Everyone stands to win from taking energy efficiency more seriously. But there is still a lot of work to be done in persuading people of this
When I hear the comment that “heating lets you down just when you need it most”, I always have to hold back a chuckle. Could this be anything to do with the fact that the system is actually working for much longer periods? Could it be linked in some way to the fact that you have completely ignored the system for years, deciding that servicing and maintenance are luxuries that need not be carried out? Could it be related to the issue that your boiler would qualify for a free bus pass were it human?
The subject of energy efficiency always becomes more apparent in the winter months as energy use, and therefore energy bills, rise. Yet we are unwilling to spend a bit of cash on the most basic of elements to make sure that the kit we have is working as well as it can and that we are extending its working life by treating our systems with a little care and attention.
Plumb Center is trying hard to inspire both installers and consumers to see the merit of energy efficiency and there will be several significant steps this year. First, we have launched our energy efficiency installer scheme, which provides customers with the tools and training to promote the added value benefits of investing in energy efficiency. Second, the arrival of energy labelling on boilers, cylinders, heat pumps and water heaters on 26 September this year will enable consumers to compare products in the same way as fridges and washing machines. Lastly, we enter the second full year of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, which rewards householders for the installation of renewable heating systems.
The development of energy efficiency awareness and action is a win-win situation. Installers will have the opportunity for more work, and regular work, consumers will enjoy lower energy bills and fewer breakdowns, and we will all benefit from the subsequent reductions in environmental impact.
Perhaps the final part of the jigsaw will be the “internet of things” or “widgets with digits” as I prefer to call it. We are already seeing appliances with some pretty clever software that can offer a diagnosis of faults, or transmit performance data or prompt a service call. I am amazed when my garage pops my car key into a reader device and can tell me a whole heap of information about my car.
We will certainly be able to get similar data about our heating systems in the not too distant future and some can even do so now. Consumers may be prompted by a message on their mobile phones, televisions or on the device itself; installers may get messages showing key information.
Whatever the issue, you can be sure that Plumb Center will strive to keep you up to date with the latest developments.
We are running a 40-venue, cross-UK tour of ErP energy labelling events for installers, we have a rolling programme of seminars on both technical and regulatory subjects and we are refreshing our training programme. We will continue to publish literature and refresh our online content and we will strive to work with our supply partners to give you the latest updates on products and services.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. I am reminded of when I pointed out to a friend that his “check engine” warning light was flashing on his dashboard. He agreed this needed some prompt attention but I was slightly surprised the following day to see that his response was to stick a bit of tape over the warning light so that he could no longer see it!
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