Starting the year in the midst of a pandemic, no one could have known what 2021 would bring for any of us. For Thermal Road Repairs, we are thankful and grateful that it has turned out to be a year of growth and change.
It turns out that societal changes, like more home deliveries and moves to active transport and electric vehicles, make road maintenance and repair even more crucial than ever. And perhaps the tribulations of the past two years means that change has become more acceptable, more manageable; this year we have had more new customers than ever switching to our technology.
Looking back, here are three things we learnt in 2021.
Innovation won’t stop
Since 2015, when we produced our very first system for heating failing joints between carriageways on motorways, there have been many developments and improvements to different elements of our technology. Sometimes it’s our customers that prompt tweaks, sometimes our site teams have suggestions and sometimes our engineers push us forwards.
This year one of our big leaps was an upgrade to our solar arrays which are used to top up the charge for our thermal heaters. Even when the heaters aren’t heating, they consume power to self-monitor via an IoT (Internet of Things) device which provide information on the heaters’ charging status and history. Making them more efficient makes the most of renewable, solar energy.
Cutting carbon is up to us
Depending on who you listen to, the COP26 climate conference was either a great triumph or a missed opportunity. But one message that did emerge from the conference and its preamble is that we can’t rely on world Governments to prevent the climate crisis. We need to do it ourselves.
In our sector, we are seeing leaders emerge among main contractors and local authorities. In the last 12 months, we have seen our low-carbon credentials becoming more and more important to both stakeholder groups (our pothole repair process emits one-fifth of the carbon of a traditional method). Expect more change soon; tender assessments will be looking at carbon budgets alongside capital budgets.
The Human Spirit is everything
This year, more than any preceding year, our Thermal Road Repair teams – and our customers’ teams – have been a source of inspiration. While many people around the country were working from home or on furlough, road maintenance operatives were busier than ever, adapting to different ways of doing things, often living away from home and loved ones in restricted situations. We salute our office staff, who have had to adapt and firefight, too.
We often talk about the benefits of our technology and what it can deliver – but without the skills, diligence and professionalism of the humans who operate it and organise it, those benefits will not be optimised.
Looking ahead to 2022, it will no doubt be as eventful as its predecessor. Let’s hope that changes next year will be due to new energy and new ideas as we emerge from the pandemic – rather than a necessity in the face of adversity.
Wishing everyone a restful end-of-year and a prosperous new one!
Thermal Road Repairs is a green technology company which supplies systems to improve the quality, cost and time efficiency of road repairs and paving – at a far lower environmental cost than traditional methods. We invest significantly in R&D, to create new technologies and to continuously improve our existing ones.
High output. Low emission. Permanent solution.