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HPM November 2015

WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com SPECIALREPORT Peter Thom: a tireless campaigner Energy efficiency specialist, Green Heat, and its founder, Peter Thom, celebrated a double anniversary of saving the environment last month. HPM reports... Cambridge-based energy efficiency specialist, Green Heat, and its founder, Peter Thom, celebrated a double anniversary last month at a special reception held at Girton College, Cambridge – marking Peter’s 50th year in the heating industry and Green Heat’s 25th anniversary. From his beginnings as an apprentice with Eastern Gas in 1965, Peter has witnessed, campaigned for and successfully instigated some major changes in the world of energy saving. He has been at the forefront of many of the industry’s own milestones, which have themselves helped to shape significant developments in energy conservation for the future. Congratulating Peter for his achievements and contribution to the industry, BEAMA’s marketing director, Kelly Butler, said: “Peter has been a flag-bearer for energy efficiency from day one. He campaigned long and hard for a change to Building Regulations and made sure it stayed on the table when progress looked doubtful. He is also a flag-bearer for small businesses and has been a powerful voice for installers, ensuring their views are heard and their interests protected. “We know what makes a good, inspirational business and Green Heat is one. Peter works with true altruism and his tireless campaigning has been a great influence and instrumental in some major changes in UK energy efficiency.” SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTIONS Since Green Heat was established with the aim of making more homes energy efficient and bringing affordable warmth to more people, the company has helped to make substantial reductions to household fuel bills. Over the past two-and-half decades, Green Heat has trained over 65,000 people in energy efficiency, assessed and surveyed nearly 100,000 dwellings and buildings and helped its clients to save over 750 million kilos of carbon dioxide. Peter has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of energy efficiency in the domestic market. Over 50 years, he has been instrumental in getting climate change and energy efficiency not only on the political agenda, but at the top of it. One of his key objectives in setting up Green Heat was to develop and introduce a methodology to measure and rate the energy efficiency of homes. Peter said: “Back in 1990, energy efficiency was only concerned with draught proofing windows and insulating cylinders, with no recognition of efficient L-R: Robin Thom, Green Heat’s director of sustainability, Kelly Butler, Peter Thom and Ernie Spencer, secretary of the Essex Building Surveyors Association heating. But if you can measure something, you can manage it and set targets for improvement. “We pioneered and developed home energy ratings and lobbied to get these into Building Regulations. We succeeded in 1995, when SAP Ratings were first required by Part L of the Building Regulations. Since then, SAP ratings have been woven into all energy saving legislation and government schemes. “Our second mission was to encourage the wider use of high efficiency condensing boilers and better heating and hot water controls. In 1990, we were one of only a very few heating companies promoting and installing this technology. “In 1997, I made several radical predictions in a paper given at the Institute of Domestic Heating and Environmental Engineers annual conference; one being that only condensing boilers should be available within the following ten years and that open flue appliances should be phased out. This was met by a lot of opposition, but again we demonstrated the benefits and lobbied government to enforce this through regulation. The result was that condensing boilers were eventually made a requirement in the 2005 Building Regulations.” To prepare installers for this new requirement, Peter developed the Heating Installer Energy Efficiency Course and trained over 400 trainers who then delivered this training to over 65,000 heating installers. These major developments in energy efficiency are now recognised as the two most significant changes to have been made to Building Regulations. With condensing boilers now established as a standard requirement in Building Regulations, in 2009 Peter came up with the idea of introducing a Boiler Scrappage Scheme – loosely modelled on the government's Car Scrappage Scheme – as another aid to cutting carbon emissions and saving on energy bills. After lobbying ministers, civil servants and colleagues, the initial £50 million scheme was launched, enabling householders to apply for vouchers from the Energy Saving Trust to replace their lowest ‘G’ rating boiler with an ‘A’-rated energy efficient model, or to install a renewable heating system. The scheme was heralded a great success in environmental change, not only in reducing emissions and helping people cut down on their fuel bills, but also in helping to sustain work for the 130,000 installers and around 25 UK-based boiler manufacturers throughout the economic recovery. “Looking back, there has been definite progress,” concluded Peter. “There’s a much better awareness of energy efficiency today among both public and political audiences and more effective measures in place. However, there’s still a way to go and challenges ahead which need to be met head on to make efficient, affordable warm homes a reality for more people. “Over the next few years we hope to really push the fight against fuel poverty and raise the profile of water efficiency, both here in the UK and as a global issue facing the next generation.” 32 NOVEMBER 2015 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY enquiry number 113


HPM November 2015
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