Case Study 1: Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing
Kirklees is one of the five metropolitan boroughs of West Yorkshire. Based in Huddersfield, Kirklees Council represents the interests of 422,500 people across a range of urban and rural settlements including Batley, Denby, Dale, Dewsbury and Holmfirth.
The council owns nearly 23,000 homes across the region, which are managed by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), an arms’ length housing organisation. KNH takes a proactive approach to the care and management of these homes, in partnership with the Council’s Building Services division, and has long been involved in local and regional gas safety campaigns. So when the Energy Innovation Centre (a partnership between the UK power and gas utility companies aiming to promote innovative technologies within the energy sector) offered the chance to take part in a trial of the Smart Compliance carbon monoxide detection, monitoring and data capture system, KNH was an enthusiastic early adopter. KNH’s investment management team had been introduced to this new technology by EIC member, Northern Gas Networks.
As part of a pilot scheme, KNH identified 150 suitable locations to trial the Smart Compliance monitors, which were then installed by Kirklees Building Services. Six months on, a constant stream of data has been forwarded by SMS to the Smart Compliance web portal to which KNH and Building Services has access. They also have several smartphones which are alerted in real time to any CO incidents or tampers. The system reports not only on carbon monoxide levels, but also on any power deficiency, fault, or on any incidence of tampering.
At this stage the group involved in the Kirklees ‘Discovery Project’, report they have found the system impressive, though ‘unspectacular’ (unspectacular being judged by Smart Compliance to be a desirable outcome for all concerned!). The system had, however, alerted KNH to a number of tampering incidents which they had consequently been able to investigate, ensuring consistency of protection for the properties concerned. This would not, of course, have been the case with a standard detector such as Kirklees currently deploys in its solid fuel properties.
In September, moreover, an alert was recorded (triggered by the detection of a CO level in excess of 50 parts per million (the industry standard for imminent danger from CO being 50 ppm for a period of time) in an empty property where a contractor was using a generator. This allowed immediate remedial action to be taken. Smart Compliance is aware of a very similar incident within another Discovery Project in another part of the country just three weeks earlier. There is a possibility, then, that with a larger, longer trial, it might become clear that these incidents are more common than previously realised, and Northern Gas Networks are already looking at how they can help raise awareness of CO among contractors using generators.
There is clearly general agreement at Kirklees that the technology works and the Smart Compliance system’s ability to alert and to capture data and compliance records remotely are very useful and potentially life-saving.
The EIC have now requested an extension of the trial period in order to gather more data, and Smart Compliance has undertaken to provide innovate and user friendly methods of presenting data and trends in easily understood graphs and tables.