputs at different flow temperatures.
- Ground loop design
The benefit for installers
“The fact is that we are constantly oversizing boilers, which shortens their lifespan,” says Rob. “To better understand a system, with decent hydronics, it’s important to get a heat loss calculation done. These are generally inaccurate and this is what we’ve spent time on. For the low cost of this app, to get a proper heat loss calculation done, it will probably surprise most installers how small a boiler is required for a property. This is where we think it will prove really valuable.”
There is already one well-known manufacturer involved with the software, as Rob explains: “We’ve been in discussion with IMI Hydronic, the largest hydronics company in the world, and once a surveyor has submitted a completed report from us, IMI Hydronic will be able to identify the flow rate, number of balancing valves etc for each room – making the system run better hydronically just from the heat loss report.”
As an Industrial Associate Supporter of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering, Heat Engineer Software is being offered at a discounted rate to plumbing and heating colleges. Colleges are provided with free telephone support and a member of the team will attend college premises for a day to train staff.
The software enables students to use their Android or Apple devices to enter the details for a survey and then submit to the college account. The college account for Heat Engineer will store all students as surveyors and from there it’s possible to produce heat loss calculations. This will give students excellent insight for reviewing which heating system would be best suited for a property, particularly comparing fuel running costs and performance of both fossil fuels and renewable heating.
This software should be used when a student has an understanding of the CIBSE Domestic Heating Design Guide chapters which highlight heat loss calculations – thereby providing them with a background on why certain information is required and the methods used to calculate heat loss. To enquire about obtaining a college free licence, email [email protected] or call 01865 600015.
Heat Engineer Software has a dedicated YouTube channel which runs users through the survey creation process. More information can be found at www.heat-engineer.com/training
Subscriptions are competitively priced. A one-off survey costs just £10+VAT, with a monthly subscription for sole traders also coming in at £10+VAT. More details are available at www.heat-engineer.com/pricing
Apps are available from the App Store and Google Play.
WATCH PART ONE OF OUR EXCLUSIVE DEMO VIDEO HERE