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Smart Home ‘IoT’ Technology Heating Up For Birmingham Business



edieawardsLast night, the 16th May, Birmingham-based technology company Heat Genius were awarded the edie award for Energy Efficiency Product Innovation.

Now in their 17th year, these awards recognise and celebrate advancements in green technologies and excellence in onsite energy, water and resource management. Winners in other categories include EDF Energy, Heineken, B&Q and National Trust. [1]

This success highlights how the Midlands is a hidden hotbed of entrepreneurial innovation. Nearly 13,000 companies were set up in the city during 2014/15, with this number growing faster than all other UK cities. Birmingham has 12,972 startups, the highest number outside London. [2]

The edie award recognises that the Heat Genius smart home heating control is leading the market. It’s the only system that can learn when each room of a home is normally used, and automatically schedule each radiator to come on at the appropriate time. That puts it ahead of strong competition from Google Nest, Honeywell and British Gas’ Hive, by offering greater potential energy savings.

International business press leader Bloomberg previously awarded them the title “Business Innovator 2016” [3].  The award puts them alongside other innovative companies from across the UK that are shaking up their respective industries, including Transferwise, GoCardless, Funding Circle, Crowdcube and Deliveroo.

That award came just days after closing their first funding round, receiving £200,000 from three of their existing customers. Director Alasdair Woodbridge welcomes the recent recognition and support:

“It’s wonderful to receive recognition for what we’re doing, I think the award really shows that Midlands businesses can compete on the national and international stage.

I think our winning strategy has been to focus on making sure our customers receive an excellent experience. These awards and the fact that three of our customers are prepared to invest in our future growth shows that this strategy pays off in the long run.

The investment will be incredibly helpful to stay ahead of the competition, by developing our product and improving our marketing. We’re up against some huge competitors including Honeywell, British Gas and Google, but we’re confident we can stay ahead of the game.”

Their smart heating control system is the most technically advanced on the market, and the only that can learn when each room of a home is used, switching radiators on and off automatically at the appropriate times. It can also control underfloor heating, infrared panels, night storage heaters, electric convection heaters and operate via a mobile internet connection.  It’s this flexibility that has attracted a solid customer base, including Accord Housing who installed the system as part of a energy efficiency programme for their tenants.

Heat Genius has previously participated in the Cognicity Challenge, organised by the Canary Wharf group. They have benefited from the support of Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) incubator and Climate KIC, the EU’s climate change innovation programme.





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Job opportunity: Technical Support Assistant

Heat Genius is a small, agile company that is rapidly expanding in an exciting new ‘Internet of Things’ arena. We’ve designed an intelligent heating control system and smart phone app. Three years on, it’s still the most advanced home heating control system available, staying ahead of competition from British Gas, Honeywell and Google. Our product is constantly evolving, with our team currently focused on expanding further into home automation.

Our customer base that is both environmentally conscious and technologically savvy; our main aim is to reduce household energy consumption, saving our customers money and cutting carbon pollution. Heat Genius sales have grown consistently and now we’re looking to expand our technical team, so that we can continue to offer excellent customer support as our customer base grows.

Job description

The right candidate will possess excellent spoken and written communication skills, a versatile attitude and a willingness to learn every technical detail of our product. You will respond to complex sales and customer service enquiries by phone and email, in a clear and professional manner. You enjoy figuring out technical challenges and coming up with solutions that keep our installers and customers happy.

Working hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-5:30pm

Location: Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham

Salary: £16,000 per annum + competitive bonuses

Key responsibilities

  • Understanding customer needs, and converting enquiries into sales
  • Customer support and problem solving
  • Dealing with external correspondence from media and events
  • Scheduling and supporting installations by our installer network
  • Organising and despatching products to customers
  • Updating content on the website
  • Using social media to build customer relationships and promote the brand

Essential skills

  • Professional communication & telephone manner – first point of contact for customers
  • Excellent written and spoken English, basic maths ability
  • Proficient with Microsoft products, comfortable with learning new IT systems
  • Efficient, organised with attention for detail

Desirable skills

  • Previous experience working in an administrative role
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and rapport building
  • Knowledge of the energy and home automation industry

Interested? Please get in touch.

