Metering solutions for HIUs

Heat Interface Units (HIUs) are a great solution for use in shared district heating schemes and at Mibec we can supply HIUs and accompanying Heat Meters in a number of permutations to suit the project requirements. In this short article we investigate metering solutions for HIU applications.

Within a district heating scheme each home or apartment will have its own HIU installed, which uses heat distributed from the central network to provide heating and domestic hot water (DHW) for use in the home, completely replacing the requirement for individual boilers in each property. To the end user it’s just like having a boiler as normal but without the flame.

Often the house builder or property developer responsible for the project will often appoint a specialist district heating provider to run, maintain and administrate the district heating system for period of time (e.g. 20 years). The homeowners or building owners would then have a contract directly with the district heating provider for this period of time and the provider will in turn typically guarantee 10-20% cheaper prices than the equivalent gas and oil on the open market for the property owner. In most cases the district heating provider will be a subsidiary of a major utility company or a local authority (especially for social housing projects).

Typically, the Heat Meters and HIUs, along with the other hardware components of a district heating scheme (e.g. the pre-insulated pipe and central heat source, etc.) will be purchased and installed by the district heating provider as part of the 20 year contract with the developer. At Mibec we supply the hardware for heat meters and work in partnership with leading software and billing providers offering systems from our partners at Sycous. The software providers will then take care of meter readings and billing requirements on behalf of the district heating providers in a cost effective way.

Mibec heat meters are open protocol which gives flexibility on the range of readily available software that is compatible with them (some heat meters sold by others will only operate with certain software, which means that if a client wishes to switch software providers at a later date then the meters would need to be replaced at the properties, which would prove extremely costly).

Using Mibec heat meters along with the recommended software allows the meter readings from individual properties to be collected remotely via telephone lines, so there is no need for readings inside properties. The meters also allow credit for the homeowners (normal monthly payments by direct debit etc.) and pre-payment card options in the same manner as a normal gas supply, this includes integration with Pay Point allowing the occupiers to top up cards at local retail outlets. For those district heating providers managing large portfolios of properties the software allows for selling to property owners at different rates within a scheme and includes measures around monitoring usage – it can detect anomalies such as tampering or excessive use and can highlight any faults. In rented properties if a tenant isn’t using the system properly e.g. having heating turned up high and regulating the temperature by opening windows and not using the theromostat then there is the option for the district heating provider to override the user controls if required. As can be seen the systems are very flexible and provide a great solution for the district heating provider.

At Mibec we offer a full free of charge specification service covering the whole of the UK, designed to support architects, specifiers, contractors or district heating providers, helping you to select the right heating solution to meet your needs. Please feel free to email or call our support department on 01782 959170 where one of our highly trained advisers will be happy to help you with any HIU, heat meter or district heating queries.