The Decentralised Energy Awards recognises and celebrates the people and projects which have developed innovative decentralised energy solutions designed around the needs of the user. Gareth Jones, Managing Director at FairHeat, has been recognised by the Decentralised Energy Awards 2022 for his great contributions in the heat networks industry and shortlisted for the Champion Award.

Gareth is FairHeat’s founder and Managing Director and Chairman of the Board for Guru Systems. Gareth has over 15 years of experience in the low-carbon energy sector, having established start-up ventures across different areas of the energy sector. Since founding FairHeat, Gareth has taken an active role in driving change within the heat network industry.

Brief Background

Gareth has been working in the low-carbon sector since 2006, establishing numerous businesses within the industry. These included district heating, utility services, smart meter design and manufacture, solar energy, ESCOs and energy performance contracting.

In 2015, Gareth established FairHeat to bridge the expertise gap in the market and deliver the knowledge required to realise the full potential of heat networks in the UK.

“It is deeply gratifying to see the influence of FairHeat’s work. I’m particularly satisfied about the role that we have had in positioning quality assurance at the heart of heat network development and the fact that we have managed to establish it as a collaborative process. This is resulting in really good outcomes for end residents and doing it in a way that increases skills in the industry.”

Gareth Jones

Gareth has taken an active role in driving change within the heat network industry. As part of this, he is a key contributor in over 8 key network groups.

Gareth Chairs the BESA HIU Standard Steering Group and Technical Committee, the industry bodies that oversee the UK HIU Test Regime (a standard that was originally developed by FairHeat) and Chair of the ADE Heat Network Forum. Charlotte Owens, Principal Energy Policy Advisor at the Royal Danish Embassy in London, comments:

“As a chair of the ADE’s Heat Networks Forum, Gareth has played a key role in bringing together the industry to work collaboratively on some of the industry’s common challenges. I always admired Gareth’s attention to detail during policy-making, to consider how seemingly minor details might have a considerable outcome. He has pushed the industry to be more efficient, and lower in carbon and has enabled a small company like FairHeat to have a big voice in shaping the heat networks market.”

Charlotte Owens, Principal Energy Policy Advisor at the Royal Danish Embassy in London

Gareth sits as a member on the CIBSE ADE CP1 Steering Group and has pioneered a number of the processes that have now become minimum requirements in the industry. Phil Jones, lead author, comments:

“Gareth has made a major contribution to the Heat Network industry. His personal and technical support was invaluable in helping me and he was a major contributor to changes to DHW temperatures. He continues to focus on the really important issues that directly improve Heat Network performance.”

Phil Jones, lead author of The ADE/CIBSE Code of Practice 2020

As a member of CIBSE DHW Working Group, Gareth has championed a reduction in domestic hot water temperature to 50°C for systems with instantaneous DHW HIUs. Huw Blackwell, Technical Director for Anthesis comments:

“Gareth is one of the driving forces behind continual improvement of operating systems. His work to define risk and technical solutions to lower temperature systems, may be found across industry standards and guidance. This has improved system efficiency and helped open up district heating to new low carbon heat sources.”

Huw Blackwell, Technical Director for Anthesis

Gareth is committed to developing young engineering talent. He initiated the award-winning, FairHeat Graduate scheme, nurturing future leaders of the industry. This was the first programme to draw in graduate chemical engineers into the heat network industry, championing awareness and upskilling of talent. Gareth actively participates in external mentoring programmes to ensure knowledge transfer and upskilling is applied throughout the industry.

“I think the thing that I am most proud of with FairHeat is the quality of people that we have managed to bring into the industry. Over the years we have managed to build up a talented group of engineers, who have come up through our graduate program and now form the core of the business. It’s a genuine delight to be able to have a hand in the development of the next generation.”

Gareth Jones

The X Factor!

Through his time in the industry Gareth has been a genuine disruptor. His ability to always see the big picture of where the industry can be and selfless approach in collaboration, fuels his resilience and constant drive for improvement.

In an industry that needs to change behaviour, Gareth has unique skills to adjust the conversation and shift narrative on how people value performance and outcomes. Jeremy Bungey, 1Energy, comments:

“Gareth has been a leading force in driving standards throughout the district heating and decentralised energy markets for many years. From driving standards for HIU’s to CP1, Gareth has been tenacious in raising the bar. Most will agree that our market has come a long way in the last 15 years and Gareth has been consistent leader in these improvements.”

Jeremy Bungey, 1Energy

When putting together the nomination, we interviewed several external and internal members, but Tom Naughton, Associate at FairHeat, made a comment that just sums up everything:

“Gareth’s fingerprints are forever marked in the heat network industry. In 20 years, if someone enters the industry there’s a highly likely chance they will be using a standard or process that Gareth Jones created or contributed to. Gareth’s work and influence deserves recognition, as a true champion in his field.”

Tom Naughton, Associate at FairHeat