ST WINEFRIDES REST HOME
Raj Seedeehul, to find out how they’re using Genius Hub to cut their heating costs and provide a higher standard of care for their clients.
Why smart heating controls?
Care homes offer a particular challenge when trying to control heating effectively. Elderly and vulnerable clients need to be kept warm at all times. Although each client has their own temperature preferences, they frequently forget to adjust manual controls, instead, staff have to take responsibility for ensuring appropriate temperatures – a needless distraction from providing the highest standard of care for their clients.
Standard heating timers also wouldn’t work effectively either, even if they operated on a room-by-room basis. Patterns of how each client moves around the home are different for each individual and aren’t entirely predictable.
That’s why most care homes have a simple solution: leave the heating on in all the rooms, all the time. Unfortunately, that leads to enormous heating bills. Before installing Genius Hub, St Winefrides was spending over £4000 a year on heating.
Why Genius Hub?
St Winefrides wanted heating controls that could control individual radiators in order to make savings. Commercial BEMS systems with this functionality are available from a variety of manufacturers, but these are prohibitively expensive to purchase and install and need trained staff to adjust their settings. Genius Hub offers automatic room-by-room heating control at an affordable price, all controllable through a simple app.
What were their first impressions of Genius Hub?
Installation of the Genius Hub is quick, easy and causes no disruption because it creates its own wireless network
Fixed wireless repeaters ensure the connection is rock-solid. Genius’ own trained installers fit the system in one or two days. But once it was installed, what was their first impression of using the system? “The system has been really easy to use”, says Raj.
“We can actually just forget it’s even there, because all the rooms are in the automatic ‘Footprint’ mode – we found that’s the best because each of the clients have a different schedule and sometimes they forget to do things, so it’s great that it will just keep the heating warm for as long as they stay in the room.”
“In reality, though, I love to micro-manage the heating! It’s nice that I can see the temperature of every room on my phone – the temperature readings from the room sensors seem to be really accurate. It means I don’t have to walk around the whole home checking; I can just see at a glance that there are no problems, and if a client wants me to adjust the temperature in their bedroom, I can do it right there in front of them – even if we’re in the lounge at the time. They like that.”
“Also, some clients prefer their bedrooms warmer at night and some prefer it cooler, the system is so person-centred that each client can have their heating micromanaged to their exact needs.
In the eyes of the CQC the Care home is ‘Effective’ and ‘Responsive’ to client’s needs; it just turns the temperature down automatically every night at a set time. It’s one less thing for staff to remember, and helps us make our clients more comfortable, which is really a priority for us.”
Can Genius Hub cut their bills?
“To be honest it’s too early to say, as this will be the first winter we have had Genius Hub installed. I get the feeling it’s saving us quite a bit though because I often walk into an empty room and it has really cooled down. Previously we would have been heating that room all day, even though it’s empty.
We’ve also finally been able to get rid of all those oil filled electric radiators! It’s also really useful how it automatically shuts off the radiator when the window is open, so we aren’t wasting all that heat when somebody forgets to shut the window, which used to happen.”
Can Genius Hub cut their bills?
“I definitely had my concerns before we had it installed; it’s really essential for us to keep our clients warm so we really can’t afford to have any difficulties with our heating system. We also couldn’t have anything that would be difficult for our clients to use. This is definitely a “high tech” solution so I needed a lot of reassurance that it would work without a glitch.”
“I’m pleased to say that those fears turned out to be unfounded; it’s been really reliable and surprisingly easy to use. We did have an issue with one of the valves not connecting properly at first, but the technical support from Genius was great. They’ve always responded to us within a day or just a few hours, even when we just wanted some advice on how to set it up in the best way for us. It’s really reassuring to know that if we ever had any difficulties with the system, their support team would be there to help us out.”
Has the hotel benefitted in any other way?
“Yes, the heating is now a lot more balanced: all the rooms are kept at a comfortable temperature when they’re in use. That wasn’t the case before, because the boilers we have aren’t really big enough to heat the whole space. Also, the largest bedroom was always cold, because there weren’t enough radiators to keep that big room warm. Now it’s noticeably more comfortable throughout the home – not stiflingly hot, but a comfortably warm temperature everywhere.
That’s because the boilers don’t have to work nearly as hard now because they’re only heating the rooms that are in use. They can get the radiators up to a higher temperature, so even the largest bedroom is nice and warm now. I could have solved this by buying a big new gas boiler, but that wouldn’t have been cheap and we would have ended up with larger gas bills, not smaller. That doesn’t seem like a smart solution to me!”