Sunderland trial for heating system controlled by weather forecasts

(Left to right) Luke Gallagher, green futures manager at Gentoo, Tony Gair one of the inventors of Thermionix, Simon Green, head of business support at Newcastle Science City, and Mike Hartley, of Thermionix.
(Left to right) Luke Gallagher, green futures manager at Gentoo, Tony Gair one of the inventors of Thermionix, Simon Green, head of business support at Newcastle Science City, and Mike Hartley, of Thermionix.
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THE heat is on for Gentoo tenants – but not all of the time.

The city property firm has offered to try out a new system which aims to get the most out of domestic night storage heaters.

The Thermionix system works by anticipating daily energy requirements of individual heaters according to the weather forecast, rather than relying on users setting their heating each day.

Developed by North East entrepreneurs Tony Gair and Mike Hartley, it will be trialed in Gentoo properties over the next few months, to see how much easier it makes heaters to use, how much more comfortable it makes properties and what impact it has on energy bills.

Once the feedback has been gathered and analysed, a second, larger trial is planned within Gentoo properties, with Tony and Mike planning to use the data gathered to finalise the product and ultimately launch it to large landlords and individual homeowners.

Tony said: “Electric storage heaters aren’t the most intuitive systems to work with and depend on the user setting a dial the night before to anticipate how much energy they will need the next day.

“They are often used in social housing and quite often the people trying to manage them are elderly, or vulnerable.

“People often find they are either too cold or too hot – resorting to opening their windows to try to control their room temperature, which is an unnecessary waste of energy and money.

“The beauty of Thermionix is that it is incredibly easy to retrofit – fitting neatly between the power cable and heater. We are delighted Gentoo has given us the opportunity to trial the product with its residents and they clearly see the potential benefits to their customers, to the environment and to their heating engineers, who dedicate a great deal of time to answering calls from residents struggling to understand their heating.”

Gentoo green futures manager Luke Gallagher said: “At Gentoo we are all about improving our customers ‘art of living’ and this technology could be a practical solution to help them save both energy and money, while ultimately helping to alleviate fuel poverty.”

Thermionix was developed with the backing of Newcastle Science City’s business support team, whose Simon Green said: “Thermionix is a great example of the way innovation should happen.

“Tony identified an issue from his own experience and was determined to come up with a solution. We’re really looking forward to seeing the results of the trial.”

Thermionix is one of hundreds of North East science and technology businesses that Newcastle Science City has worked with to develop new ideas, helping them to innovate and grow.

For information visit: www.thermionix.com.

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