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The BIG Smart Thermostat Comparison Table 2016

With an increasing number of smart heating controls on the market and new features being added all the time, we know that it can be difficult to know how the different alternatives stack up. So we’ve done the research for you, and created a handy comparison table.

This new version builds on our popular BIG comparison table we constructed back in 2014, bringing it bang up to date for 2016 and adding details about zone control. So if you’ve got zone valves, e.g. for underfloor heating, you can easily see which system suits your needs.

System Heat Genius Hive Honeywell Evohome Nest Tado Heat Miser Neo
Radiator (TRV Control)
Wireless Connection from main unit to radiator n/a n/a n/a n/a
Electric underfloor control [1] [2]
Wet underfloor (zone valve control)
Max no. of zones 30 3 12 10 unlimited 32
Wireless connection from main unit to zone valve
Hot water control (£49) (£83.76) (£79) (£65.90)
App controllable (£57)
Price of base system £249.99 £249 £209.99 £249 £199 £199
Price per underfloor zone £49.99 to £99.99 £99.99 varies[3] £179 £179 £69.99[4]
Price per radiator £59.99 n/a £56.34 n/a n/a n/a
Can be self-installed
Installation included

[1] Currently only scheduling via the app, between a higher “on” temperature and cooler “setback” temperature. Full thermostatic control will be released soon.
[2]Seperate product called Neo-E offers electric underfloor
[3]£268.32 for up to 5 or £343.31 for up to 8
[4]£73.99 for Neo Stat-E (electric underfloor)


Hive, Honeywell Evohome, The Evohome Shop, Nest, Tado, Heat Miser

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New: Wet Underfloor heating control

We’re delighted to announce that underfloor heating control is available to order!

You can now schedule zone valves (e.g. for ‘wet’ underfloor heating circuits) as well as underfloor heating wiring centres, via the app, just like radiators. You can seamlessly control any combination of radiators and zone valves within a single system, via a single Genius Hub.

How to order a system with underfloor or zone valves
First, check the make and model of your wiring centre. This is the box that is wired into the actuators on your underfloor manifold – or if you have a single zone of underfloor heating, you can just control the underfloor heating pump. Type the make and model into our underfloor compatibility checker, and take a note of the “connection type”. If your wiring centre is incompatible, it will need to be replaced; please contact us for details.

Then go to our Create Your System page, to input the details of your heating system and what you’d like to control. Or if you’ve already got a Genius Hub system for your radiators and would like to add zone valve control, get in touch with us or your local installer.

Electric underfloor control (coming soon)
At the moment, Genius Hub can only be used for simple scheduling of electric heating. We’ll soon release a unit that will offer full temperature control for all common types of electric heating, including underfloor. It’ll be fully compatible with our current Genius Hub, so you can install Genius Hub today and add electric underfloor later. Or if you prefer, please join our electric heating waiting list and you’ll be the first to know when we launch it.

Any questions?
Have a look on the Questions section of our web site for our newly updated and expanded knowledge base. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, you’ll be able to easily send us a message from there.

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Web Developer (LAMP Stack) Wanted


Position: Web Developer (LAMP Stack)
Type: Permanent
Salary: Competitive market rate
Location: Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham (central)
Start date: Immediate

Our exciting, agile IoT startup is seeking an experienced web (PHP / HTML5 / JS) developer.

We use an integrated system of wireless devices to offer the most advanced intelligent heating control available for domestic applications. A central, internet-connected hub wirelessly controls each radiator, and uses PIR motion sensors to detect when each room is occupied. Machine learning algorithms then predict when each room is likely to be used and schedules the radiator to come on at the correct time. Manual scheduling and control is also available via a cross-platform web, smartphone and tablet app.

This is an opportunity to work on a variety of interesting technical challenges. The company is growing rapidly, and we need people who are passionate about making technology work. Your work will be very much hands on, creating advanced technology that offers cost savings, reduced carbon emissions and increased comfort with a great user experience. You will be responsible for developing the UI through to the interface with the backend technology, on the hub and in the cloud. It’s a great opportunity for people that want to grow with the business.

