10 August 2023
Chris Riley of Mitsubishi Electric says savvy heating engineers are adding renewable technology to their toolbox.
I meet many different people on the training courses we provide and these days I’m meeting around 500% more than we used to before the pandemic, as a large part of our heating, ventilation and air conditioning training is now done remotely.
But I know there is one group of people that I’m unlikely to meet – the heating engineers who have decided that there’s enough life left in fossil fuel heating to last until they retire. And for now, they may well be right as gas boilers, like combustion engine cars, are likely to still be with us for a decade or two more.
But if you want a more sustainable and secure future for your business then you will be one of the thousands of heating engineers adding renewable heat pumps to your skillset.
A green heating revolution
For me, renewable heating will be a major part of the ‘green’ industrial revolution as all the market drivers start to align.
Firstly, legislation is forcing through change to make sure we do absolutely everything we can as a society to mitigate the disastrous effects on climate change.
Secondly, the technology already exists and modern, inverter-driven heat pumps have now been proven in almost 15 years of use in all types of old, new, large and small homes from the Isle of Skye, to the Isle of Wight.
And this is where we as an industry need to come together to realise the third component on this drive for a sustainable future – creating and training the sustainable heating engineers needed.
Sustaining your business
At Mitsubishi Electric, we see this drive for sustainability as crucial to the ongoing success of both our business and our customers business. We believe it is vitally important for heating engineers to ‘sustain’ their business by developing the knowledge needed to include sustainable technologies in their toolbox.
We also know that there is a huge interest in the ‘green’ jobs of the future, so sustainability could be key to attracting new blood into the industry. Which is another important factor if we are ever to get anywhere near the Government’s ambitious targets for 600,000 residential heat pump installs a year by 2030.
However, we also need make sure that people understand that we don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ as there are already thousands of skilled plumbers and heating engineers in the marketplace. Many of these businesses are ready to acquire the skills for renewables and will also be ready to take on apprentices who can learn the skills to install heat pumps.
The opportunity is now
The other thing I find interesting is that the focus always seems to be on residential heating – which is undoubtedly where the major market will be in a few years’ time. But that is also ignoring the more immediate opportunities to be found in the commercial heating sector, where many businesses are getting ahead of the curve and planning to remove gas from their estate.
They can see that the end of gas is upon us and anyone who cannot demonstrate an energy performance certificate (EPC) of C, or even B over the next 5 years, will be in danger of having a commercial building that cannot be let – in other words, a stranded asset.
So, an immediate opportunity for both renewable heating engineers and anyone seeking to get on this lucrative path is in answering the need from many businesses for sustainable heating as they all plan budgets to remove gas from their sites.
It’s quite clear that gas is going the way of the dinosaurs, so for me it’s time to become part of the future and join the sustainable heating industry.
- Chris Riley is a Technical Trainer at Mitsubishi Electric.