An innovative UK business believes it can help reduce the country’s carbon footprint using thermal imaging technology, one household at a time.

With around 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions coming from our homes and some 80% of our housing stock operating inefficiently, according to the Energy Saving Trust, achieving net zero by 2050 could involve a country-wide effort in addressing the energy inefficiency of households.

ThermaFY Eco Solutions has developed analytical software that harnesses real-time thermal imaging to show the efficiency of people’s heating and suggest money-saving solutions.

The company’s core business is performing personalised surveys to identify wastefulness in home heating systems and insulation. With a visual picture of the problem areas, customers can take action to correct the issues, and potentially significantly reduce their monthly energy spend.

We’re tackling one of the biggest issues we face as a country

Amanda Pickford
Founder, ThermaFY Eco Solutions

Following a period of impressive growth, ThermaFY recently entered into a high-profile partnership with British Gas, offering Home Health Checks to its customers.

Company founder Amanda Pickford says ThermaFY’s overall mission is to provide households with actionable information that can help them bring down energy bills and reduce their carbon footprints.

“We think of ourselves as a trusted, independent advisor – we’re not trying to sell a boiler or a heat pump,” she says. “Ultimately, we’re here to inform the customer and hopefully, armed with our information and advice, they’ll take action.”

Each home survey is carried out with a thermal imaging camera coupled to a mobile device running ThermaFY’s software. This produces a detailed assessment of the property which identifies where inefficiencies exist. ThermaFY then suggests solutions, based on the level of inefficiency, cost, and the customer’s tolerance for disruption.

Support for high growth

With support from our Accelerator program, Amanda has grown her business, based in Kelso in the Scottish Borders, from a startup in 2015 into a UK-wide operation.

She says: “The support we received was key to our success, not just financially, but with business management as the company really started to take off. It wasn’t just a few workshops – they put us in front of some really great opportunities.”

Relationship Manager Lead for Scotland, Kevin Havelock, says: "Amanda and the team at ThermaFY are really entrepreneurial and innovative, and have proven that time and again in recent years by responding to many challenges.  It's great to be involved in this high growth business giving support that goes beyond financial help."

ThermaFY now has 24 employees and 150 home survey specialists stationed around the country. And Amanda recently took on a CEO to help her guide ThermaFY to greater profitability in future.

“We pride ourselves on offering solutions to everyone,” explains Amanda. “We talk to the customer about products and actions that could reduce their energy bills and help them understand what they can do to improve things. It can be anything from replacing an entire, outdated heating system, to insulating individual pipes or walls.

“We don’t want to do a survey and have no impact, so we tailor our recommendations to suit the individual customer. The whole point is to help customers make a change for the better, within their budget and within a scope that suits the house.”

Serial entrepreneur Amanda began her journey in thermal imaging services in 2015, when she became one of the only approved agents for Flir thermal cameras in the UK.

“I’ve always worked for myself really,” she says. “I was introduced to thermal cameras in 2015 and was convinced there was a business opportunity there.”

She began selling the cameras primarily to the equestrian community at horse shows. Horse owners used them to identify anything that showed heat on their animals, which could be a sign of stress, infection, or tendon problems.

The business soon caught the eye of multinational engineering and technology company Bosch, and Amanda partnered with them to create groundbreaking heating efficiency software.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic hit just as the partnership was gaining traction.

Pivoting the business

“When Covid hit, we had to pivot the business immediately,” explains Amanda. “We realised that there was an opportunity in providing thermal imaging cameras to the NHS, so that they could create safe pathways into hospitals. We scanned millions of people during the pandemic, and it kept us up and running.”

Now Amanda has returned ThermaFY’s focus to home surveys and is confident she can continue to grow, as individuals and businesses become more aware of the cost of energy, and the environmental effect of inefficient systems.

ThermaFY also now works with community groups and councils to help educate and support as many sections of society as possible about the importance of energy efficiency.

“I was building efficiency software in 2018 when no one was really talking about energy or how much their electricity and gas bills were,” she says. “Now we’re tackling one of the biggest issues we face as a country.”

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