The role:

  • Website development / maintenance
  • Web app development
  • Database administration

Essential Skills & Experience:

  • 5 years + experience working on commercial projects
  • PHP (OOP / Knowledge of PSR)
  • SQL (MySQL / SQLite3)
  • Javascript / HTML5 frameworks (Backbone / JQuery / AngularJS / Mocha / etc.)
  • Web servers: Apache / Nginx
  • Linux experience
  • Excellent communication & team working

Preferred Skills & Experience

  • Python
  • Git
  • Agile
  • UI design, an appreciation of UX
  • TDD, Unit testing / Acceptance testing

If you think that this role sounds appropriate for you, then please send your CV to our lead developer:

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TechRadar give their verdict: “This is the future of home heating”

Heat Genius Smart Heating Control HubAfter six months testing of Genius Hub thoroughly in his own home, Tech Radar’s Dean Evans has finally given his verdict:

“Heat Genius gives you unprecedented control (and remote control) over your central heating, dragging your old copper pipes into the 21st century. Don’t let the price put you off: once you try such a system, you won’t want to go back.”

Although the “Genius Hub” base package is only £249, it’s true that a fully smart, zoned Genius Hub system will cost significantly more. So why does he think it’s worth investing in smart heating controls, instead of just sticking with your traditional thermostat that simply switches your boiler on and off?

“A smart thermostat… learns and adapts to your occupancy schedule, adjusting your home’s heating accordingly, and it also enables you to wirelessly control your home’s temperature remotely. Staying out late? Nobody home? You can switch your heating off to save money using an app on your smartphone.”

There are other alternatives available that offer that functionality, including the famous Nest thermostat from Nest Labs, now owned by Google. Nest isn’t a ‘zoned’ system though, it still only switches your boiler on and off. Dean explains why he thinks it’s worth using Genius Hub to go beyond just smart boiler control:

“Heat Genius starts to stand out from the clever-clogs heating crowd when you add ‘zoned’ and ‘smart’ heating functionality to it. This means investing in some extra kit… [but] it’s worth it – zoned heating is one of the system’s biggest draws.

With most heating systems, smart or otherwise, your radiators are either all on or they’re all off; there’s no middle ground. So if you live in a three-bedroom house, but you don’t regularly use two of the bedrooms, you’re wasting money heating them. Add wireless thermostatic radiator valves to your radiators and the Heat Genius system can control them individually.”

It’s great to see such a major technology publication sing the praises of smart, zoned heating. And Dean’s positive comments didn’t end there…

Discover the final verdict by reading the full review on TechRadar,

or learn about how Genius Hub works.

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Best free energy saving apps

Green points location sensitive GPS mapNowadays, “there’s an app for that” is an expression that can be applied to almost anything – and cutting your carbon footprint and energy consumption is no exception. Your smartphone can be a handy tool in letting you know where savings can be made. Here’s a quick roundup our Top 3 favourite apps, all free to download:

Recycle App

Mining and refining raw materials uses massively more energy than recycling. Take a plastic bottle for example, producing one from recycled plastic saves 66% of the energy it would consume to make it from raw materials.

These days it’s possible to recycle just about anything, but unfortunately it’s not always easy to find where you can do it. Save your time googling and coming to dead ends by simply letting Recycle Guide know what you have. It’s only available in certain areas for now, but hopefully it’ll soon be available across the UK.

Available on Apple and Android devices for free




Live energy carbon visualisation appGridCarbon

When the electricity grid is under pressure, the dirtiest “peaker” power plants kick into action – meaning that every unit of electricity is producing more pollution than at other times. Now thanks to Grid Carbon, you can see exactly which fuels are being used at any given moment. Users can receive a notification when low or high carbon production kicks in, so you know when is this greenest time to put the washing on!
The interface may not be particularly fancy but this app from the University of Southampton is a great way to ensure that less CO2 is produced per kWH.

Available on Apple and Android devices for free





Appliance Calculator

VEnergy waste calculatorampire books and films have become incredibly popular of late. Vampire energy on the other hand, is something you could probably do without. It’s the energy that drains your pocket without actually being used, things on standby such as microwaves, TVs and radios. It’s easy to ignore it because most of us are not in the habit of disconnecting everything and just accept it as a cost.

Several good apps such as The Power Cost Calculator and IGO Vampire Calculator have sadly died a mysterious death. Thankfully the Irish have stepped in with Appliance Calculator which is able to give you a much better insight into just how much money you are losing through a lackadaisical approach to unplugging appliances. Simply programme it based on your current expenditures and it will do the calculations for you. One downside for UK users is that its default currency is Euros.

