Who’s Entering the Dragons’ Den?

November 14, 2017

Last year’s Dragons’ Den at the SHIFT Awards was a roaring success, so this year it’s making a comeback at SHIFT Awards 2017! Amongst 11 highly competitive categories there is a special Dragons’ Den section at the SHIFT Awards. Focusing on sustainability proposals for the housing sector, the Dragons’ Den gives housing and sustainability experts the opportunity to pitch their fantastic projects and innovative best practice ideas to the panel of ‘Dragons’, made up of the entire Awards audience of 200 housing professionals.

Ahead of the Awards on 30th November, we wanted to give a taster of what to expect by sharing the shortlisted entries for ‘Best sustainability proposal’.

Noah Nelson | Soltherm External Insulations

The Pitch
Fixing external wall insulation with Cross Knot

The force of the wind has substantial impacts on buildings, particularly high-rise tower blocks and properties in high exposure areas.

On such projects, Soltherm recommends the use of Cross Knot, an enhanced method of fixing External Wall Insulation to the substrate. It is created by driving a mechanical fixing through two crossed strips of glass-fibre mesh made from the standard glass-fibre mesh installed during the reinforcing coat stage.

The Cross Knot benefits the client by meeting new levels of structural strength and stability and to the installer who knows that there will be no danger of delamination.

Ed Warrick | Switchee

The Pitch
The first smart thermostat for affordable housing

Ed Warrick, Switchee co-founder, spent eight years working in social housing and experienced the sector’s unique challenges and the lack of bespoke technology to solve these challenges.

With the help of Ian, Adam & Russ’ business and engineering experience, Switchee was born. Switchee is the only smart thermostat which clears the two main barriers in social housing: low Wi-Fi penetration and low resident engagement. We don’t need Wi-Fi and we don’t need engagement. Switchee cuts energy bills by 15% and provides actionable remote data insights on property performance that cut maintenance costs. We provide value to both resident & landlord.

Mathew Holloway | Q-Bot

The Pitch
Cheaper, faster, better insulation with robots

Q-Bot has developed the first scalable and affordable solution for the retrofit of insulation to the UK’s 10 million suspended timber floors. The solution uses a robot to remotely apply insulation to the underside of the floor and then measure the area and depth of insulation applied. The result is a warmer, more comfortable home, fewer cold draughts, less damp and lower energy bills.

This approach is non-disruptive to occupants and can be installed in 1-2 days resulting in a lower cost per ECP point than the alternatives. The solution is also fully accountable, with a BBA approved quality control system and record of each install.

Seb VanDort | VRM Tech

The Pitch
Cloud based asset analytics for the social housing sector

VRM Clarity is a real-time remote monitoring dashboard for decentralised heat networks. It comes with configurable KPIs, a 3D map and live alerts, identifying issues before they become problems.

Having demonstrated savings over £45,000 with Camden Council, VRM is expanding the dashboard to integrate with existing legacy systems, sensors (damp, mould, air quality) and publicly available data to provide detailed insight into all assets and the wider community. Machine Learning elements will mine data and provide alerts before problems occur, allowing clients to visualise the factors affecting their communities and create proactive and detailed action plans to address those issues.


So who will champion in the Dragons’ Den? That remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that all of these proposals give some great food for thought for the sector as a whole.

If you would like to be inspired further by a wide range of ambitious but replicable projects, book now. But hurry, tickets are on the verge of running out! We hope to see you there.

The SHIFT Awards are on 30th November at Plaisterers’ Hall, London.

Cecily Church