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Phones to heat building in £495,000 idea by Midlands SME & University of Warwick

Phones and tablet computers are to be part of a new highly personalised heating and energy economy system thanks to an idea by Midlands company JSJS Designs Ltd, WMG and the Estates Office at the University of Warwick which has just won £495,000 in support from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board.

JSJS Designs Ltd and WMG will use the funding to work with The University of Warwick’s Estates Office to retrofit an innovative wireless Heating Micro-management System (HMS) to the University’s Social Sciences building. The novel system hands control over to both the building management team and the building’s occupants who will individually be able to use their smart phones and tablet computers to control heating at a room-by-room level.

The project will allow JSJS Ltd to test this technology on a large complex building and help them scale up the application of a technology that in the past has only be available to much smaller and simpler domestic properties.

The project draws on the research of Dr Rebecca Cain, WMG Associate Professor in Experience-Led Innovation at the University of Warwick. Dr Cain’s research aims to improve people’s experiences of spaces, places, products and services through better design. Dr Rebecca Cain said:

“This is a great opportunity to test some of the research we have been doing across a range of public spaces in the energy management arena. It is imperative that users of such technology are able to fully engage in the process of monitoring energy usage in their homes or work spaces in order to enhance its effectiveness.”

JSJS Designs and Dr Rebecca Cain were brought together to bid for the funding thanks to WMG’s SME Team based at the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation to develop prototype products.

John Shermer, Managing Director of JSJS Designs Ltd said:

“This is an ideal showcase for the automation systems we have developed in a non-domestic environment. It will highlight the potential of retrofitting smart technologies into existing buildings to increase efficiencies and improve the user experience of such technology.”

Scott Crowther, Knowledge Transfer Specialist at WMG said:

“We are delighted that JSJS Designs Ltd has been able to secure investment to further develop their products and test them in an environment that has the potential to transform the way it manages energy in the future. Our work at WMG is all about helping small businesses realise their potential and develop leading products and services. This is a great case of the benefits of collaborating with a University.”

Joel Cardinal, Energy Manager at the University of Warwick said:

 “Refurbishment of existing buildings is a challenge for the construction and facilities management industry. We are keen to engage new initiatives that can help the University and the country to reduce its carbon footprint and are delighted to have the opportunity to develop and validate an exciting new technology in one of our largest buildings.

Notes for editors

· The funding comes from the Technology Strategy Board’s£10m SBRI programme designed to improve the energy efficiency of existing nondomestic buildings. This competition is funded by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) with support and resourcing from the Technology Strategy Board (https://www.innovateuk.org/documents/1524978/2274828/Invest+in+Innovative+Refurb+-+Competition+brief/f8f5276f-518d-4b80-98bf-0d93a23c3772)

· The specific products to be used are wireless thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), window sensors, occupancy sensors and tablet and smartphone interfaces. This combination allows the occupants to control their heating while in their room, and the building management staff to control heating use when rooms are unoccupied.

· More information about JSJS Designs Ltd: http://www.jsjsdesigns.com/about.html

· The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit www.innovateuk.org.

· The SBRI programme uses the power of government procurement to drive innovation. It provides opportunities for innovative companies to engage with the public sector to solve specific problems. Competitions for new technologies and ideas are run on specific topics and aim to engage a broad range of organisations. SBRI enables the public sector to engage with industry during the early stages of development, supporting projects through the stages of feasibility and prototyping. http://www.innovateuk.org/deliveringinnovation/smallbusinessresearchinitia tive.ashx

· A series of low cost measures to address minor issues with the fabric of the building such as draught exclusion will be undertaken prior to the main product installation.

For more information about how SMEs can access support at the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation visit: www.warwick.ac.uk/iipsi

For further information please contact:

Lisa Barwick, WMG, University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721
email L.Barwick@warwick.ac.uk

Peter Dunn, email: p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk
Head of Communications, University of Warwick,
Tel: 024 76 523708 Mobile 07767 655860
International 024 76 523708; Mobile 07767 655860

PR108 2nd October 2013