Available on Apple and Android devices for free





Genius Hub smart heating app

And of course, we shouldn’t forget own Genius Hub app! You can easily save energy by switching off heating in empty rooms, from around your house or around the world.

You can have a play with the free Genius Hub app before you actually purchase a system – just get access to our demo system.

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Is it time for your heating to go renewable?

When you think of renewable energy the first images that pop into your head are probably of spinning wind turbines and roofs blanketed in solar panels, but there’s another another technology that’s quietly generating over a third of the UK’s renewable energy.

Bioenergy is produced from materials made from biological sources, ranging from wood chips to sugarcane, and was recently described in a Daily Telegraph article as ‘key to the UK’s energy future’.

Biomass boiler
Biomass boiler

One important form of bioenergy is biomass heating: thermal energy produced from burning plant material, such as wood. This can provide heating at as little as a fifth of the cost of electricity, but the real beauty of biomass is that the process is carbon-neutral. As trees and other plants grow they absorb CO2, and it is only this CO2 that’s released when they’re burned. In fact, even taking processing into account, biomass fuels release 90% less carbon pollution than natural gas through its life cycle.

What’s more, biomass can be sourced locally from almost any area of the UK, it generates lower levels of acid rain-producing atmospheric pollutants, and it provides a strong economic incentive to to properly manage our country’s woodlands.

Modern biomass boilers are hi-tech marvels, a far cry from the old fashioned ‘wood-burning stoves’. Although the basic ideas have been around for thousands of years, 21st Century technology has now enabled biomass boilers to be up to 91% efficient!

As biomass boilers are highly automated, they need only the barest of attention – they are self-igniting, self-cleaning and even feed their own fuel automatically. Microprocessor control ensures the optimum rate of combustion and fuel use to meet heat demand. They can alert the owner when the ash-tray needs emptying or fuel restocking – typically only once every six to twelve weeks. Biomass boilers are fully compatible with Heat Genius, so you can reduce your wood fuel consumption by not heating empty rooms.

Biomass boilers should be installed with a large buffer tank, which ensures that a steady supply of hot water is constantly available and heat can be distributed to your heating system easily and efficiently.

Shaw Renewables, a leading installer of biomass boilers, says that biomass boilers can be a great option for heating larger properties, if the system is designed correctly. Andrew Shaw, a Director of the company, told us that “A typical installation may be around 100kW in size and completely eliminate the heating bills of farms, hotels and large domestic properties, but we can provide systems all the way up to 1MW for large-scale use. We don’t subscribe to a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy, so all of our bespoke systems are designed to perfectly fit the needs of each customer.”

Find out more about the advantages of biomass heating on the Shaw Renewables web site.



Heat Genius is committed to bringing you news about interesting green technologies and services we come across. This article has been produced in collaboration with Shaw Renewables, who are fellow members of the Comarketing Club.

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Did you see us on The Gadget Show?

Google ChromeScreenSnapz011Did you catch us on Channel 5 television this evening?  We were featured on The Gadget Show, as part of their feature on the latest and greatest automated home technology.

Missed the show? You can watch it online – you’ll see us near the beginning.


Our favourite gadget on the show: TopBrewer

Our programmers’ dreams have come true: coffee on tap!

Alongside us in the Gadget Show smart home was TopBrewer, the first professional bean-to-cup machine you can control from your smart phone or tablet.
There’s some funky technology inside, but the end result is actually really simple: adjust the sliders on the app, hit the button and a few seconds later, your favourite brew pours out of the spout!

It’s also a lot more energy efficient than other coffee machines, because instead of keeping a water reservoir hot all the time, it uses a “flash heater” to heat the water on demand.  The water then travels just 5cm into the brewing chamber, meaning it doesn’t lose heat to its surroundings.

Find out more about the TopBrewer

TopBrewer-Gallery_0020_TopBrewer colour fun

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Alasdair shows how Heat Genius works

Maybe you’re wondering how Heat Genius fits together?

We’ve made a video in which Alasdair explains the different components and how they’re installed in your home.

Give it a watch, hopefully it’ll make everything clear. But if you still have a few questions about how Heat Genius can save you energy in your home, feel free to give our friendly team a call and we’ll be happy to help.