The rising cost of energy combined with the cost-of-living crisis is bringing the fuel poverty crisis to the fore for social housing providers and their tenants throughout Wales. In April this year, the Welsh Assembly predicted that up to 45% of Welsh households could be in fuel poverty as a direct result of recent energy price hikes. At the same time, the Assembly have set ambitious housing targets to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. Social housing will be front and centre of what promises to be a massive retrofit challenge.
Barcud housing association have set about meeting the two critical challenges of fuel poverty and decarbonisation using Mixergy smart hot water tanks at a mixed development of 15 new-build flats and 23 existing homes at William Angie Court in Welshpool, Mid-Wales.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed across the site as a cost-effective way to achieve CO2 reduction targets whilst also helping to cut tenants’ energy bills. Key to this was working out how they could optimise the self-consumption of the electricity generated from the solar panels in order to provide the best return on investment.
The principal contractor for the works, Mid-Wales Property, recommended Mixergy’s smart hot water tanks as the ideal solution in both the new build properties, as well as to replace the old, inefficient tanks in the existing flats.
“As soon as we heard about Mixergy it just made perfect sense to us. It was a year-round solution, so even without the solar PV, the machine learning means they can heat what they need. But with PV topping it up, it means they will virtually have no cost to their hot water bills when the sun is shining.” Harry Bowen, Project Manager at Mid-Wales Property
Mixergy’s hot water tanks save residents money by heating just the water they need. They do this using thermal stratification, heating water from the top down. This halves heat losses and results in faster reheat speeds which are up to 10 times quicker at achieving a useful temperature when compared with a conventional hot water tank.
Using the Mixergy App or a simple-to-use gauge which is attached to the tank, tenants are able to take control of their hot water for the first time. They can keep track of usage and boost their hot water to make sure they never run out. Smart scheduling through the App uses machine learning to learn a household’s usage profile, adapting the heating schedule to reduce the average daily use for water heating by 25-40%.
The residents of William Angie Court are already seeing significant savings of more than 30% on water heating bills, whilst also benefiting from the greater control provided through the Mixergy App and gauge.
“The App itself is absolutely fantastic, it’s so easy for anybody to use. I can modify so it suits me and it’s saving me a lot of money, about £19 a week. And it’s taken my electricity bill down by two-thirds.” Mike, resident of Williams Angie Court
The Mixergy tank’s ability to only heat what you need also means that maximum capacity of the tanks can be made available for solar energy to be stored. The PV diverter is able to use even short bursts of available solar energy to help heat water for free.
Aside from the benefits to tenants, the housing association and their contractors are also able to use the Mixergy platform to remotely monitor the performance of all the tanks installed in their properties, including monitoring water hygiene and cleansing, and hot water temperature control. A remote diagnostics function enables asset managers to identify and even fix faults remotely, helping to reduce callouts from engineers.
For Barcud, the benefits of cloud connectivity mean that they can provide tenants with better homes and a better service.
“We can make sure we can have a good service for our tenants. The feedback from residents has been very positive - the amount they’re saving is quite significant.” Graeme Lane, Development and Sustainability lead at Barcud
Like all other landlords, Barcud are faced with tightening regulations on the energy performance of their housing stock. As Mixergy tanks are exclusively featured in the SAP Appendix Q product database, Barcud will be able to accurately calculate and report the effect of the tank and integrated solar PV diverter on the energy efficiency of each property, capturing this information in the dwelling’s overall EPC rating, and providing an EPC rating of ‘C’ or above.
If you’re a housing association or contractor interested in how Mixergy’s patented technology can help your residents tackle fuel poverty, contact us to find out more.