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The heat pump revolution is here – are you ready?

As we strive to achieve net zero by 2050, electrifying home heating is becoming increasingly important. That’s why upskilling in heat pump installation could be a smart move, according to Paul Collins, Technical Director at the NICEIC. 

The UK is transitioning towards more sustainable energy solutions. It is widely established that heat pumps have a significant role to play in enabling the UK’s transition to low carbon heat. After all, fossil fuel heating systems are a significant source of carbon emissions. Heat pumps, however, extract heat from the air or ground, using electricity to efficiently convert it for space heating and hot water. This significantly reduces carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels.

According to the Department for Energy, Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), the UK has some of the oldest housing stock in Europe, and more than 80% of buildings still rely on fossil fuels for heating and have low levels of thermal efficiency.

Beyond hindering net zero goals, fossil fuels are a finite resource with fluctuating prices, making heating costs unpredictable and likely to rise over time. This inefficiency in homes translates to wasted energy and higher heating bills for consumers. Heat pump technology presents a significant opportunity to improve energy efficiency in these homes.

How technological advancements are driving down installation costs

According to my colleague, Dani Putney, Head of Standards at the NICEIC, “While there may be initial hurdles, such as upfront costs or compatibility with older homes, these are temporary setbacks. 

“Technological advancements are continuously driving down installation costs, and a growing emphasis on energy efficiency is pushing homeowners towards sustainable solutions like heat pumps. Many older homes can benefit from a combined heat pump and insulation upgrade, presenting a chance to provide a comprehensive home improvement solution that addresses both heating needs and energy efficiency.”

Initiatives like the Heat Training Grant offered by the Department for Energy, Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) provide financial assistance to eligible participants taking heat pump training courses. This grant can reduce the upfront cost of acquiring heat pump training opportunities, making upskilling a more accessible option for a wider range of tradespeople. 

It’s important to note that Government grants and incentives are subject to change, so be sure to visit the DESNZ website.

The future of heating is electrified

New figures from the Boiler Upgrade Scheme show applications to the Government’s heat pump grant rose by 75% in February 2024 compared to the same month in 2023. 

With various incentives and grants derived from Government backing, heat pumps are poised to become the leading heating technology. This means a surge in demand for qualified, competent professionals who can install, maintain, and repair them.

Tradespeople are the key to driving forward change

It is great to see the number of installers training to install heat pumps to help us on our journey to net zero. However, the industry needs to continue to push to ensure we can meet the targets ahead of us. A lack of qualified and competent tradespeople could lead to delays and bottlenecks in heat pump installations, hindering the pace of this green revolution.

Upskilling will enable those in the sector to future-proof their careers

While heat pump installation is crucial for achieving the UK’s net zero goals, it also presents a golden opportunity for tradespeople to future-proof their careers. 

By upskilling in this growing field, not only will tradespeople contribute to a greener future, but also gain a competitive edge. This expanded skillset will allow professionals to offer a wider range of services, increasing their value to clients and unlocking new business opportunities. Investing in proper training and understanding these technologies positions them to facilitate the surge in demand for competent and qualified heat pump installers.

As Dani put it, “Overall, the heat pump revolution presents a win-win scenario for both consumers and tradespeople. Consumers can enjoy a more sustainable and cost-effective heating solution, while tradespeople can secure their futures and contribute to a greener future. By embracing this evolving technology and taking advantage of available resources, tradespeople can pave the way for a more sustainable and energy-efficient home heating landscape.”

Paul Collins

Technical Services Manager at NICEIC and ELECSA

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