Interning – from both sides of the desk

One of the highlights of our summer has been working with some very good interns who have been polishing their technical and commercial skills on our real world projects. We asked one – Dulcie – to write up her summer for the blog, but we also cheated by adding our ideas and tips for any student looking for a technical intern role, completely messing up her lovely post (sorrynotsorry, Dulcie!)

‘My name’s Dulcie and I’m an incoming third year Engineering student at the University of Cambridge. Over the summer, I’ve been interning at Purrmetrix. So, for the past 10 weeks, I’ve been working on web development for the internal site, improving older features and adding new ones.’

What Dulcie isn’t saying here is that she was very proactive – reaching out to us in January. This gives us plenty of time to ring fence appropriate / interesting projects. Don’t be put off if you aren’t able to contact us early – we’re always interested in hearing from interns at any time of year, but we’ll have more confidence in what we can offer with some advance notice!

‘What have I been working on? Well, most of my time this summer has been spent developing tools to help users to calculate the overall heat losses from their buildings. I needed to find a way to let users combine data from their sensors and their energy meters in the Purrmetrix account, which involved coding up a whole new view (a calculation box in account).’

I’ve also been working on improved ways for users to access energy data. In account I’ve written several new ways of integrating energy data. Depending on your energy provider and type of meter, you can now save meter readings, import smartmeter data, or even have the data fetched automatically from your smartmeter.

One of the great things about interning in smaller businesses is that you can work on projects that will have impact quickly, and maybe even see your work in customer’s hands. This project will give Purrmetrix more options on the way we deliver heat loss calculations, which are an important tool in understanding the energy efficiency of buildings.

In my time here at Purrmetrix, I’ve learnt a lot! To start with, I’ve improved my technical skills and I now feel much more confident as a developer in a company environment. Purrmetrix has a small team, and this means I’ve been able to learn about what goes on in all parts of the business. It’s an interesting place to work because of this – I’ve really enjoyed the freedom and variety of the job.

Many interns aren’t confident in their technical skills initially, but a good internship should offer you a range of projects and support to get started. Dulcie hit the ground running so we ended up giving her a whole heap of extension work, but there should be a team to back you up and challenge / extend  the results of your work.

I’ve also picked up a lot about building monitoring in the past few weeks. It’s something that I never thought I’d be working in, but I’ve discovered that there’s a lot of interesting things going on in the field. I’ve gained an understanding of the challenges involved in performing analyses like heat loss, and also how valuable it is as a metric for understanding buildings. As someone interested in environmental issues, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning about how these (often underappreciated) methods can be used to increase efficiency and reduce emissions.

Interning is a great opportunity to try out a wide range of industries and corporate cultures to find out what really delivers job satisfaction – is it the work, the team, the purpose of the company? We definitely have a purpose at Purrmetrix and we’re really pleased to be able to infect share it with Dulcie. We hope  that, as much as the technical experience, that’s something that she can build on for her future career.

Overall, I’ve had a wonderful experience this summer. I’ve been able to improve my development skills and get a good insight into how Purrmetrix works. Building monitoring is an interesting field that allows great opportunities for decarbonisation and saving energy, and I’m glad to have been able to help. 

Thanks for helping Dulcie, it’s been a pleasure working with you!

If you’re an intern reading this and want to know what we currently have on offer, please do get in touch: there’s always a human on the end of this form.

Digitalisation for SHDF – a cheat sheet

If you are a housing provider it’s been hard to miss the launch of the next wave of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. Funding applications open shortly, and need to be submitted before November (dates are not fixed at the time of publishing this blog).

A shiny new feature in this round is a line of funding for digitalisation projects, alongside the funding for decarbonisation of homes. Since this is our bread and butter we have put together a 1 page cheat sheet (HT to Jon Daley at Magenta Living for the concept!) covering what digitalisation is, for the purposes of this bid, the conditions on bidding for this funding and the benefits you might want to call out in an application.

Download the cheat sheet below – and of course if you want to discuss how Purrmetrix can support you in bidding for the Digitalisation Funding then please do get in touch. There’s always a real live human on the end of our contact form.

Happy New Year!

Yes, obviously not the calendar year. For historic reasons (I think our CFO wanted a holiday) Purrmetrix official year end falls in the summer holidays. So we’ve had an opportunity to pause and take stock of what we’ve done in the past 12 months. Turns out it’s quite a bit;

  • we’ve doubled our revenue (and broken even)
  • expanded our team of colleagues and contractors by 4
  • secured 2 new research grants for building better building performance tools
  • proudly graduated our first accelerator programme with Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
  • put more than 200 homes – from Jersey to Teeside – onto a platform that already hosts hundreds of schools and office buildings
  • installed monitoring in the bulk of Coventry City Council’s facilities
  • started working with our first dozen housing providers
  • now logging more than 1 billion data points per year, so invested heavily in our server and database infrastructure
  • data which are being put through our new integrations analysing heat loss (thanks to Build Test Solutions) condensation risk, comfort levels and air changes / ventilation rates

For a tiny, bootstrapped, team we are quite proud of ourselves. And we’re hugely excited about the year coming and the chance to deliver on many of the dozens of interesting projects in the pipeline. But, in the interests of balance* we should also look at the less fun things (aka ‘learning experiences’) from the year.

  • The emotional toll of running a small business you care about. Oh man the bad days….
  • The struggle of running a hardware business in a supply chain crunch (goodbye margin, it was nice knowing you)
  • That under no circumstances should you rely on a business plan based on policy announcements. If it arrives, it’s jam, but your business case has to make sense on its own.

Whatever the ups and downs of our business, we’re facing a winter where energy efficient housing has never been more important to people’s health and welfare. Now, more than ever, we believe it’s important to measure building performance; to make sure that the right measures are going to the right homes and the people that need it most.

If you agree, or have ideas to help us build, please get in touch. There’s always a human on the end of the form.

Happy 2022!

*There’s a particular brand of LinkedIn bragging posts which make me want to curl up because of their hysterical insistence that everything is awesome. Life’s not that simple…