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HPM September 2017

36 S P E C I A L R E P O R T Installers talk the talk After what some have reported to be a record-breaking summer, the heating industry is finally gearing up for the start of the colder weather. HPM sat down with installers on a training course at Worcester, Bosch Group, to debate everything The Solar Trade Association claims that in less than a decade solar has transformed the future of energy as nearly 900,000 homes now have solar power. Do you think solar is the future for the UK? CJ: I think it could be, if it was more economical to have installed. The problem is, solar panels don’t actually supply that much energy, and most of the installations I come across on new build properties are too small to carry any significant benefit. IW: I’m not sure whether it’s still going into new properties, but I focus on servicing and encounter solar every day. CH: Solar is an option, but I think there’s a limited application for it in this country. I would say that it isn’t actually as popular as it was, and I think that’s probably down to it being mis-sold in the past. We used to get homeowners asking us why they’d have no hot water when it was cloudy because they’d been told that once they had solar, they didn’t need to worry about any other form of heating. There’s a big education gap in that sense. KJ: I think solar has been overtaken now by ground source and air source heat pumps. CJ: I think community-based heat pumps are going to be a big thing. The trouble with the average property now is that you don’t have enough space to install the pipework for a single heat pump, unless you dig expensive bore holes. But, if you’re building a new development over a wider area, you can use one big unit that serves a number of properties. CH: Our company is looking into that type of system for a couple of small projects. You’ve got to have the space to do it, but ground source offers a better payback over a larger area. Have Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) been effective, or do you think amendments should be made to make it a more effective document? CH: We work for a housing association, so we don’t really come across EPCs all that often. That said, it does make a difference to what we can and can’t do. For example, in the past we might have installed a radiator in an outbuilding because the tenant wants it to be warmer – whereas we wouldn’t do that anymore because it affects the SAP rating. CJ: You only really hear about the EPC when you’re selling a house. I think it’s up to those retrofitting in a property to carry out a more comprehensive check of the heating system. KJ: It’d be good if the EPC was a live document, but then I think it depends on who has to update it. If it’s the installer’s job, then you’ve got to rely on every installer to do it – on from paperwork to apprenticeships www.hpmmag.com September 2017 CONTRIBUTOR PANEL: Chris Jackson (CJ), Platinum Plumbing Services, Evesham Sam Love (SL), Fortis Living, Worcestershire Dean Gilbert (DG), Product Quality Team, Worcester, Bosch Group Chris Hughes (CH), Ian Walker (IW), Kris Jenkin (KJ), Sam Hicks (SH), all Fortis Living, Worcestershire From left to right: Chris Jackson, Sam Love, Dean Gilbert, Chris Hughes, Ian Walker, Kris Jenkin and Sam Hicks “It’d be good if the EPC was a live document, but then I think it depends on who has to update it. If it’s the installer’s job, then you’ve got to rely on every installer to do it – on top of everything else we already have to deal with” “Solar is an option, but I think there’s a limited application for it in this country. I would say that it isn’t actually as popular as it was, and I think that’s probably down to it being mis-sold in the past”


HPM September 2017
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